Pedernales Falls is the most popular attraction within this state park in Johnson City, Texas. Visitors flock to the north side of the park where they can hike through the rocks along the falls. Pedernales Falls State Park is about 40 miles west of Austin, and 75 miles north of San Antonio. It is easy to reach this park from either city, but it may be difficult to get in without a reservation. The hike to Pedernales Falls is quick and easy from the northern parking area.
Hiking to Pedernales Falls
There are more than a few ways to reach the Pedernales River, but the most direct and popular route is via the final trailhead you reach on the drive through the park. This trailhead will take you through the Pedernales Falls Trail System. Follow the trail for a quarter of a mile and you will reach the Pedernales Falls Overlook in only a few minutes. Continue down a flight of steps to reach the river and hike to the falls. The Pedernales Falls hike will take less than 10 minutes if you simply want to hangout near the water.
More than likely, you will see many other visitors around the river, especially on weekends and holidays. The lower water level keeps the cascading falls to a minimum, but allows the opportunity to do some bouldering through the river. You can hike into and along the river for about two miles. Swimming is not allowed in this area, but there are great views and the park is dog friendly. If you choose to hike through the river, it provides more of a challenge than any of the trails at Pedernales Falls State Park.
Other Things to Do at Pedernales Falls
Although hiking to Pedernales Falls is the most popular thing to do at this state park, there are other activities to try and points of interest to see. You can hike, bike, ride a horse, camp, fish and swim in certain areas of the park. Tent camping is limited to one area and requires some backpacking. There is also a horse camping area, and youth camping area as well. Swimming and crossing the river is possible in the center of the park. You can see every point of interest in our Pedernales Falls video.
The Pedernales Falls Overlook is the best point of interest, and the Juniper Ridge Trail is the best hiking trail, but Trammel’s Crossing is worth a look if you do not mind getting your feet wet. Twin Falls Nature Trail is another quick and easy hike which is worth the time and effort. Pedernales Falls State Park has more than 40 miles of potential trail distance. Checkout our dog friendly Pedernales Falls article for more trail info. and things to do at this park.
How to Get to Pedernales Falls
Hours of operation: 8am – 5pm, Wednesday through Sunday
Fees: $6 per person without a Texas State Parks Pass
Pedernales Falls State Park is accessible from Pedernales Falls Rd/Robinson Rd, a few miles east of Johnson City. Follow the park road north to the HQ, which is about halfway to the river. After visiting the HQ, continue north until you reach the final parking area. Pedernales Falls is a very short hike from this point.
Warning! – This park regularly reaches maximum capacity on weekends and holidays. If you arrive without a reservation, park staff will turn you away at the gate if the park is full. Plan ahead and make a reservation online. It’s simple and guarantees you access to the park on your day of choice.
Other Waterfalls to Visit
Hiking to Pedernales Falls will not lead you to the most magnificent waterfalls you have ever seen. However, the river is a great area to hangout with your family, especially if they consist of dogs. There are a few other parks you may want to explore if you enjoy seeing waterfalls. These are the ones we have visited so far:
- McKinney Falls State Park has dueling waterfalls (about six feet high) in Austin.
- Take a moderately challenging hike to Gorman Falls (70 feet high) at Colorado Bend State Park.
- The 15-mile San Antonio Riverwalk has a few smaller waterfalls because of constructed dams.
- Snoqualmie Falls (482 feet high) can be seen from an upper viewing deck, or trail at the lower river level in Washington.
- Niagara Falls State Park has a few of the most famous waterfalls at our first state park in New York.
- Cattail Falls (80 feet high) is hidden on the western edge of the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend National 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.