Thursday, May 7, 2015

Pedernales Falls State Park Review - Johnson City, Tx

Pedernales Falls State Park:
Located between Dripping Springs and Johnson City in central Texas, Pedernales Falls is a great place for the outdoor enthusiast and family camper. From the south Austin area, it took us about 35 minutes to get to the campground. The Campground is clean, most sites have plenty of tress and shade and there are plenty of hiking trails for all levels. There is wood and ice available for purchase if needed but no local store for grocery items if you forgot anything. The nearest store is either in Dripping Springs (about 8+ miles) or Johnson City (not sure exact distance)

The sites are single car wide but most are deep enough for an RV or Travel Trailer. Some sites are more wide open with sparse tree coverage while others are more secluded with lots of trees. There are about 70 sites total for the campground but it can fill up quickly so call before you haul and make reservations in advance!  There are also tent only/primitive sites as well.

Developed sites have power and water. Sites also have fire rings (assuming no burn ban) with a grill box as part of the fire ring. They also a picnic table and lantern pole as well as cleared areas for tents.

The low areas near the river are subject to flash flooding so be careful is rain is in the forecast.

The restrooms are cleaned daily and have shower stalls with hot water. They are within walking distance for most sites but they do have a few parking spaces by each bathroom in case you don't want to walk to them.

The park has a number of nature activities for the outdoor enthusiast. There are plenty of hiking and mountain biking trails for all age ranges. Some trails may be physically demanding while others are easy. The walk to the falls is fairly easy with stone steps down to the river front. Though the steps can be a bit steep for the less mobile but no more challenging that your typical stairway in a residential home. However, there are no handrails on those steps. The falls are one of the highlight features of the park and are quite beautiful but this is obviously subject to drought conditions.

There are equestrian trails for those that have horses. There is also a bird blind for those that enjoy bird watching. We saw a number of cardinals and several other species though we are far from experts on the subject.
There is a swimming area but we did not make it down there to check it out.

Fredericksburg is nearby and is a quaint historic Germanesque town with antiques, Museum of the Pacific (WWII), birth place of Chester Nimitz. It's also known for some of the best peaches you will ever taste.

Internet Connectivity at the park:
Whether this is a good or bad thing depends on your perspective but expect to unplug during your visit there as cell reception was challenging at best in the campsite. We did manage to get 1 bar if we stood in the street in front of our campsite and could get emails/texts as well as make calls but surfing the web is not really an option. So it can be good in that it forces you to enjoy the park more and your electronics less but if you need good connectivity for some reason, you will be challenged to get anything at this park.

Note: Texas State Parks do not allow alcohol in public. Alcohol should be consumed inside.

Here are more pictures from the park. Image on left is of a spring popping up underneath a tree. Image on right is a branch/log stuck in a really tall tree.  Flood waters must have been that high in recent years.

Overall, this was a very nice park and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a great place to camp and enjoy nature. If you are in or passing through central Texas, be sure to stop in and visit the park.

Have a favorite park for camping? Please leave a comment below. We are always looking for great places to camp both around Texas and around the country.

See you on the road,
Jay T.