Monday, January 20, 2020

Nine Stunning Hikes in the Texas Hill Country

Nine Stunning Hikes in the Texas Hill Country

The Balcones Escarpment—a cracked and weathered rock wall extending in an arc from Del Rio to Waco. This is central Texas, a land of hills, limestone bluffs, and sharply sloped canyons. Its initial appearance gives the impression of a seared land, but upon further inspection, one finds underground springs flowing across the region, forming beautiful rivers and refreshing streams.

This incredible land offers a vast array of beauty to explore, from nearly treeless plains to secluded canyons and stair-like trails leading to breathtaking views from Texas hilltops. Here is a list with brief descriptions of nine hiking trails in the Texas Hill Country you will want to check out.

Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge (21 miles east of Marble Falls)

This four-mile, round-trip hike traverses grassland before rising in a progression of rugged zigzags. You will climb 260 feet above the creek bottom. When you reach the creek crossing on this trail, be sure to stop and take in the beauty of the waterfall. If you visit this area in autumn, you will want to watch for migrating monarch butterflies.

Deer on rocky ridge

Lost Maples State Natural Area (47 miles southwest of Kerrville)

Here is an area famous for its extravagant exhibit of colors in autumn, but these scenic trails lure hikers year-round. This 4.6-mile round-trip hike is relatively challenging with its rugged hills and deep canyons. It runs along the border of the Sabinal River and peaceful streams.

If you start on the East-West trailhead, you will pass through groups of Uvalde Western Sugar Maple trees. At the fork, go left and cross Can Creek (in the fall, you may want to take the East Trail to see some of the park’s best autumn colors, as red oaks and Uvalde Western Sugar Maples turn to warm reds, yellows, and oranges). After Primitive Campsite D, you’ll begin a steep 220-foot climb to a savanna, where you can bask in 360-degree views of the wavy wooded landscape before descending into Mystic Canyon.

man with raised arms outside of tent

Colorado Bend State Park (27 miles west of Lampasas)

A 4.4-mile round-trip hike allows you to experience the scenic views of the famous falls. If you start north on the Tie Slide Trail, this rugged path crosses through open grasslands, rocky surfaces, and a variety of hardwoods and juniper trees. It offers views of the Colorado River valley. The short path to the Tie Slide overlook will awe you with a panoramic view of the river.

If you continue south on the Tie Slide Trail, you will run into the Gorman Falls Trail where, if you head east, the sound of rushing water will intensify as you make a mildly steep descent over smooth limestone. Upon rounding the corner, your eyes will feast on the view of a 70-foot waterfall tumbling from a limestone cliff over moss-covered mineral formations.

Guadalupe River State Park (13 miles west of Spring Branch)

A family-friendly hiking trail that is 3.9 miles round-trip, this offers a fantastic view of the park’s rolling terrain, and you can end with a leisurely walk along the Guadalupe River. Feel free to dangle your feet in its cool, spring-fed waters. You may also choose to stop at the Discovery Center to learn about the park’s natural features.

hiking couple examining map together

Milton Reimers Ranch Park (30 miles west of Austin)

This 2.2-mile round-trip hike takes you into a canyon more than 70 feet deep. Along the way, you will experience beautiful native plants and trees, scenic views, cliffs, and the Pedernales River. But, be careful! The canyon trail is very slippery. You will also travel through stands of bald cypress and sycamore trees. Be sure to listen for the chirp of canyon wrens as you pass vines of mustang grapes, beautyberries, and Turk’s caps.

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area (13 miles north of Fredericksburg)

Rock domes, cedar elm mesquite, live oak trees, massive boulders, and a crumbling granite hill will be the highlights on this four-mile round-trip hike. If you’re an Old West fan, the names of some of the sights along this trail will appeal to you: Turkey Peak, Freshman Mountain, Buzzard’s Roost, and Echo Canyon. You may even choose to camp overnight to stare at the vast expanse of stars. The greatest sight on this trail is the Enchanted Rock—a huge dome of sparkling pink granite rising 425 feet above the surrounding countryside.

backpacking with dog beneath stars

Hill Country State Natural Area (12 miles southwest of Bandera)

Only 2.3 miles round-trip, but a nearly 400-foot climb makes this trail a favorite among equestrians. The park even provides a list of horseback guides for your convenience.

