Cedar, oak and mesquite woodland, large grassy meadows with many clusters of opuntia cacti and occasional cultivated fields characterise the land surrounding Pedernales Falls State Park
. The scenery is pretty if unspectacular and a good way to see much more is to drive the Texas Hill Country Trail
- a 623 mile circular tour mostly along back roads, part of which passes close to the park - US 290 between Johnson City and Fredericksburg.
East of the park, the Pedernales River flows through several miles of remote country with no paved roads, past a wildlife refuge (Hamilton Pool and Westcave Preserve), then eventually joins Lake Travis
, a large branched reservoir formed by damming of the Colorado River. The lake is just a few miles from Austin and provides the usual array of recreation as well as a place to live - there are many homes scattered along the wooded shoreline and nearby hillsides. 15 miles in the opposite direction along US 281 and FM 306 near the edge of the Hill Country is the smaller Canyon Lake
, created by damming the Guadalupe River. The lake has many boat launches and several waterside campgrounds.
The other state parks closest to Pedernales are Enchanted Rock
(30 miles to the west), Blanco (22 miles south on US 281) - a small area along the Blanco River used for fishing and swimming, and Guadalupe River (57 miles along US 281 and TX 46) - a similar setting but larger, prettier and more visited, with hiking trails, a variety of wildlife and rapids for canoeing.