Deep in the heart of Texas, about 1½ hour west of Austin and 20 minutes north of downtown Fredericksburg is a really cool place that I was able to visit recently called Enchanted Rock (16710 Ranch Rd. 965 Fredericksburg, TX 78624, Latitude: 30.505381, Longitude: -98.819844).
Enchanted Rock is a huge pink granite dome that rises 425 feet above the ground, 1,825 feet above sea level and covers 640 acres. It’s one of the largest underground rock formations uncovered by erosion in North America. Enchanted Rock is a Texas State Park that covers 1,643 acres and draws countless people from around the world.
The place is an impressive geological phenomenon that’s estimated to be over one billion years old. Making it among one of the oldest exposed rock structures in North America. The site was designated as a national natural landmark in 1970 and was placed on the national register of historic places in 1984.
Besides the impressive geological history, the landmark has a very impressive archaeological history. The site was home to several Indian Tribes (Tonkawa, Apache and Comanche). While there, we found many pieces of broken arrowheads and flint while hiking back to the main Ranger’s station on a remote trail. Flint is not found naturally in the area.
Enchanted Rocks offers a lot of very cool things to do, such as backpacking, camping, hiking, technical rock climbing, bird watching, picnicking, geological & historical studying, and stargazing. At night the surrounding area is pitch dark!
The most popular hike in the park is the short and steep hike to the summit of Enchanted Rock. Just about anyone can make it to the summit of Enchanted Rock with no difficulty. The key is to wear good footwear that will provide traction on the granite. It can be slippery when wet (be careful)! The Loop Trail around the formation is also very impressive and you never know what kind of wildlife you may run into.
One of the many reason people travel to Enchanted Rock is because, it’s the premier location for rock climbing in Texas. Free climbing is permitted in the park. The park has an abundance of both traditional and sport climbing routes and bouldering on high quality granite.
While visiting the Rock for a day, I was able to climb seven walls that went as high as 1,000 feet that contained numerous cracks, tight passages, steep inclines and great vertical drops. The Rock is a great training ground to learn or practice the sport of rock climbing. The area allows for multi-pitch and big wall climbing because of its cracks and aided climbing possibilities.
I’m looking forward to visiting the park in the near future for another day of rock climbing!