Much of Fredericksburg's draw is attached to people and places just beyond its city limits.
Enchanted Rock is a 1,643-acre park on Big Sandy Creek north of town. The centerpiece is the second largest granite dome in North America. The huge, pink granite exfoliation dome rises 425 feet above ground, 1,825 feet above sea level, and covers 640 acres. This enormous batholith, which is an underground rock formation uncovered by erosion, was the subject of Tonkawa lore. They believed ghost fires flickered at the top and whispered creaks and groans into the wind.
During a hike up the rock, a group of us heard the whispers and agreed those 10,000 years ago couldn't have known the rock expanded during the heat of the day and contracted by night to create the cacophony. Our Tonkawa predecessors all the way up to the conquistadors who came across it would thus have no other choice but to assign supernatural status to the phenomena.
The ascent is strenuous enough to take a little of your breath, but the view from the top will take what's left. The grounds feature 60 primitive campsites plus shaded and picnic areas. Hikes and climbs of varying degrees of difficulty are also available.
The Old Tunnel Wildlife Management Area, or “The Bat Tunnel,” is open nightly from June through October. This abandoned railroad tunnel is home to more than a million Mexican free-tailed bats that emerge each evening around dusk to feast on mosquitoes.