This might be one of the most iconic locations in the Texas Hill Country and certainly should be a hike everyone does at least once! The climb to the top of this pink granite dome is challenging to many, and we recommend allowing yourself at least 45 minutes for the ascent. Take breaks, bring plenty of water, and wear comfortable shoes with good grip - your feet will thank you! But don’t be intimidated because the 360 degree views from the top of Enchanted Rock are well worth the effort.
After checking in at park headquarters, drive down the road, cross the drainage and turn right at the T intersection. Find parking along the road and at the end of the road, the trail head can be found near the restrooms and gazebo. Stop in the gazebo for some literature about how Enchanted Rock was formed, its history and mystery, and a scenic view of the trail and peak. Check to make sure you have water and if it's a hot day — make sure you have extra!
Begin your hike up the slope, you’ll find trail markers and cairns that mark the way. Eventually you will be see a sign for the summit and from this point, there are no real trail markers to guide you up. All you have to do is climb the slope towards the top and you will arrive at the summit which is quite flat. Enjoy the panoramic views, explore the top of the dome, and when ready, locate the gazebo on the horizon and use that as a landmark to guide you back down the slope where you will pick up the trail again.
Note — pets are not allowed on the summit trail.
OUTER LOOP TRAIL
While the view from the top of Enchanted Rock is a must see, navigating the Loop Trail around the outside of the park provides unique views and scenery that is nearly as good and far less crowded. After entering the park and driving across the drainage area, find parking anywhere along the road. We recommend parking near the intersection since the hike starts and ends on opposite sides of the road. Start your hike at the trail head opposite the main area with the gazebo (far left end of the road).
The Loop Trail is mostly flat, paved with crushed granite and is enjoyable for most hikers. While not very challenging, it is decently long in mileage and hikers should dedicate around 3 hours to complete. There are many scenic views of Enchanted Rock from this hike that are quite spectacular and you can also view out into the hill country to hikers left. Take a small detour down to Moss Lake to enjoy some shade and scenery while marveling at the pink reflection of the giant landmark shimmering on the water. There are bathrooms along the hike and sometimes water refill stations (though you should carry enough water for your hike).
As you begin to complete the loop, you will pass through a small canyon between Freshman Mountain and the Buzzard’s Roost. Follow Sandy Creek towards the main area of the park, take small detour to see the Frog Pond, and finish your hike at the parking lot near the gazebo.
CANYON LOOP TRAILS
The Canyon Loop Trails are a combination of trails that circumnavigate Enchanted Rock and involve mild climbing and hiking through boulder fields around the exterior base of the dome. We have named this trail sequence “Canyons Loop” but you won’t see this on signage at the park. This sequence is composed of the Summit Trail, Echo Canyon Trail, Base Trail, Turkey Pass Trail and Frontside Trail, in that order.
Start this hike at the gazebo and follow the first part of the Summit Trail for about 0.4 miles until you intersect with the Echo Canyon Trail on your left. Follow Echo Canyon Trail as you begin to climb through a canyon of pink granite boulders and tight passages that mark the way to the other side. After 0.5 miles, you will intersect with Base Trail which provides some easier terrain that wraps along the backside of Enchanted Rock.
When you see signage for the Turkey Pass Trail, turn right and follow the trail as you begin to move through the second canyon of this loop. While on the trail, up to your left you will see Freshman Mountain and after climbing up a small saddle, you will see Turkey Peak ahead on the left hand side. For the adventurous, take a detour and climb up Turkey Peak for a unique point of view of the park and surrounding area.
The Turkey Peak trail will spit you out at the Frog Pond and we advise turning right and hiking the Frontside Trail which is more easily navigable than the trail leading left. The Frontside Trail will lead you to the heart of the park where you will see the Gazebo, Summit Trail and facilities.