Enchanted Rock, Texas / by Turner Fitch

Among the winding roads and shrubby backwoods of the Texas hill country you might just come across something outstanding - Enchanted Rock. This massive, pink, granite dome rises 425 feet above the surrounding terrain. Millions of years ago the rock formation was a mass of lava underneath the earths crust, over eons it has risen and cooled. Wind and erosion worked away the surrounding earth uncovering the mass.  Geologically this is where the land mass we call Texas began.


   From the ground, the dome is outstanding, but from the summit it is awe-inspiring. The eco-system atop and surrounding the rock is both dramatic and subtle, as the desert is. Flora and fauna have adapted and evolved to the harsh, erratic weather patterns. Vernal Pools, temporary blue gems which provide habitat for fragile species, like fairy shrimp and lichen, stipple the summit of Enchanted Rock.  


   As the wind, unimpeded due to acres of smooth granite, whips around your body, you begin to feel a part of the thousands of years of human history which occurred on that spot. Treaties, wars, mediation, ritual, RV vacations; humanity seems to be drawn to such geologic wonders. Local Kamanche, Tonkawa, and Apache tribes considered the dome sacred. An abundance of legends and folklore depicting portals to other worlds, a home for spirits, and hauntings surround the dome’s mysterious energy. 

    The Tonkawa people referred to the stone as “crying rock” due to its habit of making groaning noises in the night. Scientists now believe this is due to cooler nighttime air, causing contractions in the rock, an ancient exhaling granite lung in the middle of the vast rolling hills which disappear deep into the horizon.