Pedernales Falls State Park (44 miles west of Austin)

This longer hike, 7.8 miles round-trip, is another popular equestrian trail. This trail offers scenic views, a variety of trees, including Texas Persimmon and a duck pond, where you will want to watch for deer and other wildlife. Don’t miss Pedernales Falls!

hiking couple holding hands through tallgrass

Garner State Park (30 miles north of Uvalde)

This mere 3.4-mile round-trip hike offers scenic views and includes Painted Rock and the Frio River. You won’t want to miss the original 1930s stonework entrance gate that was hand-laid by workers in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). You’ll also find a historic dance pavilion. Be sure to bring a flashlight to explore the park’s cave.

Whether you’re a native Texan, a transplant to Texas, or a Texas visitor, you won’t want to miss some of the fantastic sights along these trails. No matter if you’re an avid hiker, an occasional hiker, a beginning hiker, or an equestrian enthusiast, the Texas Hill Country has something to offer you. There’s a hike for the family, as well as sights for photographers or people who love animals, nature, plants, stars, or the great outdoors. The Texas Hill Country has something to offer everyone. When you’re planning your next vacation, if you’ve never been to Texas consider spending time exploring the great outdoors in one of these natural parks.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Nine Reasons To Hunt In Hill Country Texas

Nine Reasons to Hunt in Hill Country Texas

The amazing scenery and the breathtaking wilds of Hill Country Texas are a sight to behold. The Frio River and the safari-style hunts will have you chasing legendary whitetails across the fields. You'll definitely want to return for more. With that being said, here are nine of the reasons you should choose Hill Country as your next big game destination.

1. The Top Five

Hill Country sits at number three on the top five regions within the state of Texas for big game hunting. There are many places you can hunt in Hill Country, whether that be public or private land, and they all offer a good variety and density of big game for hunting. Many choose to hunt with an outfitter as the bucks are typically plot fed and raised to maturity for optimal scores. Many regions within Texas offer outstanding hunting and outdoor recreation. The fact that Hill Country is at the top five should say it all.

man with hat pointing rifle

2. Big Game Density

Hill Country has a very high deer density, offering better odds and results on your hunt. When you
choose an outfitter to accommodate your hunt, you can see an average of two hundred
deer in a day’s hunt. That is an impressive statistic compared to other hunting locales and destinations. With there being a deer on every thirteen to fifteen acres, you are bound to find that buck you want.

a doe and a fawn in the grass

3. Hunt In Style

To increase the odds of getting that trophy on your wall, go with an outfitter and get the
complete hunting experience. Most outfitters in the Hill Country offer traditional hunts such as blind box hunts and safari-style hunts. Many outfitters in the area can accommodate everything from a single hunter to many, so go ahead and bring the family along with you. Additionally, most outfitters are in proximity to a town, providing ample activities in your downtime.

A doe beneath tree branches

4. There’s More Than Hunting

If you decide to bring your whole family, there may be some other things that you would like to do while visiting. Enjoy a day outdoors with your family! Visit Garner State Park and swim, canoe, or fish for the day. Or stop in one of the small towns along your way. You are sure to find good food and good people. With so many different adventures in Hill Country, you and your family are sure to enjoy the trip.

two stags with antlers

5. The Kids Can Hunt Too

The legal hunting age in Texas is seventeen, making it the ideal choice for bringing your son or daughter with you to share in the hunt and make some lifelong memories. Passing on the knowledge and traditions of safe and ethical hunting can be important lessons for children. Your child will see big bucks in early mornings and keep that hunt in their memory for the rest of their lives.

man pointing rifle skyward

6. Traditional Texas Hunting

Blind box hunting is a staple in Texas. It is one of the most successful and fun ways to hunt. The
anticipation and excitement of waiting to see that buck come across your field of view are exhilarating. Another great way to hunt in Texas is safari-style hunting. Taking most of the hiking and labor out of the equation allows you to focus on the thrill of the hunt. Both styles of hunting are very popular among hunters in the area and are offered at nearly all outfitters in Hill Country.

