Ped­er­nales State Park: A Texas fam­ily fa­vorite

Guide to Dripping Springs - - Front page -

Ped­er­nales Falls is one of the most vis­ited state park in Texas, draw­ing over 300,000 peo­ple each year.

And it’s no won­der. The park is home to one of the most ar­rest­ing sights in Cen­tral Texas.

Los­ing 50 feet of el­e­va­tion over a dis­tance of 3,000 feet, the Ped­er­nales River rushes over stair-step lime­stone and winds through tilted stone out­crop­pings.

The wa­ter­fall is the cen­ter­piece for Ped­er­nales Falls State Park, a 5,211.7-acre park lo­cated just west of Drip­ping Springs, in Blanco County. The wa­ter­fall may be viewed from a scenic over­look at the north end of the park.

The park of­fers count­less op­por­tu­ni­ties for re­cre­ation. Ac­tiv­i­ties in­clude camp­ing, pic­nick­ing, hik­ing, river swim­ming, tub­ing, wad­ing, moun­tain bik­ing, fish­ing, bird watch­ing and horse­back rid­ing.

Camp­ing fa­cil­i­ties in­clude sites with wa­ter and elec­tric­ity, a spon­sored youth group area, hike-in prim­i­tive camp­sites, pic­nic sites, re­strooms with and with­out show­ers, and a trailer dump sta­tion.

There are 19.8 miles of hik­ing and moun­tain bik­ing trails, 10 miles of eques­trian trails and 14 miles of back­pack­ing trails.

The park’s gor­geous hill coun­try ter­rain fea­tures oak and ju­niper wood­lands, as well as stands of pe­can, elm, sycamore, wal­nut, and hack­berry, and, close to the river, but­ton­bush and cy­press.

The park is home to a wide variety of wildlife, in­clud­ing over 150 species of birds, deer, rabbits, coy­otes, ar­madil­los, skunks, pos­sums, and rac­coons.

Birds found in the park in- clude quail, doves, owls, road­run­ners, wild turkeys, hawks, buz­zards, and herons. The en­dan­gered gold­encheeked war­bler also nests in the park.

If bird­ing is your thing, pay

a visit to the ADA ac­ces­si­ble, cov­ered bird view­ing sta­tion. The fa­cil­ity has feed­ers, which are stocked from Novem­ber through March, and a drip bath main­tained year round. The sta­tion can hold about 15 peo­ple.

To learn more about Ped­er­nales Falls State Park-or to find out how to vol­un­teer at the park-visit www.friend­sof­p­falls.org. There is also a wealth of in­for­ma­tion at the of­fi­cial Texas Parks and Wildlife web­site: www.tpwd.state.tx.us/park/ped­er­nal/. You can also call the park at (830) 868-7304 or get park in­for­ma­tion at 1-800-792-1112.

There is one im­por­tant fact ev­ery vis­i­tor should be aware of: The Ped­er­nales River can flash flood very quickly. At the first sign of ris­ing wa­ter, leave the river area im­me­di­ately.

To get to Ped­er­nales Falls State Park, travel west of Drip­ping Springs on US High­way 290 for about 10 miles, then turn right on FM 3232 for six miles.

Ped­er­nales Falls State Park is a nat­u­ral won­der.

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