A Guide to Pedernales Falls State Park, One of Texas Best Natural Attractions

Pedernales-State-Park-Texas-December-2021-04480

Pedernales Falls is a natural attraction and one of the best State Parks to visit in Texas. It offers visitors hiking trails, camping opportunities, and a chance to cool down during the summer months. Additionally, the park is very close to many attractions in the Texas Hill Country, so you can add to your itinerary while visiting the many wineries in the region. Find here a full guide to planning your next trip to Pedernales Falls State Park.

Where is Pedernales Falls State Park

Pedernales is in Johnson City, in the Texas Hill Country. Though a small town, Johnson City is known as the birthplace of Lyndon B. Johnson, the 36th president of the United States.

Additionally, Johnson City is near many wineries and other interesting places in the Texas Hill Country, so a visit to Pedernales Falls can be combined with other Hill Country attractions.

Pedernales Falls State Park pools

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Getting to Pedernales Falls

Getting to Pedernales Falls is an easy task and the best way to get here is by car. Here are the main distances from major Texas cities, where you can reach the park on a day trip:

  • Austin: 40 miles
  • Houston: 200 miles
  • Dallas: 235 miles
  • San Antonio: 75 miles

Entrance Fee and Operating Hours

The entrance fee to Pedernales Falls is US$ 6 per person for a daily pass. Children 12 and below are free. If you want to visit other parks in Texas, you should consider purchasing the Texas State Parks Pass. This pass costs US$ 70 and allows you to visit (with guests) all 80+ State Parks in Texas during a 12-month period (starting from the date of purchase).

Pedernales Falls is open from 8 am to 10 pm, and the Visitor Center closes at 5 pm. Also, the park is usually busy during spring, summer, and fall, so online reservation is encouraged as the park closes for those without entry permits when the capacity is reached. You can reserve your spot on the Texas State Parks reservation page.

Weather and best time to visit the park

Pedernales Falls is open year-round and, with the temperatures in Texas, it can be visited throughout the entire year. However, different seasons can offer distinct activities – for swimming and tubing, avoid wintertime, while hiking should be avoided during the heat days of Texas’ summers.

Pedernales Falls State Park - Trail Overlook

Hotels near Pedernales Falls State Park

You have a few options of cities to stay in to visit Pedernales Falls. If you want city vibes with access to many restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, Austin is your best shot. If you want to be in the Hill Country to soak in the views and visit many wineries, then you should stay in either Dripping Springs, Fredericksburg, or Wimberley.

BEST HOTELS IN AUSTIN

  • Austin Proper Hotel – located in the heart of Downtown, Austin Proper Hotel is only a few miles from Lady Bird Lake and has a wonderful Mediterranean restaurant, the Peacock.
  • Hotel Magdalena – a nature retreat within the city with an impressive, heated swimming pool that echoes the Barton Springs.
  • Arrive Austin – a boutique hotel with an inspiring modern design.
  • The Line – a boutique hotel that features a charming pool and a strategically placed sunset bar (P6).
  • Austin Motel – a fun, hipster-styled hotel located in South Congress Avenue.
  • Hotel San Jose – a boutique hotel also on South Congress Avenue.

BEST HOTELS IN FREDERICKSBURG

  • Stonewall Motor Lodge – a classic roadside motel on Highway 290, this vintage place gives access to a lot of places in the Hill Country.
  • Inn on Barons Creek – where you can stay just a few steps from Main Street in Downtown Fredericksburg and explore the restaurants, cafés, and stores in town.
  • Hoffman Haus – a luxury B&B in Fredericksburg with charming rooms and a perfect location.
Pedernales Falls State Park, TX, View of the falls

BEST HOTELS IN WIMBERLEY

BEST HOTELS IN DRIPPING SPRINGS

  • Lucky Arrow Retreat – it offers various cabins and yurts near Pedernales Falls. Next to it, you’ll find Bell Springs Winery, a cute winery in Dripping Springs.
  • Camp Lucy – an upscale hotel with luxury and modern accommodations for an incredible stay.
Pedernales Falls Overlook

Restaurants nearby the park

When visiting Pedernales Falls, you won’t find many restaurants nearby, but just a quick drive can give you plenty of dining options.

