Nature

3 Hidden Gems to Discover at Pedernales Falls

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Pedernales Falls is a beautiful Texas State Park located about 30 miles west of Austin. It’s a very easy day trip if you live in the Austin area. There are 3 great gems you should check out at this park.

Gem 1: Limestone at Pedernales Falls

Pedernales Falls Limestone

Photo: Flickr/chucksutherland

Lots and lots of limestone flow from the top of the canyon bed down 300 feet. It had lots of holes and dry (it was January and we are still in a low level drought) stepping stones. The weather was warm-ish and families littered the embankment overlooking what I imagine to be an awesome display of waterfalls when it rains. Although it was cloudy, we still paid attention to the flash flood warning signs — just in case the clouds had other idea. You can walk around the river bed and sit and mediate or, as I saw one woman do, scale a small wall to the top, or as my friend and I did, walk the dirt paths looking for treasure.

Which brings us to:

Gem 2: Geocaching

Geocaching state park

Photo: www.geocaching.com

There are plenty of caches to be had in the local area. In fact, geocaching is so popular that the Texas State Parks have created a game within the game. The GeoCache Challenge. This makes visiting the parks even better. It gets you out and about, collecting stamps for the passport, grabbing smileys along the way, an enjoying all the fun trails with friends (you could hike alone if you just need some me time, but caching with friends is always a blast).

Gem 3: Armadillos

Armadillo

Photo: www.huffingtonpost.com

Yes, I said Armadillos. Now for some of you,you may be thinking, what’s the gem in that? If you grew up here, you may be used to seeing these odd critters, but for me, this was my first encounter with an armadillo. Unfortunately, he or she moved too fast for me and I could not get a picture. It was cool nonetheless.

Overall, this was a good park to hike in, visit nature, and enjoy a light lunch without overtaxing yourself. If you want a something more challenging, you could practice mountain climbing or take a longer and/or harder trail. For my first trip out this was a perfect spot.It was close enough for a great day trip away from the city without feeling like the city was next door. We could have hiked longer or on a more difficult trail so the options for all level of hikers was here for the choosing. You can mountain bike or camp or like us hike for the day.

This park is big enough that you could walk for miles and miles (the site boasts a challenging six miles through Wolf Mountain and along canyon beds), but even with a the technological fail, I’m still pretty certain we walked the easy six miles even though it felt like ten.

The Park’s Rating

Difficulty  

Difficulty Rating is 1 Horn Toad Frog

Horn Toad Frog

Terrain

Terrains is 2 Hiking Boots

Hiking Boots

Terrains is 2 Hiking Boots

Hiking Boots

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Overall

Overall Rating 4 Canteens

Canteen

Overall Rating 4 Canteens

Canteen

Overall Rating 4 Canteens

Canteen

Overall Rating 4 Canteens

Canteen