Pedernales Falls State Park – Johnson City, TX

January and March 2015

Pedernales Falls State Park consists of 5200 acres in Blanco County that was opened in 1971. Only about an hour west of Austin, it is a great destination for a day trip, to get away from the chaos of city life. Kathy and I visited the park twice – once in January and once in March.

While there is a 69 site campground with water and electricity, I never stayed there. We did scope out the sites on our first trip in preparation of someday staying there, so it is definitely on the list of places to park the house.

There is a good trail network ( PDF map ) at the park, but we didn’t take advantage of this either. Saving it for a future stay with the house.

So if we didn’t camp or go out on the trails, why in the world did we go there? Twice. To enjoy the river. Duh!

Pedernales River provides the northern border of the park and cuts through another portion. The falls are located in the very northern section of the park and is in an area where no wading or swimming is allowed. If you want to take a dip, you have to go downstream a bit.


the falls

The falls

It was a brisk early January day when we decided to go out to see the falls. While it may have been cold, it was a beautiful, clear day – perfect for my first trip to the park. We clambered over the smooth rocks making up the falls and sat our butts down on the cold stone to take in the scenery. I really wasn’t upset that we couldn’t dip our toes in this section as I don’t do cold – especially cold water!

After we got our fill of the falls, we relocated downstream and checked out an area where you could wade across the river to access 10+ miles of trails that can be accessed no other way. Due to the temperature of both the air and the river, we opted to not get our feet wet, so those trails will have to wait for another time.


On the last Sunday in March we made a spur of the moment afternoon trip back out to Pedernales Falls State Park. It was much warmer this time so we opted to hit the stretch of river that allowed bodies in the water.

We eventually found a vacant stretch of river to call ours for a couple of hours. I enjoyed being a kid wading around in the water while Kathy joined me for a bit before settling down to read a book on the river’s edge. I only managed to get in just past my knees as the water was a bit chilly, but Kathy was the braver water explorer and actually managed to get totally wet. On purpose. I enjoyed it vicariously through her experience.

Pedernales Falls State Park is one that I am sure we will be back to and I look forward to spending more time exploring, using my house as our base.

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