We recently took a half-day trip from Austin to Enchanted Rock State Park. I have been trying to take more day trips into the Texas Hill Country especially when we have free weekends. Because Enchanted Rock is an hour and 45 minutes away from Austin and it can fill up early, we left Austin at 7am to start the trek. The drive was super easy and we took the route through Llano and sure enough, 1 hour and 45 minutes later we arrived! You have to buy a permit when you arrive, which is $7 per adult (children are free). Once you have the permit, you drive to the parking lot and enjoy your day! Keep in mind that if the parking lot is full they won't let anymore cars in. I recommend getting their early to avoid this situation and to avoid the heat as well! We were hiking by 9am and it was already very hot.
We started out hiking the .67 miles to the summit along summit trail. It was definitely steep, but the view is really pretty and there are plenty of places to stop and take a break! I took a few breaks to enjoy the cool rock formations all along the hike. Finally we reached the top and it was pretty beautiful!
We enjoyed about 20 minutes up at the top relaxing and taking in the views. There are some very cool rare vernal pools at the top of Enchanted Rock, but they are dried up during the summer. At this point, I was super happy that we packed a lot of water. It was really hot and we each went through almost a full bottle of water.
After we hiked down most of the summit, we spent some time hiking on the Frontside trail, Turkey Pass trail and Loop trail. The map they give you at the entrance is super handy and it was fun to see a few other trails. At around 10am the trails were still mostly empty, but we noticed a lot more people heading up to the summit. We were really happy to be in the shade hiking by this point in the day.
I saw a lot of people with coolers in their cars and packed lunches, which would have been a great idea, except my husband was dying to eat at Cooper's BBQ in Llano! After we ate our fair share of brisket, we headed back to Austin for a nap.
This was an awesome day trip and one I definitely recommend. Where should we day trip next?