Brian Greenstone

The Greenstone Guide to Austin & The Hil Country



This park earns my highest rating of 6 flags! It is my favorite Texas State Park because it is truly a treat for the eyes and ears. The park has so much to see that there is no way to take it all in with only one visit. The main attraction is, of course, the Pedernales Falls themselves, but there are also hiking trails, campgrounds, and a river wading and swimming area.

The falls are absolutely amazing to look at, especially after a good rain. The running water has carved massive crevices into the limestone riverbed and this forces the water down narrow channels where it thunders in an awe inspiring torrent of gushing water. You can sit on the rocks and stare at the water for hours!

Pedernales Falls can be extremely hazardous. If you fall into the water you are probably going to die, so it is not a good idea to bring children under 6 years old, and only bring your dog if he is sure-footed. Definitely wear hiking shoes. One time when I was there, I did see a small child fall into one of the "pool" areas of the falls where the water flows slowly. He was floating downstream screaming for about a minute before someone rescued him. Another 60 seconds and that kid would have been swept into the main flow and that would have been that.

The hike across the falls will take a lot out of you since there is a lot of climbing and jumping involved, especially if you go far upstream where it gets very rugged. Be sure to bring a bottle of water as it gets very hot out on the rocks and it is a long walk to the Coke machine.

Swimming is not allowed at the falls, and for obvious reasons, however, there are plenty of excellent spots for that downstream. It is a short hike from the parking lot at the trail-head down to the water.


The park is located just a short distance past Dripping Springs and Henly off 290 west. You can simply take 290 from Austin all the way until you see the brown highway sign for Pedernales Falls, however, if you live close to 620 then there is a much more scenic and faster way to get there:

Take 620 all the way South to 71. Go West on 71 about a mile until you get to Hamilton Pool Road. Follow Hamilton Pool Rd. until you get to Route 12. Take 12 all the way to Dripping Springs and there it will meet up with 290, so take a right and continue on until you get to the turnoff for the Falls.


These pictures were taken in the beginning of spring after a good rainfall, so the water is really rushing good!

©2001-2011 Brian Greenstone