With a bortle scale of 4.5 this is a decent dark sky park not too far from Austin, Texas. Visibility from most camp spots in the park is 10-15 degrees above the horizon. After an assessment of all campsites (with the exception of the primitive) it was determined that Campsites #28, #30, #35, #42 and #52 were the optimum locations for camping as well as observing from. We spent the evening in campsite #28 and it allowed us ample room for our tent, gear and space to park while still allowing us room to set up scope and gear. There are 69 sites at pedernales and each comes equipped with water and electricity. spread out among a large swath of area the sites are staggered in their layout minimizing the amount of light that might spill over from one site to another.
sites are $20 per night with a $5 day use fee and are assigned on a first come first serve basis.
pedernales falls state park also affords its visitors the option of partaking in other activities such as hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding (horses not provided) and swimming in posted areas
while not presently used, the park also boasts a rather significant "Sky theater" designed for observations, and usage for large crowds and assemblies. We will be keeping a close eye on this area as it is developed and hopefully used on a more regular basis.
Sufficient sky exposure with this site, your best scope set up area is going to be at the back of the long parking pad.
These campsites have a limit of two cars per site with a total camper capacity of 8. Site #30, along with sites #35 and #42 are ideal locations if you are planning to camp and observe as a group. This site is exceptionally large and level.
Sporting an obelisk topped with a Polaris spotter, the Star Theater is set up henge style noting the cardinal directions and can seat over 100 guests. Access to this area, at this time, is by foot after parking in the equestrian part of the park.
Site #42 has especially good Northwest sky exposure and a long parking area that could support multiple scopes.
Future plans for the Sky Theater include a scorpion shaped analemma as well as a personal sundial where you get to plat the role of the gnomon.
Site #35 has it all, good sky exposure, level area and good separation between camping and observing. The grass area this site affords allows you to set up your scopes and retain the asphalt area just for parking vehicles. The division of areas means you can have your campfire and cooking going while observing and neither is affected by the other.