Fredericksburg, Texas

Enchanted Rock

An enormous pink granite batholith, long attributed with spiritual powers by Native Americans

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Enchanted Rock, a pluton, or igneous rock intrusion, is a massive dome comprised of pink granite and rises 425 feet above the ground around it. This ancient monolith has been a part of human history for at least 11,000 years and covers a sprawling 640 acres. The name Enchanted Rock comes from an interpretation of Native American folklore and tradition by early Spanish and Anglo settlers.

Legends of Enchanted Rock abound, some predating the arrival of the Europeans, others including conquistadors and Anglo-Texans. One Tonkawa tradition holds that a group of braves, the last of their tribe, fought to the death on the top of Enchanted Rock defending themselves from another tribe. Another of the legends holds that a princess threw herself off the rock upon seeing her tribe being slaughtered. It is said that both the warriors and the princess' spirits haunt the granite monadnock. Tonkawa Indians also tell of phantom campfires atop the dome at night.

Part of the what makes the rock mysterious is that when a cool night follows a warm day, Enchanted Rock makes audible creaking noises. Though this is due to the contraction of the outer surface of the rock, it has likely fueled more legends which in turn increased the magical attributes ascribed to the batholith. Some say that the rock sparkles occasionally at night, most likely on damp nights with lots of moonlight.

Another fascinating feature of the rocks are the small pools of water (known as vernal pools) present in depressions on the rock. These pools are typically dry during the summer and fall months, yet house living marine animals such as shrimp or even small fish during the wetter spring.

Camping is allowed at the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, with convenient sites less than a 100 yards from the parking lot, to primitive campsites 1-3 miles out. Hiking, rock climbing, wildlife watching, and star gazing are among the popular activities at 1,644 acre Enchanted Rock State Natural Area.

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  • Address
    16710 Ranch Rd 965, Fredericksburg, Texas, 78624, United States
  • Cost
    $6 for day use; Camping rates vary and can be seen on the park's website
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Map/Directions
The park is 18 miles north of Fredericksburg on Ranch Road 965, or from Llano, take State Highway 16 for 14 miles south and then go west on Ranch Road 965.
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