To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Texas State Parks, we’re visiting eight state parks in Central Texas.
We asked you which park you wanted us to visit next, and your votes are in: buckle up, we’re going to Pedernales Falls.
This park, which is about one hour outside of Austin, was acquired by the state in 1971, but there’s 10,000 years of history behind that date.
Indigenous peoples settled the land dating back to ~9,500 BC, with Lipan Apaches and Comanche competing for the area as late as the early 1800s.
White settlement didn’t arrive until after Texas joined the US in 1845. By the late 1880s, a community of a few dozen people farmed the park’s site, and built a shared school, cemetery, and roads. The land was purchased around ~1900, and traded hands as a ranch for the next several decades.
The name “Pedernales” comes from the era of Spanish settlement, derived from the word for the flint rock found in the river bed.
What to see
You’ve gotta see the falls. The geologically fascinating cascade displays millions of years of erosion. Depending on recent rainfall, you may be able to walk around or picnic on the falls — reader Patrick C. suggests visiting them “after a big spring rain.”
Another tip comes from Geruza P., who suggests: “Look at the bird space created. You can sit and observe them. They place food and [the birds] come.”
Pro tip: This park is listed as one of the best parks to see a Golden-cheeked warbler.
What to do
Pedernales Falls State Park is 5,212 acres, so there’s a lot to do, including:
- Camping, starting at $10 per night
- Hiking and biking
- Horseback riding
- Swimming, tubing, and kayaking
Make a reservation to visit Pedernales Falls State Park.