Hike the Dog Friendly Loop Trail at Enchanted Rock


Enchanted Rock is a Texas State Natural Area, 17 miles north of Fredericksburg. If you are looking for things to do in Fredericksburg, Texas, Enchanted Rock is one of them. Heading to the natural area from San Antonio will take approximately 90 minutes depending on traffic and the route taken. Enchanted Rock is dog friendly, but there are some restrictions.

A view of Enchanted Rock from the approach.
The approach to Enchanted Rock

The most notable aspect of the park is the pink granite formation. It has a bald, dome-like appearance and is extremely noticeable upon approach. In order to spend the day hiking at Enchanted Rock you must pay an admission fee of $7.

Enchanted Rock is Dog Friendly, but…

The 4.5 mile Loop Trail around the rock formations is dog friendly, as are the camping and picnic areas. Sadly, dogs are not allowed to climb the rock formations. I was really hoping to find out if my girl could make it to the top with me. However, the Loop Trail is an excellent experience during cooler weather.

Apparently, dogs are no longer allowed to hike the summit trails because of past incidents resulting in heat exhaustion and death. Water and shade are very scarce at Enchanted Rock. Check us out in the video below to see our dog friendly hike at Enchanted Rock.

Dog Friendly Loop Trail Video

How to Get to Enchanted Rock in Fredericksburg, TX

Address: 16710 Ranch Rd 965, Fredericksburg, TX 78624

Hours of operation: Enchanted Rock is open everyday from 8am – 10pm

Ranch Road 965 is the only road leading to Enchanted Rock. We usually take this road north from Fredericksburg, Texas, but you can also arrive from the northeast. This is a very popular state park, and it will reach full capacity on holidays or weekends.

How early should you arrive at Enchanted Rock? As early as possible, unless you have a reservation

When you arrive at Enchanted Rock you will stop at the park headquarters and purchase admission. You can pick up a map of the area and any gear from the shop you would like. Bring an adequate amount of water because you will not find much around the park. Heat stroke is a definite possibility in the summer because it gets very hot.

Furthermore, you will not find much shade on the rock for protection from the sun. This may be a great time for a hat or cap. The parking lot should have space available if you were not turned away at the entrance. Choose a shady spot to keep your vehicle cooler and you will be ready to hike, climb, run, camp, or walk your dog.

Many things can be seen from the top of the Rock.

Dog Friendly Things to Do

If you take a look at the park map you will notice all of the dog friendly areas colored in green, but the other areas are off limits. The dog friendly areas include three camping areas, the picnic areas, as well as the four and a half mile Loop Trail. The Loop Trail is much easier than hiking the rock, but it may be moderately challenging for you and your dog.

If you desire to climb the rock, you must leave your dog behind with someone. Do not leave a dog in the car! There are limited things to do with your dog at Enchanted Rock, but the park is large. What kind of dog would not enjoy camping, or hiking the Loop Trail? In my opinion, the dog friendly Loop Trail is worth the visit, and nearly as good as climbing the rock. It may take a couple of hours to circle the peaks via the Loop Trail, but it’s a fun and enjoyable experience.

A small rock along the Loop Trail

Climb the Rock Without Your Dog

If you choose to adventure without a pet, you will have access to nearly 11 miles of hiking trails, including the Summit Trail which ascends the rock. Enchanted Rock boasts an elevation of over 1800 feet. This sound high, but it’s similar to climbing 40 flights of stairs.

If you are an experienced hiker or fairly fit individual it will not take you long to climb the rock. Ascending the rock is more of a steep walk than a climb. The difficulty is somewhat strenuous for most people. However, experienced hikers may find Enchanted Rock “easy” to hike.

Odd rock formations can be found around the top of Enchanted Rock.

It may take you anywhere from 15 – 20 minutes to get on top of the rock depending on your level of fitness, and rate of climb. I attempted a speed run once and wrote about that in another article – How Long Does It Take To Climb Enchanted Rock?

I imagine some experienced climbers could do it in five minutes or less if inclined. Plan on spending at least an hour in this area because there is much to see from the top. Wave to all of the people you passed on the way up the rock, and throughout the Hill Country. It’s quite a view!

Part of the four mile loop trail at Enchanted Rock.

What’s it Like at the Top of Enchanted Rock?

The Hill Country, surrounding you for miles can be seen from the top of Enchanted Rock. Take some time to get a panoramic view of Texas. To see various terrain you will need to move around the top of the rock because it takes up a substantial amount of space. You will most likely see birds of prey soaring through the sky above. If there are any clouds you will notice the shadows they create around the Hill Country.

A very small lake is visible to the northwest near the campgrounds. A couple of narrow peaks should be easy to spot to the east. I saw tiny people climbing on the other peaks. At least they appeared tiny from my location. Everything else looks to be a mixture of green and brown due to the distance of the landscape.

Even with contact lenses it’s hard to tell what is out there. I’ve been atop the rock four times so far, but each time I was at a disadvantage because I could not see far enough. Next time I will remember to bring my binoculars. If you stay on top of the rock long enough you can stargaze on a clear night.

Moss Lake.

Do Not Underestimate the Heat

To get back down from the top you can return the way you came, or take your own path to the bottom. Be very careful on the rock when it is wet because it will be easier to slip and fall. For this reason, the Summit Trail may be closed if it gets wet.

September through May is considered the busy season. You decided to go during those months didn’t you? If you can tolerate the heat and lack of shade, the summer months are also an option.

Take extra water and be aware of early signs of heat stroke. If you get a sudden headache, become dizzy, confused, weak, red, or have trouble breathing, you are in danger. Drink some water, retreat to a shady area and use water or a wet clothe to cool yourself.

In the park it may be impossible to call for help due to loss of signal. Keep track of where you are in the park and how you feel. As soon as you are able, return to an air conditioned vehicle.

Abbey hikes near Moss Lake behind the Rock.
Moss Lake Camping Area

Enchanted Rock is Dog Friendly at Ground Level

This Texas State Natural Area is like no other place. Enchanted Rock is not too high for the average person, and most people can take advantage of the fabulous panoramic view. Furthermore, the view of Texas Hill Country is unmatched.

The dog friendly Loop Trail offers you and your four legged friend an exciting four and a half mile hike. I encourage you to grab the best hiking gear for dogs you can find and try this special loop. Be aware of the temperature and carry extra water. Although Enchanted Rock is dog friendly, pets cannot climb the rock with you.

If you are looking for things to do in Fredericksburg, Enchanted Rock will provide you with an unforgettable experience. Your dog will enjoy the natural area as well. As you can tell from the video, our girl had a fantastic time. Have you visited Enchanted Rock with your dog? Let us know what you enjoyed about the park.


I’m a certified personal trainer in San Antonio. After adopting Abbey, I created Places for Pups to help you get outside, exercise with your dog and have fun doing it.

We have mastered hiking in Texas Hill Country. Though we emerge from the woods unharmed, we are not responsible for you or your pets. You are solely responsible for trying exercises, or places discussed on this site.

Grab the best hiking gear and go dog friendly.  I wish you good fortune on the trails to come.

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David Earley

CPT, CES



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