deer in misty tallgrass

7. Better Odds

If you use an outfitter, there are many reasons that you will have a more successful hunt. One of those reasons is baiting. Many states don't allow baiting, but it is legal in the state of Texas, and it will increase your chances of getting that trophy buck. Aside from baiting, most outfitters raise their bucks on plots where the deer can feed in safety until they reach a sizeable maturity. Outfitters are very stringent on how they raise their whitetails and only let their hunters harvest when the time is right. All this increases the likelihood of a successful hunt.

deer on a plain at dusk

8. Public Land

There is plenty of public lands to be hunted in Hill Country. While most people will opt for the guided hunts, there is still plenty of fun to be had using public lands as well. Before you plan your trip, we recommend putting your name in a drawing for a hunt in Balcones Canyonland’s Hunting Area. This area offers a good density of whitetail deer, and because it is a lottery drawn tag fewer people will be hunting it.

hunter and hunting dog

9. So What Does It Cost?

You will find that the cost of hunting in Hill Country is reasonable. Most outfitters charge an average of $3250.00–$8500.00 for trophy whitetail, depending on the score. Most outfitters also offer other packages for two does or exotic animal life that they have on their property. Typically, outfitters will waive things like daily outfitter fees if you are on a more expensive hunt as well. When you consider that you are lodging and food needs are usually met by the outfitter, this is very affordable.

While there are many places all over the country that you can hunt, and they all have their
advantages and disadvantages, Hill Country Texas is one of the most beautiful and statistically successful hunting destinations that you can visit. In years to come, you'll be able to sit beneath your mounted trophy whitetail and share stories of your hunt in Hill Country.

Monday, December 23, 2019

The Seven Must-See Texas Hill Country Holiday Light Trails

The Seven Must-See Texas Hill Country Holiday Light Trails

We can now say we are officially in the holiday season. The weather outside is getting colder, department stores have the same three songs on repeat, and you have random family members coming to your home. If you are looking for something to do with your family to get into a festive mood, holiday light trails could be just what the doctor ordered. There is something magical about looking at beautiful lights around Christmastime. We have put together a list of seven holiday light trails located in the Texas hill country.

1. San Saba Christmas Park

We begin this list by showing off one of the largest light trails in the hill country: San Saba Christmas Park offers over thirty acres of lights, ponds, and trees. If you love holiday lights but hate the cold that comes with it, San Saba Christmas Park has you covered with the entire park being drivable. Starting December 14th, San Saba Christmas Park will begin to offer events and programs for the whole family. Take a leisurely stroll with your favorite glass of wine with the Sip & Stroll tour. For $30 a person, you will receive a souvenir wine glass, tote bag, and ten tasting pours. Festive carolers will perform your favorite holiday classics in the main square of the park. Also, on December 14th, a Christmas Parade will take place in the main square of the park.

two women walking beneath Christmas lights

2. Old West Christmas Light Fest   

If you are a Texas history buff, then the Old West Christmas Lightfest in Boerne, Texas, is the perfect light trail for you this holiday season. During December, the town of Boerne turns the Enchanted Springs Ranch into a winter wonderland with over three million lights spread across over forty old west buildings.

The Old West Christmas Lightfest is offering much more than a light trail this holiday season. Take part in a Christmas themed escape room, or learn with your kids the art of cookie decorating with classes held nightly. If all of that is not enough for you, then maybe a game of laser tag on the Old West streets will get you in the holiday mood. The Old West Christmas Light Fest is not a free event. Tickets for entry are $15 for adults, $10 for children, and military and first responders can take advantage of a $10 ticket price. Escape room tickets will be $35, and laser tag games are $5.21.

