Saturday, November 28, 2015

Enchanted Rock

The second stop of our pre-Thanksgiving trip was another Texas' landmark - the Enchanted Rock.

Enchanted Rock is an enormous pink granite pluton batholith located about 70 miles west of Austin Texas. It has an elevation of 1,825 feet, and rises above its surrounding, the Llano uplift basin, by  425 ft. The rock is over one billion year old! It is a very popular place, even on Monday afternoon when we got there,  there was a line at the ranger station for check-in and there was streams of people on the rock.

There are a few trails at Enchanted Rock. The most popular one is the 0.67 mile long summit trail, which lead from the parking lot area trail head to the top of the rock. The longest trail in the park is the 4.25 mile loop trail - which circles around little rock, enchanted rock (big rock) and freshman mountain.
Enchanted rock viewed from summit trail trail head
on the way up
on the top
The enchanted rock and the little rock have extensive exfoliation (i.e. rock falling apart)  at their lower half. Those exfoliated areas provide great opportunities for kids to play and explore without getting lost since one always has a clear sight of the parking lot. Nicholas led the way when we descended from the summit, we deviated from the trail, and hiked into those areas. It was a little bit challenging but pretty exciting. 

Sunrise at enchanted rock
little rock under morning Sun
The loop trail is much less traveled. When we hiked on the trail, we encountered only 3 groups, 4 hikers, a father daughter pair, and two solo lady hikers. The loop trail presents a different vista than the summit trail.  There are a few interesting rock formations along the way. The big rock apparently altered the temperature locally, the south side must be a few degrees higher than north side in winter. The trees and plants on the south side of the rock were green, and there were fall colors on the north side. The loop trail also leads to the moss lake.

Enchanted rock is a great place for hiking and camping, even for families with young children. It also provides a great lesson for natural history of Texas - there are exhibits at ranger station and the summit trail trail head to delineate it.
rock formation 1

rock formation 2

rock formation

north side of the rock

foliage at north side of the rock 
Moss Lake

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