Pedernales Falls State Park is a beautiful place with camping facilities, walking paths, hike and bike trails, geocaching spots, and dedicated picnic areas. The Pedernales River is good for swimming, wading, fishing, and various watersports. Birdwatching and riding horses are other popular activities in the park. Local wildlife is diverse and includes such species as deer, armadillo, and praying mantis.
Location and Access
It is recommended to buy park passes online in advance. In high season and on holidays, the place can get really busy. The admission fee is $6 per person; children under 12 can go for free. The park is located at 2585 Park Road 6026, just 10 miles east of Johnson City, 13 miles northwest of Dripping Springs, and about 30 miles away from Austin. In Johnson City, you can visit museums, galleries, and parks. In Dripping Springs, there are breweries and wineries offering tasting tours.
Sometimes the river is turbulent, but when it’s calm, it’s very good for various types of water recreation such as swimming, wading, tubing, canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. Nevertheless, you should be cautious in the water since the current can be stronger than it seems. Be aware that swimming and wading near the falls are not allowed.
The park offers primitive camping ($10 per night) as well as sites with water and electricity ($20 per night). The latter are very well maintained and spacious, feature picnic tables, fire rings with grills and nice and clean restrooms with showers nearby.
Hiking and Biking
There are trails of varying difficulty – from light to challenging. There is a shorter Twin Falls Nature Trail with a scenic viewing point over the falls. The Wolf Mountain Trails winds for 6 miles around mountains and along small creek canyons and is more challenging. If you’re a skilled mountain biker, take the 10-mile new Juniper Ridge Trail with plenty of obstacles.
There is a rugged 10-mile trail appropriate for horse riding. They don’t provide horses on-site so it’s an option only for those who have their own horses. Be aware that the trail is steep at times and very rocky so beginner riders should look for other places to practice. Horses are required to have shoes.