Enchanted Rock is a large pink granite dome in Texas Hill Country. It is the largest pink granite formation in the country, rising 1825 feet above sea level. This sounds rather high, but to climb Enchanted Rock you only need to go 425 feet above its surrounding area. For this reason, you will not find Enchanted Rock listed as a mountain. This Texas State Natural Area is a popular destination for tourists, hikers, adventurers, campers, and even some dogs.
Climbing Enchanted Rock (video)
Watch the short video below of my epic hike up Enchanted Rock during January (2020). You will see various obstacles, steep terrain and some scenic views from the top. Continue reading to find out how long it takes to walk up this wonderful feature in Texas Hill Country.
I’ve climbed Enchanted Rock several times because this is one of my favorite parks in Texas. Before continuing, I must be clear – when I say climb, I am referring to walking up Enchanted Rock on foot. However, the park does allow rock climbing and rappelling for those who would rather conquer the dome the hard way.
Most people prefer to walk up Enchanted Rock from the Summit Trail. You will find the Summit Trail to be a very short hike from the parking lot. It is connected to the four-mile Loop Trail, which encircles five of the seven peaks at the park. There it is below.
Hiking the Summit Trail
I took the picture above from the intersection of the Summit Trail and Loop Trail. I performed a speed-run up the rock (a separate visit from the climb in the video) on the Fourth of July, the previous year. How fast could I hike up Enchanted Rock? My inquiring mind wanted to know.
The clock began at the bottom of the Summit Trail. I took off with a jog, chose a path, and hopped from rock to rock. It did not take long to reach steeper terrain. I started pushing harder with my legs to continue the climb, but it became very difficult to jog.
The Jog Quickly Becomes a Walk
In no time at all, my legs and lungs started to burn. My jog was reduced to a fast walk. However, I continued to pass others while hiking up the rock. Some areas of Enchanted Rock are very steep, and I was extremely glad I wore my hiking shoes. The shoes did not fail to grip the rock at any point.
Wearing sandals or basic sneakers will NOT be a good idea. Beware of any water running downhill during the hike. You WILL slip in wet areas. In fact, the park normally closes the Summit Trail when it has rained. Do yourself a favor and wear good hiking shoes before you walk up Enchanted Rock.
I continued to scale the steep part of the rock wishing I could move faster, but the incline made it impossible. My heart was pounding, my legs were on fire, and the climb was not over. Who’s idea was this anyway? I recalled making a rash estimation of time from the bottom. A goal was not set, but I thought I would reach the top of Enchanted Rock in about five minutes.
In my current position, which was approximately 2/3rds of the way up, I didn’t know if I would reach the top in 10. My own thoughts willed the ascent – “Push forward and breathe, you are almost there”. I continued to pass others on the way, and they probably thought I was crazy for attempting to speed-run Enchanted Rock.
The Top of Enchanted Rock
The incline begins to level off, and becomes much easier to manage as you approach the top. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still work, but it’s not nearly as hard on the body as the steepest section in the middle. Finally, I could increase my speed and make a break for the top of Enchanted Rock.
I noticed several others stopping to sit before reaching the top. They admired the Hill Country view over the parking lot to the south. Sunset would be coming fairly soon, but it was still about 90-degrees outside. By the time I reached the top, where you can see a couple of craters filled with water, 7 minutes and 45 seconds had elapsed.
The Average Hike Up Enchanted Rock May Take 15 – 20 Minutes
I notice people of all shapes, sizes, and ages walking up Enchanted Rock each time I visit. Many need to stop and rest before reaching the top, but most eventually get there. Those with better muscular and cardiovascular endurance will have a definite advantage.
The hike does not take much time, but it will challenge your legs and your lungs much more than average trails. I would not be surprised if most people walk up Enchanted Rock in 15 minutes. If you are not physically active it may take a bit longer, but you can do it!
In the epic video (above), I hiked to the top of Enchanted Rock in less than 10 minutes. I did not stop walking, nor did I jog during that hike. Surprisingly, my finish time was only two minutes slower than my speed-run. I’m not the world’s best jogger, this in known. In fact, I prefer other forms of cardio to jogging.
The steep sections of Enchanted Rock make it very difficult to ascend quickly. I have been able to hike to the top in 7-10 minutes, but I am also a certified personal trainer. The average person will probably need 15-20 minutes, but there are preparations and considerations to make before you do so.
Important Preparations Before Your Hike
- The climb is steep and unusual
- Bring water because none may be available
- Wear hiking shoes to prevent sliding and falling
- Protect yourself from the sun because shade is minimal
- Make a reservation before you visit
Enchanted Rock is 425 feet above its surrounding area. This is comparable to walking up 40 floors. However, stairs are easier to climb than a rock formation, especially if water is present. Bring appropriate hiking shoes so that you do not slip or fall.
Pack your own water because shade is scarce, and it gets very hot in Texas. Do NOT get heat stroke. Definitely make a reservation if you plan to visit on a holiday, or weekend. Enchanted Rock has a tendency to reach maximum capacity in the morning, and you will be turned away at the entrance if that happens (unless you have a reservation).
The visit will cost $7 per adult, but kids (12 and under) are free. If for some reason (like stargazing) you stay on the rock until dark, the trip down will be much more difficult. Consider using a clip light on your cap. You may be able to purchase one from the gift shop. After you climb Enchanted Rock, come back to Places for Pups and tell us about your experience!
The Dog Friendly Trails at Enchanted Rock
I brought Abbey (my dog) with me to Enchanted Rock because the Loop Trail is dog friendly, as well as picnic and camping areas. Unfortunately, dogs are no longer allowed on the rock formations. Texas State Parks and Wildlife is trying to ensure our pets stay alive by restricting their trail use.
The Loop Trail is nearly as good as the rock in my opinion. You will find seven other peaks around the park as you hike the Loop Trail. Consider hiking four miles around the rock formations, and don’t forget your dog. How long does it take to hike the loop? It took us two hours to hike the dog friendly Loop Trail at Enchanted Rock.
Read about our experience on the Loop Trail at Enchanted Rock, or watch our dog friendly Loop Trail video. Have fun while you climb Enchanted Rock, but be safe and cautious. You can do it! I wish you good fortune on the hike to come at one of the best Texas State Parks in Hill Country.
Great Places to Hike Like Enchanted Rock
Many people want to know how long it takes to climb Enchanted Rock, but there are other amazing hikes in Hill Country. Head to Garner State Park in Concan, and hike the Old Baldy Trail for one of the best views in Texas. Yes, your dog can accompany you on the hike as well.
Visit South Llano River State Park in Junction, and hike to the second highest point (we’ve found) in Texas Hill Country. The highest point is located inside Lost Maples State Natural Area. You will hike to approximately 2,300 feet above sea level, but it’s difficult to see anything outside of the park.
If you are driving through Fredericksburg, stop at Cross Mountain Park. The hike to the top of Cross Mountain is easy, and you will enjoy a view of the entire city. Where will you adventure next?
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.