Criss-crossing Christmas lights

3. Santa’s Ranch in New Braunfels  

The Santa’s Ranch in New Braunfels wins the most unusual light trail. If you want a light trail filled with Santas and Snowmen, then this is not the trail for you. Aliens, dinosaurs, space shuttles, and cowboys all await you on this bizarre and yet charming trail. The trail is perfect for people who do not like walking in the cold because it is a driving only trail. It will cost you $30 a car or $60 for a season pass that will last you the entire month of December—and let's face it you are going to want to do this trail more than once.

horse-drawn carriage beneath holiday lights

4. San Antonio River Walk Holiday Lights

One of the most iconic landmarks in Texas transforms itself into a festive place to celebrate the holidays. The River Walk, located in San Antonio, is already one of the biggest tourist attractions in Texas, and when you add thousands of lights in the mix, it becomes even better. The event is free as you stroll through the River Walk, perusing the shops and eating at the iconic Mexican food restaurants. If walking isn’t your thing, you can rent a boat that will sail you down the river giving you a unique way to take in the lights. Also, during December, carolers have been known to serenade passersby with classic Christmas songs.

bauble ornaments in street tree

5. Marble Falls Walkway of Lights 

The Marble Falls Walkway of Lights is an excellent option if you or anyone in your family is a dog lover. This light trail that takes place in Marble Falls Texas incorporates over two million lights and 400 sculptures. The whole trail takes place at Lakeside Park, so dogs are welcome as long as they are on a leash. Santa has been known to make appearances from time to time. This light trail is free, but the city of Marble Falls asks for donations to help fund events just like this one.

purple christmas lights

6. Johnson City Lights Spectacular

If you are a fan of light trails that don’t mess around, then the Johnson City Lights Spectacular will not disappoint. If you don’t believe us, you can ask NASA since this light trail can be seen from space. The tree lighting ceremony, which takes place on November 29, is the most iconic tree lighting ceremony on this list. Volunteers from Pedernales Electric Cooperative take more than one million lights and wrap them around a bigger than life oak tree. The event is free for everyone, including free horse-drawn carriage rides.

7. Bastrop River of Lights

The last light trail on our list is full of events and special programs. The city of Bastrop has grown a reputation of a small town that loves Christmas, and over the past several years, they have earned that reputation. Starting on November 29th and ending December 15th, the Bastrop River of Lights and Lost Pines Christmas has a full schedule of fun and festive events for the whole family. These events include tree lighting, Country Christmas Farm Street Opry, Twisted Christmas Krampus Haunts, and the famous lighted Christmas parade. This light trail is free to the public.

Lighting Up Your Holiday this Year 

The holiday season is about spending time with family and the people you love. Cities and towns all over the Texas Hill Country are providing the best forms of holiday cheer for you and your loved ones to enjoy. Light trails are a fun and unique way to get the family together and enjoy the holidays together.

Monday, December 9, 2019

11 Great Ways to Spend a Weekend in Fredericksburg, Texas

11 Great Ways to Spend a Weekend In Fredericksburg, Texas

In the midst of the hustle and bustle of big cities lies one of Texas’s hidden treasures. The small town of Fredericksburg, Texas, allows tourists and locals alike to take a step back in time and enjoy small-town living. If you only have a weekend to spend in Fredericksburg, we have put together a list of the top eleven to do for the perfect Fredericksburg Experience.

1. Spend Time Exploring Nature 

It wouldn’t be a small Texas town without vast doses of beautiful nature. Take a stroll to Wildseed Farms and explore the fields of wildflowers that paint the landscape around Fredricksburg. It doesn’t matter what season it is; you will be sure to find something that will catch your eye.

Windmill among purple flowers

2. Main Street

The lively main street of Fredericksburg is iconic in the state of Texas. With over one hundred stores, you will be able to buy anything from antiques to bags of candy. After walking up Main Street, you can stop by any restaurant to enjoy everything from Tex Mex to German food.

Main Street with Shops and Cars

3. Peaches, Peaches, and More Peaches 

The farmland that surrounds Fredericksburg produces more than 40% of the peaches in Texas. You will find it hard to miss dozens of roadside stalls selling the delicious fruit. If you come to Fredericksburg in the Summer, be sure to get yourself a scoop of peach ice cream.

4. Elk Store Winery and Distillery

It wouldn’t be Hill Country without at least one distillery. The Elk Store Winery and Distillery is a unique and fun spot to stop in while you are shopping on Main Street. They are renowned for their homemade moonshine, including a pecan pie variation. If moonshine is not your thing, the Elk Store has a bar that offers wine from around the world. Whatever you are into the Elk Store Winery and Distillery will be sure to satisfy you.

