Pedernales Falls: Easy to Go, Hard to Say

Posted on March 31st, 2009

Located about 40 miles west of Austin on the edge of the Hill Country, Pedernales Falls State Park is the ideal getaway for Austinites needing a nature fix. A bonus: the quick trip there via U.S. 290 is shorter than some folks' commute to work.

The only bump in the road en route to Pedernales Falls
is trying to say its name. Locals pronounce it "PURD-nal-lis" even though it looks like it should be "Ped-er-nal-lees." So, if you want to blend right in with Central Texans, jump into your hybrid SUV and tell 'em you're headin' out to Purd-nallis for some eco-friendly nature lovin'.
Last weekend, I spent a chilly night (30 degrees) camping at the park with Max's Cub Scout troop. I'd been to Pedernales before, but never with a gaggle of goofy kids. Instead of sharing my recollections of silly skits, astronomy badge activity, and gross-out jokes, I'll focus on the park's natural attributes and worthy destinations.

The main attraction is the namesake Pedernales Falls, visible from a scenic overlook at the north end of the park. Though the water level varies throughout the year (Spring and late Fall are ideal) the river offers a tranquil respite, and its cascading falls provide a soothing soundtrack to accompany the somewhat-rugged surroundings of loose-barked cypress trees, limestone outcroppings, and knotty cedar bushes. The park also has a covered bird-viewing station with feeders and a drip bath attracting quail, dove, rufous-crowned sparrow, and occasionally even an endangered golden-cheeked warbler.
On your way there or back, drop by the Nutty Brown Cafe for a meal, snack, or drink. The back patio is a great place to enjoy a cold beer in the summer and hear some of Austin's best alt-country bands on the big stage, and the chicken fried steak and Frito pie are too tasty to pass up -- especially when accompanied by an iced tea and jalapeno hushpuppies. Grab a box of pecan pralines on your way out for a lasting reminder of your healthy Hill Country excursion.

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Jean-Lyn Dell - April 2nd, 2009 at 12:40 PM
Glad to see you are up and running with the site and blog. I'm going to hit Nutty Brown Cafe on the way to F'Burg at the end of this month - never been there.

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