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Pedernales Falls State Park, TX

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Pedernales Falls State Park is located in the Texas Hill Country about 30 miles west of Austin and 38 miles east of Fredericksburg. It's a large park with several miles of the Pedernales River flowing though it. It also offers many miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails. Being close to Austin and San Antonio, the park is quite busy, especially on weekends.

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We pulled into the park on a Thursday afternoon in late February and found lots of empty sites....for that night only. The park was totally booked for Friday and Saturday nights. Ranger Amy did put us on a Stand-By list in case something became available, but we decided to move on the next morning anyway.

We ended up on site 16 for the night.

Date of visit: Feb 2014

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There is an interesting mix of sites here, between sun and shade. In most cases, the picnic tables are not right beside the parking area, but rather are back a ways, usually in the shade.

This is site 19. Beside it is a short half-mile trail that leads to an overlook of Twin Falls.

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Site 24 is a sunny site with its table back in the shade of a tree.

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Similar is site 41.

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Here are sites 48 and 49, which are both a bit short in length.

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Site 4 is a small site, really best suited for a tent.

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Site 60 with its shaded table.

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The campground boasts a rather modern, clean bathhouse with free hot showers.

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We attempted to walk the Twin Falls Trail to the overlook, but for some reason we felt we had gone too far and missed it, so we re-traced our way back to the campground. Here we had to duck under a large, old fallen tree.

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The main feature of the park is the Pedernales River. Fortunately the campground is up on high ground, but along roads and paths that lead down to the river are signs like this.

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The river looks pretty peaceful during our February visit. Interestingly, even though the river is pretty serene most of the time, swimming and tubing in this section of the river is prohibited at all times. The ban was instituted in 1977 after numerous deaths when people fell on slippery rocks.

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This is what the warning sign above was referring to - a flash flood. In just a very few minutes the river can go from the tranquility pictured above to this. Photo courtesy of TPWD

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Over the ages the water has done some amazing erosion of the rocks, in some cases resulting in large potholes.

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More of the rounded channels the water has carved through the rock.

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Looking downstream from the falls one sees a large, peaceful pool of water with a sandy shore. But this area is part of the river that is closed. Further downstream around the corner is a swimming area and tubing is allowed.

Amenities

69 tent/RV sites: W/E(30/50A) - $20

Primitive hike-in camping area - $10

Youth group camping area

Equestrian group camping area

$6 per person per day Entrance Fee

Dump station

Free showers

Good VZW coverage

Coordinates: 30.311731 North, 98.247683 West

Elevation: 931'

 

pedernales falls map