In: Outdoors28 Jun 2014
(map) You can hear these falls before you can see them, the sound of water flowing over limestone like a musical call. These river stones were layered here 300 million years ago, give or take a day or two. The lazy, stair-step motion of the cascades belies the ferocity of the flash floods that can form here in literally minutes. That’s why no swimming has been allowed here since 1977 (there are other places in the park to swim). You can hike down to the falls and along the rocks for about a mile, or you can just sit and enjoy the peaceful overlook as a great blue heron swoops overhead looking for lunch.
There are all kinds of things to do in the park: Swimming, camping, mountain-biking, hiking, fishing, picnicking. It’s a great spot for families, with showers and restrooms.
Two of the park-designated swimming areas in the Pedernales River. From the parking lot, you walk down rock steps to the river, where the easy-flowing water forms shallow rapids. Sunbathers perch on the rocks on the banks or even in the middle of the river.