Plants & Animals
Although the Pedernales River is the focal point of the park, there are other areas of interest to hikers, nature lovers and general visitors. Well-marked trails pass through hills dotted with oak and juniper woodlands and provide access to more heavily wooded areas of pecan, elm, sycamore, walnut and hackberry in the major drainages. Ash, buttonbush and cypress grow on the terrace adjacent to the river.
Fish commonly caught in the Pedernales River include catfish (predominantly), bass, perch and carp. The park is not really known as a fishing park, but catfishing is good after a river rise.
Wildlife in the park is typical of the Texas Hill Country and includes white-tailed deer, coyotes, rabbits, armadillos, skunks, opossums and raccoons. More than 150 species of birds have been seen in the park, and about one-third of these are permanent residents. Birds seen throughout the year include ravens, vultures, herons, quail, doves, owls, roadrunners and wild turkeys, as well as the endemic rufous-crowned sparrow and western scrub jay. The endangered golden-cheeked warbler nests in the park, arriving in mid-March.
Pedernales Falls is the park's main attraction and may be viewed from a scenic overlook at the north end of the park. In this area, the elevation of the river drops about 50 feet over a distance of 3,000 feet, and the cascading falls are formed by the flow of water over the tilted, stair-step effect of layered limestone. These river limestones belong to the 300-million-year-old Marble Falls formation, and are part of the southwestern flank of the Llano uplift. These layers of limestone were tilted by the uplift, then eroded long before early Cretaceous seas 100 to 120 million years ago covered this part of Texas and deposited sands, gravels, younger limestones and marine fossils.