Pedernales Falls State Park, located along the banks of the Pedernales River in Blanco County east of Johnson City, Texas, covers 5211.7 acres and was acquired from private owners in 1970 before being opened to the public in 1971. This area, formerly the Circle Bar Ranch, typifies the Edwards Plateau terrain.
In this area, the elevation of the river drops about 50 feet over a distance of 3000 feet, and the cascading falls are formed by the flow of water over the tilted, stair-step effect of layered limestone. Due to drouth conditions during my visit water levels were very low, however this entire area is prone to extreme flash flooding with the river rising from a placid stream to a raging torrent in a matter of minutes.
- The river limestones belong to the 300-million-year-old Marble Falls formation and are part of the southwestern flank of the Llano uplift. Layers of limestone were tilted by the uplift, then eroded long before early Cretaceous seas covered this part of Texas and deposited sands, gravels, younger limestone, and marine fossils.
In addition to some awfully inviting swimming holes, like these, the area also offers camping, 19 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, 10 miles of equestrian trails, and 14 miles of backpacking trails.
- Wildlife in the area is typical of the Texas Hill Country and includes white-tailed deer, coyotes, rabbits, armadillos, skunks, possums, raccoons, and over 150 species of birds. Oh yeah! And also these little guys!
The Texas Earless Lizard (Cophosaurus texanus texanus).
Cute, clever, and fast…just like Texas men! (Though Texas men DO have ears, they use them only very selectively!)
All photos: Alex Autin, …things I LOVE!