Our family loves hiking and our favorite place to hike is Enchanted Rock right outside of Llano, Texas. Formed by magma centuries ago, it is now a dome of granite and several granite outcroppings – perfect for hiking and “rock hopping.”
It’s on this rock that my husband gave me my engagement ring back in 1994. We’ve hiked this dome for many, many years, taking the kids since they were little bitty. Lauren used to ride on Johnny’s back when she was younger. Now, we take to the other hills and explore the cracks and crevices. There are mountain lions, deer, bobcats, snakes, lizards, and other Texas critters that roam these hills. We never know what we’ll find when we go through the shady places, hide under granite rocks, or simply hop from one rock to the next.
Legend has it that when the Comanche and Tonkawa indians roamed this area that they revered the rock and would make sacrifices to it at its base. Another legend is that one tribe was slaughtered on the dome and now their ghosts haunt the rocky area. And yet another legend is that an indian princess threw herself off the cliff when her tribe was killed. At night you can hear the groaning and moaning of her broken heart. Truth is, the rock does groan at night but that’s because the rock is cooling from the heat of the Texas sun. There are many other legends as well.
Another true story surrounding Enchanted Rock is of Captain Jack Hays of the Texas Rangers. He was part of a surveying crew of Texas Rangers in 1841 when he was cut off from his group by a band of raiding Comanches. He escaped to the top of Enchanted Rock where he held off the raiding party for three hours by himself. The frustrated indians left fearing that evil spirits on the rock prevented them from getting to Hays.
Enchanted Rock is also known for its quartz deposits, which were formed as part of the cooling process from the lava that formed this granite formation. This truly is a beautiful and rugged area and one of our favorites. The rocks glisten in the sun and it’s simply beautiful. You can sit at the top of the dome and be as high as the buzzards fly. The wind is always blowing at the top whether you’re there in the summer or fall.
Numerous hiking trails surround not only Enchanted Rock but the other formations all around the main dome. You can hike one or all of them. Camp for the weekend and spend all day hiking, climbing, and rock hopping (which is what we do coming down). Large pieces of rock have broken off and fallen down over the years and now there are tons of rock formations. When we are headed down, we hop from one rock to the next, or sometimes climb our way from one to the other to hop down another side.
By the end of the day we’re exhausted and drive into Fredericksburg for some good food. Those days hopping and climbing over Enchanted Rock are some of my favorite memories.