  • Fat Boy Burgers: a famous burger spot in Johnson City with many visitors lining up to get their hands on the delicious options.
  • Ronnie’s Ice House Barbeque: a barbecue option in Johnson City, very close to Pedernales Falls.
  • Pecan Street Brewery: in the Johnson City Square with craft beers, pizzas, salads, burgers, and Southern dishes.
  • Johnson City Coffee Company: when it’s time to sip a coffee before hitting the road again, make a quick stop at this coffee spot.
  • Tillie’s: located in Dripping Springs, at Camp Lucy, and 16 miles from Pedernales Falls, Tillie’s offers new American cuisine in a lovely Vietnam spired building with lovely décor and patio.
  • Salt Lick BBQ: 30 miles from the park, Salt Lick is located in Driftwood and is one of the best BBQ places in Texas. Please note that waiting lines can last more than one hour.

The best things to do at Pedernales Falls State Park

There are plenty of outdoor activities at Pedernales Falls, including camping, mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking, and swimming.

For camping, there are two alternatives: you can choose between camping on a primitive campsite (US$ 10/night) or at a campsite with water and electricity (US$ 20/night).

Hiking at Pedernales Falls

Pedernales Falls Trail System (1.8 miles) is the jewel of the park and where you can see the Pedernales River flowing through the carved rocks. This is a marvelous place to see in the Texas Hill Country, so if you only have a few hours in the park, head straight here.

Pedernales Falls hike

Also, if you don’t want to go down and walk along the river, you can still have the perfect bird’s eye view from the overlook which is just a short and easy walk from the parking lot.

When looking for a quick and easy hike, plan on visiting Twin Falls Overlook (0.5 miles round trip). This easy trail goes through the rugged forest to an overlook where you can contemplate the falls. This is a loop trail, so just follow the blue arrows indicating the trail path to make sure you stay on track.

You can see all trails at Pedernales Falls on the park’s map.

Swimming at Pedernales Falls

To swim in Pedernales Falls, you’re required to go on a strenuous 0.25-mile through steep rock stairs.

Things to see near Pedernales Falls

From Pedernales Falls you can visit Johnson City (12 miles) to explore downtown, grab a bite to eat at Ronnie’s Ice House Barbeque or at Fat Boy Burgers, have a beer at Pecan Street Brewing, and sip a coffee at Johnson City Coffee Co.

When leaving Pedernales Falls, you can also pay a visit to Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, a place that tells the story of the 36th president of the United States. By visiting this historical place, you can have an overview of the president’s story – from birth until his final resting place on LBJ Ranch (admission is free).

If wanting to visit another Hill Country town, Dripping Springs is also close (25 miles away) and you can go to Hamilton Pool and visit Duchman Family Estate, a charming winery in town. In Dripping Springs, if you have time, you can also grab one of the best Texas BBQ at Salt Lick (beware that waiting time can last 1+ hours).

Pedernales Falls, Texas, landscape

Pedernales Falls State Park FAQ

Are dogs allowed at Pedernales Falls?

Yes, Pedernales Falls is a dog-friendly park.

How long is the Pedernales Falls Hike?

According to the park’s map, the Pedernales Falls hike is 1.8 miles.

Can you swim at Pedernales Falls?

Yes, you can swim in designated areas of the park.

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2 thoughts on “A Guide to Pedernales Falls State Park, One of Texas Best Natural Attractions”

  1. To tell the truth, I am so glad that I came across your article because I have been planning to visit Pedernales Falls State Park, but I hadn’t been aware of it to a huge extent and this guide helped me to change it. It is so cool that you said about the weather because I think that it is really important to choose the most favorable time to implement this trip in order to enjoy it in full measure and not feel uncomfortable. I prefer hiking because I really like observing different landmarks and it gives me a great deal of energy. Of course, the option to visit Pedernales Falls State Park in summer is not suitable for me. Also, I can’t imagine my trip without restaurants because I get special satisfaction when I try new dishes and it is so cool that you shared such a wonderful selection. After reading your article, I came to the conclusion that this park will give you the best opportunity to get aesthetic pleasure and be one with nature, becoming closer to it. Thank you loads!

  2. This Pedernales Falls State Park guide is incredibly helpful. You’ve really thought through everything you need to know before planning a trip. Thank you for this helpful resource. Saving this guide for later!

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I am Elen, and I help 9-5ers plan their next getaway. I curate travel experiences, from places to sip a coffee to stays in boutique hotels, so you can save time when planning your next vacation. Here you will find travel guides, tips, and the best itineraries for your next trip.

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