I've been to a lot of national medical meetings in my life. Some are fascinating, but most are less than fascinating. I always tried to treat myself with a few days of free time at whatever city I was visiting when the meeting ended -- exploring the city or its surrounding environments.
When I last visited San Antonio, I took the opportunity to visit Enchanted Rock State Natural Area in the Texas Hill Country. I'd read about the place in a magazine and thought it would be nice to explore the Hill Country and get in a good hike to boot. After a nice lunch in Fredericksburg, a German-themed community with good restaurants, we drove the final 17 miles and spent a half-day exploring the Rock. It was reminiscent of walking around one of the domes in Yosemite National Park.
Enchanted Rock is a massive dome-shaped pinkish granite rock that rises well above most of the surrounding countryside. Humans have been in the area for thousands of years.
(Panoramic view of Enchanted Rock, courtesy Jujutacular and Wikimedia)
Last weekend's One Clue Mystery Photo featured a view of Enchanted Rock, and was recognized by George G -- excellent travel detective work, as always, George.
The rock covers about 640 acres and the entire park covers 1644 acres. There are more than 10 miles of hiking trails to enjoy, most fairly easy. The most popular are the Loop Trail (4.5 miles, circling the perimeter of the rock), and the Summit Trial (0.7 miles with 419 feet of elevation gain) which gives you a chance to enjoy terrific 360 degree views of the area from atop Enchanted Rock.
Besides camping and hiking, other popular activities are rock climbing, bird-watching and star-gazing.
The park has a diverse flora of over 500 plants, so be sure to look around at what's growing there and what's in bloom.
Enchanted Rock is open year-round, but it's probably best to visit in the spring time when the temperatures are cooler and wildflowers are plentiful. Summers are hot and crowded as it is a popular camping vacation destination for families. Be sure to have plenty of water in the summer as the heat is dehydrating.
The park is a Texas Historic Landmark and a National Natural Landmark. And it is a nice way to experience the Texas Hill Country.