Wine glasses and bottles

5. Fredericksburg Herb Farm

For those of you that want to spend your weekend relaxing, the Fredericksburg Herb Farm is perfect. Take a stroll through the ground of the early 1800s homestead. Take in the smells of fresh herbs and flowers that radiate everywhere. You can book a spa appointment in their 5000 square-foot spa that offers a variety of treatments. The Fredericksburg Herb Farm even offers small cottages where you can stay during your weekend visit.

growing herbs

6.    Learn About the Life of LBJ

If history is your thing, then you will enjoy the fact that the LBJ Ranch is only a short road trip from the streets of Fredericksburg. You will find the Texas White House where LBJ spent some time while he was president. A tour is given where you will learn about the life and actions of the late great president LBJ.

7. Enjoy the Local German Food

The town of Fredericksburg was founded in the year 1846 by German settlers. The town received its name from the prince of Prussia Friedrich. It is because of this history that Fredericksburg offers the best German food in all of Texas. However, the German restaurants you do find can't help but put a Texas spin on traditional German food like schnitzel with guacamole.

assorted platters at a restaurant

8. The Pacific War Museum 

Any World War II buff will fall in love with the extensive Pacific War Museum located in Fredericksburg. The museum consists of a total of three buildings. Two of the buildings follow the more traditional museum with artifacts and information about Admiral Nimitz and his role in the Pacific theatre of war during World War II. The third building consists of outdoor reenactments that demonstrate the most significant battles of the pacific theatre. You can also find a Japanese Garden of Peace that will allow you to reflect upon the costs of war as you examine the beauty of the flowers.

9. Camping at the Enchanted Rock

After spending a day exploring the charming main street of Fredericksburg, you can take a short trip to the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. This area offers an outstanding 2.5 square miles of land where you can camp, picnic, and rock climb. Enchanted Rock is the perfect place for the outdoor junkies that prefer to sleep under the stars then beneath the roof of a bed and breakfast.

10. Enjoy the Local Bed & Breakfasts

Bed and Breakfasts are an iconic aspect of any small town in America, and the ones located in Fredericksburg are among the best. Living and working in a city can be stressful at times. Driving up to a bed and breakfast for the weekend will allow you to shake that stress and replace it with the comforts of southern living. Sleep in small cottages and allow their warmth to fill your senses. Indulge in southern delicacies that will leave you satisfied for days to come. When you return home, you will enjoy a renewed sense of relaxation and comfort.

11. St. Mary’s Catholic Church

The German settlers that first founded Fredericksburg left more than just their taste in food. These settlers also brought the practice known as the painted church. The German settlers would paint their churches in vibrant colors that gave them a now-iconic look. Saint Mary’s Catholic Church is the best example of the painted church style that remains in Fredericksburg. With dynamic stain glass windows and painting, Saint Mary’s Catholic Church is one of the most popular spots in all of Fredericksburg.

Small Town Living is Good for the Soul 

With the modern hustle and bustle of today's society, it can be easy for stress and anxiety to take control of your life. Fredericksburg, Texas is an ideal place to release your tension. Stroll down the bustling main street. Allow yourself to be swept away with all the sounds and smells of the stores and restaurants. Let the aromas of fresh herbs and peaches from the herb farm take you back to simpler times. Whatever you require to relax, Fredricksburg is ready to provide what you need.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

7 Best Stargazing Spots in and Around Texas Hill Country

7 Best Stargazing Spots in and around Texas Hill Country

Have you ever had that moment where you are taking a break from your normal everyday life and you look up and notice the bright stars overhead? Relaxation and amazement issues down from those celestial sentinels. What's more, you can see them because you aren’t surrounded by all the light pollution and noise of the city.

It is a blissful experience to sit and stargaze. So, where do you go to stargaze? First step, away from the city. While you might be able to climb a rooftop, the noises and glares from city lights disturb the essence of stargazing. The Texas Hill Country and its surrounding areas are the perfect places to go as they offer endless opportunities to see stars and the Milky Way. This list is a compilation of the 7 Best Stargazing Spots in and around the Texas Hill Country.

