Whether you’re interested in biking, hiking, exploring, or just catching a tan at a lakeside resort, the Texas Hill Country is a destination worth putting on your list.
Located in South-Central Texas and punctuated by a tall, rugged landscape, the Texas Hill Country is home to countless, geographically unique phenomena. The area is famous for its extensive network of caverns, including Bracken Cave, Cascade Caverns, and Innerspace Caverns. There’s even a State Park dedicated to these caves: Longhorn Cavern State Park. This region is so cavernous because much of the bedrock is composed of easily dissolved minerals like limestone, also known as “karst topography.”
Above ground, there are still some very “Texan” landscapes to be found.
The Llano Uplift features exposed granite deposits that date back to the Precambrian period, with some samples as old as a billion years! The larger Llano Uplift geographical area is home to Enchanted Rock, a famous Recorded Texas Historical Landmark. The granite dome that makes up Enchanted Rock reaches heights of over 425 feet, and can be seen for miles. It is the second-largest granite dome in the US, and in in geographical terms, is considered a “monadnock.”
Head west from Enchanted Rock, and you’ll find a change of pace – and the opportunity to explore more than 18 miles of hiking trails (and 1.5 miles of riverfront) within South Llano State Park. This State Park is home to a bustling population of wild turkey and offers ample opportunity for wildlife photography.
Just east of Fredericksburg, there’s an opportunity to experience some national history – while simultaneously getting a workout. The Texas Hill Country offers plenty of quality biking trails, but the Lynden B. Johnson Country Trail offers a glimpse into the history of a former U.S. President. At 36.5 miles long, this trail traverses farmland and ranches, largely tracing a path of quiet, single-lane country roads. The trail features the Johnson’s family ranch, which earned the nickname of “western White House” during Johnson’s presidency.
If you’re the golfing type, the Texas Hill Country is home to hundreds of golf courses, ranging from the luxurious La Cantera Resort north of San Antonio, to the more wallet-friendly options, such as the Hidden Springs Golf Course just south of Harper, Texas. The Austin Country Club (if you can get through the gates) is one of the oldest in Texas, and offers a top-notch golf course and clubhouse to boot.
Want a taste of small town living? Nestled in the heart of the Texas Hill Country – and named after a Texas Revolutionary War Major – the city of Kerrville allows you to experience a small town feel without sacrificing the conveniences of being in the city. With a population of 20,425 people, this city boasts a number of parks, festivals, the Kerrviille Festival of The Arts, The Museum of Western Art, and scenic overlooks of the Guadeloupe river, which runs through the downtown Kerrville area. If you’re looking for a free activity, the Hill Country Museum can be found in downtown Kerrville, within the historic mansion of one of the city’s founders, Charles A. Schreiner.
Visitors can travel north from Kerrville to the banks of Lake Travis, considered by many to be the clearest lake in Texas. While the lake is technically a tributary of the Colorado river, the Mansfield Dam acts to transform this tributary into a vital supply of water for the area, as well as a source of electric power. The lake is stocked with several species of fish, making recreational fishing a must, and Lake Travis has several options to rent a boat and take to the water!
Maybe you’re the type who wants to get away from it all. The Texas Hill Country is home to number of top resorts. One such resort is the Canyon of the Eagles Lodge. Located west of the city of Austin and overlooking majestic Lake Buchanan, Canyon of the Eagles Lodge was created with a nature-centric approach. The lodge is tucked into the hillside, away from prying eyes and city life. As the name implies, this area is dedicated to wildlife preservation for species ranging from bald eagles to the canyon cheeked warbler, and as such, is the prefect place for the avid birdwatcher.
The Texas Hill Country is also home to over 42 wineries, each with its own character, history, and flavor. Becker Vineyards, located in Stonewall, Texas, has even been featured on the Fine Living Channel and has their wine served at the White House! Becker Vineyard’s more famous wines include their Bordeaux, Burgundian, and Rhone wines. Pedernales Cellars is yet another winery located in Stonewall, Texas, that specializes in Tempranillo and Viognier wines. This winery offers the unique experience to tour their underground winemaking cellar. Or, if you prefer to stay above ground, take a seat on the patio and enjoy the sunlight with a glass of delicious red.
The Texas Hill Country is a vast region with a range of things to see and experience. No matter your preferred style of getaway, the Texas Hill Country has something just for you!