Pedernales Falls State Park
Horse Trails, South Loop from Bird Blind
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Distance: 11.00 Miles
In addition to the designated hiking trails, there are at least 12 miles of equestrial trails not included on the normal park map. If you ask real nicely the folks at the headquarters will give you a very cheesy map of them. Photocopy of the normal map with the horse trails filled in with a felt tip marker.
Starting from the birding blind (just outside the horse corral area) I went through the corral area and got on the trail where the sign marks "Gunney's Horse Trail". Everywhere else this trail is labelled as the South Loop and the Short Loop. It's a long narrow loop trail with a cutoff in the middle that forms the Short Trail. Unlike the Wolf Mountain trail, the equestrian trails are generally unimproved, though they sometimes follow Jeep tracks. No asphalt or other nastiness.
Starting out, the trail was very muddy (it rained the day before) but after 1/2 a mile or so things dried out and got better. It stayed that way until the last half mile or so of the return trip. The last 4 or 5 miles are spent walking next to the park boundary, which is marked by an 8 foot tall fence. This wasn't as unpleasant as it sounds, but it wasn't nearly as nice as the much more pristine terrain that the rest of the trail followed. A little ways before encountering the fence the trail crosses the park road just inside the front gate. It might be worth setting up a car shuttle to avoid the fence walking, especially if you aren't really interested in the full 11 mile round trip.
I've now hike the full length once and the portion starting at the Wolf Mountain trailhead (~7 mile loop) and not seen anyone else on the trail. That includes a visit on Memorial Day weekend when there was a line 6 cars long to get an entrance permit and the park was pretty much full up. They don't advertise this trail and the solitude is wonderful.
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