Visit Pedernales Falls State Park: A Guide to the Oasis of Texas Hill Country

Oct 18, 2020 06:00 PM

Photo by ralphsanchez from Flickr
SHARE - Located 10 miles (16 km) east of Johnson City, and about 25 miles west of Austin, Pedernales Falls State Park features Pedernales River, flowing over and around huge slabs of limestone.

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Pedernales Falls State Park Johnson City TX

This “oasis” makes a great place to relax and recharge: at the park, you can camp, hike, mountain bike, picnic, geocache, bird watch, and ride horses; while on the river, you can swim, wade, tube or fish.

Don’t miss out of the fun of recreational activities around the Pedernales River and surrounding areas. The park has a number of picnic areas and campsites, including some primitive campsites that require a hike of over two miles to reach.

There are 19.8 miles (31.9 km) of hiking and mountain biking trails, 10 miles of equestrian trails, and 14 miles of backpacking trails. If you’d like to purchase some gift items or ice, just go to the park store.

If you’re planning to swim on the river, please spare some moments to read the swimming safety tips. Swimming and wading in the Pedernales Falls area are prohibited as the water in the river can rise from a placid stream to a raging torrent in a few minutes. If you are in the river area and notice the water rising or getting muddy, leave the river area immediately.

But that aside, you don’t have to worry! With our guide, you can enjoy the park with doubled safety and enjoyment! So, plan your weekend ahead and get ready for the park!

Pedernales Falls State Park hiking

Photo by ralphsanchez from Flickr

Traverse the scenic Hill Country by hiking or biking via the trails that range from easy to challenging. Take the .5-mile Twin Falls Nature Trail and stop at the scenic overlook over the falls.

Or tackle the six-mile Wolf Mountain Trail. This challenging trail wraps around Tobacco and Wolf mountains and winds along the small canyons created by Mescal and Tobacco creeks.

Along the way, cool your heels at Arrowhead Pool, where Bee Creek spills into stair-stepped pools. If you’re more of an adventurous cyclist, test your mountain biking skills on the new Juniper Ridge Trail. This 10-mile technical, single-track trail provides plenty of obstacles for more advanced riders.

Another option is to horseback riding. Ride your horse on 10 miles of rugged trail. Note that the trail is very rocky with some steep slopes, so make sure your horses have shoes and you have enough riding experience.

You will find water troughs at the trailer parking area and at the midway point of the trail. You must also present current Coggins for your horse at the office.

Pedernales Falls State Park fishing and kayaking

Photo by ralphsanchez from Flickr

No fishing license? No problem. Fishing is free in all of Texas State Parks, including Pedernales! You can even keep what you catch as long as it’s big enough!

Bring your fishing gear and head to the Pedernales Falls overlook area and catch spotted bass, good-sized largemouth, or Rio Grande perch. The river is such a perfect spot for wading. It’s also a great place to flyfish if you're into such things.

Aside from fishing, you can tube, canoe, or kayak the river. Put in at the swimming area or Trammell’s Crossing Trail. For your safety, put-ins or take-outs in the Pedernales Falls area is prohibited.

Pedernales Falls State Park camping

Photo by Nate Griffin from Flickr

Feel like spending the night outside? Pedernales Falls State Park offers campsites with electricity and primitive campsites. There is 69 number of sites, each site sleeps up to 8 people.

The amenities including a picnic table, water hookup, 30 amp hookup, lantern post, shower, fire ring with grill, and restrooms with showers nearby. The site costs $20 nightly, plus a daily entrance fee.

For hike-in camping, you can opt for primitive campsites (two-mile minimum hike to this area). Each site sleeps up to 4 people which costs $10 nightly, plus a daily entrance fee. Note that pets are not allowed in any Texas State Park buildings.

Here’s the Pedernales Falls State Park map for a closer look at the campground and the whole facilities:

Photo by

Hotels near Pedernales Falls State Park

Photo by Best Western Johnson City Inn on Google Maps

If you’re not into camping and are looking for some nearby accommodation to stay the night, you may opt for Best Western Johnson City Inn. Off State Highway 290, this unassuming hotel in the town center is 9 miles from Pedernales Falls State Park and 5 miles from the Exotic Resort Zoo.

Warm rooms feature free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and coffeemakers. Upgraded rooms add sofas, microwaves and minifridges. Amenities include free hot breakfast and parking. There's a seasonal outdoor pool and a picnic area to enjoy.


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