eBird Links:
Llano County (Northern 90% of park)
Gillespie County (Southern 10% of park)

Highlights

  • Good for Rock Wren, Canyon Towhee, Black-throated Sparrow.
  • Very scenic, unique landscape.
  • Fantastic for hiking.

The Location

Enchanted Rock is a wonderfully scenic park known for its hiking trails and scenic views. While it’s not famous for its birds, it offers opportunities for county listers since the park straddles the Llano-Gillespie county line.

When the weather is pleasant, E Rock will draw high numbers of visitors from both San Antonio and Austin. Weekends can be especially busy, and park staff will begin closing the front entrance as parking spaces fill. After that entrance is on a “one out, one in” system.

Be sure to arrive before 9am on good-weather weekends, otherwise you may drive all the way there just to be turned away at the front gate.

As for the birds, this park offers great looks at species like Rock Wren, Canyon Wren, Canyon Towhee, and Black-throated Sparrow.

Enchanted Rock Trailhead

Birding Recommendations

To see the most species, explore:

  • Sandy Creek
  • Echo Canyon
  • Back side of Enchanted Rock at the base of the dome.

Much of the park is open exposed rock, with only patches of tree cover. As the sun gets higher in the sky, bird activity drops quickly, so arriving early pays off here.

Sandy Creek

The creek runs between the parking lot and main hiking areas, so it’s easy to find and access. Spend time walking along it while watching and listening for birds. 

The shrubby vegetation along the narrow stream is often productive. This is a good place to try for warblers during spring and fall migration.

As you walk away from the creek toward either E Rock or Echo Canyon, keep an eye out for Canyon Towhee. These plain brown birds tend to hang out around the open shrubby areas at the base of the rock dome.

Echo Canyon

The main feature of this park is Enchanted Rock, a large dome of bare granite rock. Next to it is Little Rock, a smaller but still huge dome of granite. Where these two domes meet is a partially shaded, shallow canyon called Echo Canyon.

Echo Canyon at Enchanted Rock
Front of Echo Canyon

The front half of Echo Canyon is mostly bare rock. This is the easiest place in the park to see a Rock Wren. You’ll likely hear it first, so be listening for their harsh alarm calls. Be sure to differentiate it from a Canyon Wren, which are common here.

Canyon Wren

The back half of Echo Canyon is wooded with several oak species. You likely won’t see many new bird species here, but it’s a great shady spot to rest.

Back of Echo Canyon

Back Side of Enchanted Rock

The rear, north facing side of E Rock is much more steep than the other side. The vegetation grows taller and more dense here, providing new habitat to search for birds.

As you come out of Echo Canyon and veer right (northeast), watch and listen for Black-throated Sparrow. This whole back area is a good place to spot them.

Behind E Rock

You’ll also likely see and hear higher numbers of birds back here, as fewer park visitors hike this area. It’s significantly less disturbed than the front half of the park, and the birds certainly seem to respond positively.

You can hike to Moss Lake, which is really just a small pond, but it doesn’t usually have birds on it. It’s not especially scenic, so you won’t miss much if you opt to skip it.

Moss Lake at Enchanted Rock
Moss Lake

Birding other Central Texas hotspots? Check out the Texas Hotspot Map for more guides like this one.