Pedernales Falls State Park
2585 Park Rd 6026, Johnson City, TX
Another Hill Country Highlight...
Get into a beachy state of mind – or hike in the woods!
Funny fact about Austin: Despite being deep in the heart of Texas, Austin has dreams of being a beach town. Though the nearest access to the Gulf Coast is several hours away, Austin loves to treat its many waterways as beaches. This week, we’re embracing that mindset with a visit to the Pedernales Falls State Park “Beach” (a.k.a. river access and quality swimming holes).
Located an hour outside of Austin in Hill Country, this park is the complete package when it comes to getting away from it all. Aside from swimming (and fishing), Pedernales Falls is great for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. The trails range from short and sweet – the half-mile Twin Falls Nature Trail is good for all ages – to challenging via the six-mile Wolf Mountain Trail. Other routes are dedicated to mountain bikers and horses, respectively.
But if hanging by the water is your number one goal, parking is less than a quarter-mile from the swimming area. Restrooms, picnic tables, and grills can be found nearby. The water, when calm, is a beloved spot for kids large and small – though it can get turbulent so best to always pay attention. The swimming area is also a fun spot for land exploring too. We loved jumping and climbing across the rocks that surround the area.
What to know before you go:
Reservations for both day use and camping are currently required to enter the park. Reserve yours online because they fill up fast. (Check the park’s Facebook page for the most up to date information.) If you and the family are looking for quality camping, this spot is a favorite of ours for its real woodsy vibe and lots of privacy. They have hot showers, clean bathrooms, and RV hookups too if that’s your thing.
There can be deep, water-filled craters so explore cautiously. Pedernales is a dog-friendly park, but beware some dogs won't be able to climb around on the boulders near the swimming area.
]Make it the perfect day with the perfect lunch from Proof and Cooper. Drive out via the Bee Caves Road route for a take-out picnic (about 40 minutes from Austin, and another 20 to the park).
Drive home via Highway 290 for scrumptious vegan treats from Skull and Cakebones. It’s the perfect mid-way stopping point between the park and home!
COVID-19 Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday; closed to day-use only visitors Mondays and Tuesdays until further notice.