This trail begins from the eastern edge of the main campground. There are only a few parking spots available, and (at least as of November 2017) due to construction of the campground, the park is requesting non-campers park up the road a ways (before the campground entrance) and reach the trailhead by foot. This is a multi-use trail that is popular with mountain bikers. Thanks to some work by the Boy Scouts, this trail has excellent signs/maps at most intersections.
The trail heads straight east from the parking area in an open meadow on a wide gravel pathway (basically a dirt road). It then turns south and slowly descends the cliffs along Pedernales River. This section is grassy, and appears to be mowed by the park, but still keep an eye out for venomous snakes as you approach the water.
The best part of the trail is Trammell's Crossing: a low water crossing made of a large stone slab that almost looks like a submerged sidewalk. The water is only ~6 inches deep or so, but the water is semi-quick moving, cold, and the rock can be slick so proceed carefully.
Enjoy the beautiful river, and then follow the trail up the other bank. Once at the top you can head north along the trail to the Scenic Overlook Trail
, or head east to follow the longer part of the loop to the Scenic Overlook Trail
. The trail follows a wide dirt doubletrack with intermittent shade until you pass the 5.5-Mile Loop Shortcut
. Thereafter, the shade is very limited. There is a small blind built under a tree right before the northwestern corner of the trail/Scenic Overlook Trail
that watches over a field.
The longer eastern half of this loop doesn't offer much that the western part has, so if your destination is the overlook you may just want to treat the trail as an out-and-back. It first follows the park perimeter east and then the fence line south for a bit before following the slope of a gully. You'll pass the 5.5-Mile Loop Shortcut
again on your right/west. The trail continues past the 5.5-Mile Loop Spur Trail which will add only an additional ~0.5 miles to your hike. Rejoin the "handle" of the "lollipop", head back down to Trammell's Crossing, and return to the campground.