Fredericksburg Insider: Enchanted Rock in All its Glory

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Tony Maples Photography


For us in Fredericksburg, Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is just 17 miles away, and many of us just pop up there for a walk weekdays after work or for a picnic lunch. Weekends are another story – the park is often closed because it has reached its capacity. The photo above shows a serene and interesting place along the Loop Trail.

Prickly Pear Cactus flower

ERSNA Cactus Rose

Photo: Robert C Deming

Cactus flowers start blooming in February, are spectacular, and are found all around the park. This prickly pear flower has a bee inside collecting pollen.

Kissing Rocks

ERSNA Kissing Rock in Rain

Photo: Robert C Deming

Kissing Rocks in Turkey Canyon trail are pictured on a rainy, cold day. In bad weather, there are very few people in the park, and it is quiet and peaceful.

Sandy Creek

ERSNA Sandy Creek

Photo: Robert C Deming

This creek is seasonal and will usually dry up in the summer, but with winter rains, it is flowing well. See this from the Loop Trail northeast of the parking areas.

Thunderstorm approaching

ERSNA Storm Approaching

Photo: Robert C Deming

Summer thunderstorms are a pretty hit-or-miss experience at E Rock, but this one is moving fast toward the domes. The wind from this storm is strong. You should be off the domes when a storm comes over. Lightning deaths on mountain tops are the second-highest risk of climbing. The domes are closed when wet; they are too steep to get traction and falls are likely.

Sandy Creek is photogenic.

ERSNA Sandy Creek Flow

Photo: Robert C Deming

Before you visit the park, check their website for park closure alerts. Also, park staff post on Facebook and Twitter when the park is closed because they have reached capacity. In good weather on weekends or holidays, expect that the park will close as early as 10 a.m. and not open until about 3 p.m.

After the office closes there is a self-pay system for the $7 per adult fee. Regular visitors buy the park pass and just write their pass number on the self-pay envelope. Bring something to drink, but if you don’t, there are two drink vending machines on the back deck of the office operated by the Friends of Enchanted Rock. The Friends, who spend all their money in and on the park, also sell books and guides inside the office (cash only at this point).