Discover Austin: Enchanted Rock - Episode 19

Let's take another road trip for this episode of Discover Austin.  Rising from the Texas hill country, west of Austin and north of Fredericksburg, is Enchanted Rock.  The park in which the pink granite mountains sits offers great hiking options, camping, bird watching, and more.  Visit the park's website to get all the details before you head out west.  If you'd prefer to read about Enchanted Rock, the video's transcript can be found below the video.  If you'd like to see more episodes of Discover Austin, head to our YouTube page and click that subscribe button.

Greetings, I’m Craig Smyser.  On this road trip episode of Discover Austin, we’re going to explore Enchanted Rock State Park.

Enchanted Rock is a massive dome of pink granite rising out of the Texas Hill Country.  It's best known for hiking, but I want you to know that there is a lot more to do out here.

While Enchanted Rock is the main rock, there are several others here including Little Rock, Freshman Mountain, and Buzzard’s Roost. There are almost 11 miles of hiking trails at Enchanted Rock.  Several trails go around the rock formations and several go over them, including the Enchanted Rock Summit Trail which leads to the top.  Enchanted Rock rises 425 feet above the base elevation and 1825 feet above sea level.  The dome covers 640 acres and climbing to the top is the equivalent of climbing stairs in a 40-story building.

The name Enchanted Rock comes from the belief by the Tonkawa Indians that the rock was enchanted.  Scientists now believe it is because of the creaks and groans that come from the rock as the temperatures change.  Further, what the Tonkawas referred to as “Ghost fires” were likely just glittering of the rock that occurs every once in a while on very clear nights after a rain.  There are a host of legends and myths about the rock that you can find on the Enchanted Rock website.

Now safety is a big issue at Enchanted Rock, especially if you plan to hike during the summer months.  The temperature on the rock itself gets extremely hot.  In fact, when the air temp reaches 100 degrees, the temperature on the granite is over 130 degrees.  While the park does not close during high temperatures, the rangers highly encourage you to hike in the morning and stay off the rock during afternoon.  Regardless of the time of day, be sure to bring plenty of water and sun screen.  While the elevated trails don’t close for heat, they do close for rain because it can be slippery and hazardous so be sure to look at the website or social media feeds to get the conditions before you head out to the park.  And, of course, always use the buddy system and don’t hike alone.

I invite you to visit Enchanted Rock for hiking, camping, bird watching, rock climbing, and many other activities.  I’m Craig Smyser, thanks for joining me for this road trip edition of Discover Austin.

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