Wednesday, September 09, 2015

#TexasHistoryRoadTrip: Enchanted Rock State Park

The second stop on our #texashistoryroadtrip was to the Enchanted Rock State Park, 18 miles north of Fredericksburg, Texas and about a 2 hour drive from the city of Austin. With weekends and holidays extremely busy at the park, we planned our trip for a Friday, arriving about 10:30 AM, when the heat was not yet at the peak of the day.

Miss our first #texashistoryroadtrip post? Read about the Lyndon B Johnson Presidential Library.

Enchanted Rock is a pink granite dome, the second largest batholith in the country, second to Stone Mountain in Georgia (which is quartz monzonite).  There are several hiking trails, but the most popular is the Summit Trail, which goes to the top of the dome.


There is history to Enchanted Rock, although it isn't anything that is visible. To learn about past inhabitants and visitors, read this history of Enchanted Rock from the Texas State Historical Association "Handbook of Texas." This is information that we are adding to our Texas History notebook.  

We also had our science lesson while at the top of the dome, learning about the how all those divots in the rock are "pioneer communities" (see photo below).  We also learned about vernal pools that can be seen in the park. Read more about the Geology, Plants and Animals of Enchanted Rock. 


Things to know if you visit:
  • Entrance fees are $7 per adult; kids 12 and under are free.  
  • If going on a weekend, go early and arrive early. The park closes once it has reached capacity for the day, which can happen early. There is a sign on Ranch Road 965 that flashes if the park has been closed. 
  • Carry plenty of water. 
  • Take a picnic lunch. We were starving once we descended the rock and the boys wouldn't have been able to make it back to Fredericksburg!  
  • Dogs are allowed on the trails; take plenty of extra water for them. We almost wished we had booties for our pup's paws to protect her from the hot granite she experienced on the way down the rock.
  • More nearby geologic attractions to visit are described on Texas Through Time. Another easy stop on the way back to Fredericksburg from Enchanted Rock is Cross Mountain.  
We spent some time exploring at the top of the dome, but after a hot and tiring descent, we didn't go on any of the other trails this visit.  


After a quick sandwich picnic, we headed out and back through Fredericksburg,  Although we have been to Fredericksburg many times, and plan to go back to see other historical sites, it was the steeple on a church that caused us to make a quick right turn for a look.    


This is St. Mary's Parish, which dates back to 1846 with the arrival of German settlers to the area. The new church next door was built in 1906. Both churches are still in use today. It was interesting to note that the first parish steeple is designed more like the old missions, while the new church has the traditional steeple of the early 1900s.


Fredericksburg is known for peaches, and although it was at the very end of the season, we hoped to find a place to pick up a few fresh peaches. Outside of Fredericksburg on Highway 290, we found a peach stand that was still open, where we picked up a dozen fresh peaches.  A little farther down the highway, we saw our place for dessert: Bariloche Farms. This was our first visit, but we can attest that the homemade peach ice cream and peach cobbler is just the best!  It has a wonderful gift shop with canned foods and specialty items along with baked goods.  


It was an exhausting day, but another great #texashistoryroadtrip! If you have visited this location, why not leave your comments and suggestions below for others?  Another exciting adventure will be posted soon! 

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