On Easter Day, I decided to take the entire day to explore Texas Hill Country. I had the vision to drive to Llano in West Texas the night before, slept in my car for eight hours, and continued onward in the early morning. It was totally worth the drive! Wildflowers lined the roads all the way into Fredericksburg. I got caught flying my new DJI Mavic Pro outside Enchanted Rock by a state park patrol officer. I was reasonable and we went our separate ways. Rather than pay an entrance fee after this frustrating encounter, I drove back towards Llano and captured many beautiful photos along the way back to Austin. In all honesty, I don't particularly care about flowers, but I do enjoy taking pictures of them to highlight the beauty of this journey called life. Here are my top suggestions of the most scenic drives in Texas Hill Country. Follow the wildflowers and you will witness beautiful sights...
You belong among the wildflowers
You belong in a boat out at sea
Sail away, kill off the hours
You belong somewhere you feel free - Tom Petty | Wildflowers
1. Llano, Texas
You can reach Llano by taking Highway 71 straight into town. It's about a 1h 30m drive from Austin. There's not much to see once there, unless Dollar General is your idea of fun. However, it's a short drive along beautiful roads to Enchanted Rock...
2. Enchanted Rock
If you're seeking a place to hike or climb some serious rock faces, look no further than Enchanted Rock. Be prepared to bring plenty of water! Take CR16 southbound from Llano for about 15 miles and then hop on 965 into the state park. You will see the giant rock looming ahead in your windshield, along with wildflowers on both sides of the road in March-April.
3. Willow City Loop
As you're leaving Enchanted Rock, take CR16 about 5 miles until you see Willow City Loop. The whole trail is about 15 miles and totally worth the drive! It's also very popular with motorcyclists. You will pass cattle grazing on the road side. The areas aren't fenced in and they sometimes stroll carelessly across the road. This truly is one of the most scenic drives, especially during Bluebonnet season. Highly recommend on your way to Fredericksburg!
4. Fredericksburg Area
From Willow City, you can either take Hwy 16 or CR 1323 / 1631 into Fredericksburg. I recommend the latter since it's a less traditional country road with more scenery. After 20 miles, you will reach the quaint little German town. I stopped in for a delicious burger at Wheeler's, picked up a few bohemian clothing items at Earthbound Trading Company in preparation for my trip to Guatemala, and eventually made my way to Wildseed Farms at the suggestion of the store clerk. Although this isn't exactly "along the road", it's still a beautiful place worth the visit, and they also provide wine tastings there.
5. Bluebonnet House, Marble Falls
Continue on Hwy 290 until you see another Texas Hill Country Trail sign. Do your best to follow these signs as much as possible. This will take you along the Pedernales River through LBJ Historic State Park. It's a beautiful albeit short drive along this road. Take 290 into Johnson City (LBJ's hometown). If you have the time, go off the beaten path and take CR1320 / 307 into Round Mountain. It's totally worth it! This will take you into Marble Falls. Stop in for a bite at Bluebonnet Cafe across the bridge. Continue on 281 for about 5 miles until you see the historic Bluebonnet House. It's difficult to miss were it not for an ugly building blocking the view. I was lucky enough to capture the photo (above) on a stormy day just as the sun broke through the clouds momentarily.
6. Burnet, Texas
Continue on Hwy 281 for about 10 miles into Burnet, Texas. This is apparently a popular destination to see wildflowers but I didn't stick around to explore. I captured a few photos of the elusive longhorn and that was good enough for me. Although I'm a self-proclaimed marathon driver (I once drove straight through to Los Angeles from Austin!!!), after being on the road for nearly 10 hours, I was anxious to get back to edit photos and write this blog post.
7. Bluebonnet Bridge, Kingsland
If you're not yet ready to stop exploring, take Hoovers Valley and CR2342 for 16 miles into Kingsland, Texas. This bridge is located about 5 miles outside Kingsland on CR321. I made the mistake of not asking for directions and hiking for miles before turning back. Life is a journey, enjoy the ride...
Hopefully you enjoyed reading this blog post. Safe travels!
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