1. Hill Country State Natural Area

Surrounded by scenic hills and rugged terrain the Hill Country State Natural Area is a preserved area that is left to be in its natural state. This area consists of 5,369 acres and is located 10 miles southwest of Bandera, TX. With most of the area filled with Texas live oak, Ashe juniper, and over 450 plant species, you will be overwhelmed with the beauty this area offers. Utilize the 40-miles of trails throughout for hiking, biking, or horseback riding. The area is open daily and the entrance fee for adults is $6 and free for children. Primitive camping is allowed but only within the designated campsites and fire must be within the fire rings. Stay warm and listen to nature's sounds while you stargaze.

2. Enchanted Rock

Popular among tourists and locals, the Enchanted Rock can provide you with the chance to star gaze upon a large pink-granite mountain. Located near Fredericksburg, TX, Enchanted Rock sits on 640 acres of serene desert beauty. Get there early enough to see where you are climbing because the trails can be windy, and you'll want to see clearly. Once you reach the top there is plenty of space to sit around and watch the stars with family and friends.

There can be limited parking here as the area fills up fast with visitors. Access fees are $7 per day for ages 13 and older. If you wish to camp, there is a primitive fee of $14 per night or campsites with water for $18 per night. If you get to this mystical wonder before sundown, enjoy other activities such as geocaching, bird sightings, and nature studies.

Person Sitting Beneath Starry Sky

3. Blanco State Park

Just one hour from Austin and San Antonio, Blanco State Park boasts a one mile stretch along the Blanco River with a span of 104.6 acres. After a fun-filled day of swimming, boating, fishing, and playing, you and your friends or family can sit around and look at the night sky. Blanco State Park has open spaces perfect for stargazing. Pair that with the reflection of the moon shimmering against the river and you have the perfect spot for photo ops or just relaxing.

While Blanco State Park hugs the river, the entrance fee to enjoy the beauty is $5/ daily for ages 13 and older. Camping is limited and ranges from $20–$25/ nightly. Only campsites with electricity are available here. Bring your lantern and enjoy the night!

silhouette of woman using telescope

4. Wimberley, TX

This small river-front town is the perfect place to enjoy a day shopping oddity stores and enjoying the true essence of Texas. This small town has minimal lighting, making it the perfect place to just look up and enjoy the stars. Wimberley is surrounded by many trails, so while you await the night sky, take a walk and find an isolated spot to take beautiful pictures. The great part about Wimberley is that it is located only 28 miles outside of Austin, so it is just a short trip from city life to quiet smalltown serenity.

silhouette of tree beneath dusky sky

5. Inks Lake State Park

Considered to be one of Hill Country’s many hidden gems, Inks Lake State Park is home to 1,200 acres. With activities like boating, scuba diving, hiking, camping, and fishing, this area is a great spot to relax and enjoy what nature has to offer. You can find Inks Lake one hour northwest of Austin. Whether you are on the water or on a hiking trail, there are endless amounts of opportunities to stargaze here.

With nearly 200 camping sites and 22 cabins, there is no reason not to come to Inks Lake State Park. Fees for camping range between $11 and $23 per night. Entrance fees to the park are $6 for ages 13 and older. Take a breather from city life and enjoy a night trip on the lake to see the bright stars.

water and vegetation beneath stars

6. Dripping Springs, TX

This city is another non-park option because it is home to beautiful scenery and hosts the Texas Night Sky Festival every year at the Dripping Springs Ranch Park. This event is free and widely popular in Hill Country. During this event in March, you can learn pro photo tips, enjoy music, food, and most importantly the stars. As a special treat, event-goers will get to hear stories about stars from indigenous cultures and expert speakers. This city is not to be missed!

Stony mount beneath stars

7. Lost Maples State Natural Area

Whether you want to attend a stargazing party or do it yourself, starry nights at Lost Maples State Natural Area is the place to go. With tools like Star Map, Sun and Moon Data, Spot the Space Station, TPWD Dark Skies Program, you can ensure you will have the best stargazing experience. Lost Maples State Natural Area, located in Vanderpool, is home to 2,906 acres surrounded by bigtooth maples and steep canyon walls. