Waterfalls? Potholes? River relaxing? Count us in!
Over the weekend, we took a trip to Pedernales Falls State Park. Not only did we get to see a popular Texas waterfall, but we also discovered potholes and spent a relaxing afternoon on the river.
Texas Hill Country offers some of the best hiking in the state. And Pedernales Falls did not disappoint!
We only did a short hike while we were here, but hope to return in the cooler months to see everything that this park has to offer.
Here's how to spend a perfect summer day at this Texas State Park!
(The view from the Pedernales Falls overlook.)
Hike to Pedernales Falls
As we entered, we were told that the park was currently at capacity. (Thankfully, we made a reservation beforehand.) We were afraid that our plans would have to change, but honestly everything worked out like we hoped and there were never any large crowds of people to deal with.
That just shows how BIG this park is. Pedernales Falls State Park covers more than 5,000 acres. That is more than 8 square miles!
Our first stop was the trail to the park's namesake: Pedernales Falls.
(Pedernales Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in the state.)
The hike to Pedernales Falls was quick and easy, which was perfect for the kids on this HOT summer day.
The Pedernales River flows over giant slabs of limestone creating a waterfall. You can hike down to the falls and explore on top of and around them. However, there is no swimming allowed in this area. This river is prone to flash floods (even on sunny days) and there are warning signs everywhere to remind you of this danger.
The girls loved walking by the waterfall and splashing in the water. They also had fun finding potholes!
What are Potholes?
Potholes are holes in the solid limestone bottom of the river. Formed by erosion, the flowing water of the river swirls fragments of stone around and around until it eventually erodes away the bed of the river, creating potholes.
(This was a pothole near the falls.)
Swimming & Relaxing in the River
Even though our hike was short, the heat wore us out and we were MORE than ready to cool off in the river.
The walk to the swimming area from the parking lot is all down hill. It's only about a quarter of a mile, but there are a LOT of stairs. Thankfully, we had backpacks and a backpack cooler from Wander Wheels to carry all of our chairs, drinks, and towels down with us.
(There were SO. MANY. STAIRS. between the parking lot and the river!)
It would have been a miserable experience trying to pull a wagon down or using our usual over-the-shoulder beach bag. Having the right gear was a life-saver for getting everything down to the river and back to the car as easily as possible.
After seeing the waterfall and only being able to dip their fingers in the river, the girls could NOT wait to jump into the water. And they had the BEST time!
(Nothing better than a cool Texas river and your sister.)
When we weren't in the water, we were lazing in the hammock or munching on snacks.
It was nearing sunset when we decided that we were ready to go. We hiked back to the car and headed home to Fort Hood.
It was such a fun family day and we can't wait to come back and do more hikes at the beautiful Pedernales Falls State Park!
(What's better than watching the sunset from a river bank with your best friend?)
3 More Texas Adventures
Aside from Pedernales Falls State Park, here are 3 more Texas locations for any adventure family.
- Chalk Ridge Falls: My kids have been begging me to take them back to this swimming hole all summer. It's a quick drive from Fort Hood and a short hike down to the waterfall, making it a perfect family adventure.
- Blue Hole Park: This has been one of our favorite Texas swimming holes so far! It has a deep side and a shallow side, which makes it perfect for both adults and kids. And you just can't beat a fun 'waterfall'!
- Big Bed National Park: This adventure is still waiting to be crossed off of our bucket list. I can't wait to take my family camping and hiking here in this beautiful Texas wonder!
This incredible article was written by Amanda Harrison. You can find more helpful Adventure tips and tricks on Amanda's blog (https://findingmandee.com/) and through her instagram (@findingmandee)