Pedernales Falls State Park, located east of Johnson City, has been open to the public since 1970, having been acquired the previous year from private owners. The park gates is open year round, seven days a week.
It is situated in Blanco County and encompasses 5,211.7 acres along the banks of the Pedernales River, which can create a flash flood without warning. Park visitors must exercise caution when in this area. The land is typical of the Edwards Plateau terrain.
Camping facilities include a Youth Group Camping Area along with additional campsites featuring electricity and water. For those campers who prefer something a bit more rustic, primitive campsites are available after a 2-mile hike in. The primitive sites do no allow pets or ground fires.
Bird watchers have access to a covered viewing station that includes bird feeders as well as a bird bath. The park staff maintains this area on a yearly basis, keeping the feeders well supplied. No additional fees are charged for use of this station. More than 150 species of birds frequent the park area. Other wildlife within the park includes rabbits, coyotes, white-tailed deer, armadillos, raccoons, skunk, and opossums.
Including one of the roughest gorges around along with panoramic views, Pedernales Falls State Park offers hiking, horseback riding, camping, mountain biking, bird watching, and fishing. It also offers a number of water sports including wading, swimming, and tubing. All of these last three activities are offered in a limited capacity.
The main attraction of Pedernales Falls State Park happens to be Pedernales Falls. It can best be seen from the vantage point of the scenic overlook that is located at the north end of the park. At the falls, the river’s elevation drops approximately 50 feet for a distance of approximately 3,000 feet creating cascading falls that flow over layered limestone set in a series of stair-like protuberances.
Pedernales Falls State Park is dotted with a number of different trees including ash, cypress, buttonbush, juniper, oak, pecan, elm, walnut, sycamore, and hackberry. Although the park is not noted for being popular as a fishing site, it does offer catfish, perch, carp, and bass.
Attractions nearby Pedernales Falls State Park include the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, Admiral Nimitz State Historic Site-National Museum of the Pacific War, and Lyndon B. Johnson National and State Historic Sites. Other parks in the area include Inks Lake State Park, Longhorn Cavern State Park, Blanco State Park, and Guadalupe River State Park.
Pedernales Falls State Park provides almost 20 miles of mountain biking and hiking trails, 14 miles of backpacking trails, and 10 miles of equestrian trails. Daily entrance fees are charged along with additional fees for camping or use of certain facilities. Children who are twelve or younger can enter the park free of charge. School-sponsored groups can receive a discounted rate. While pets are allowed in certain areas, they are restricted from entering state park buildings.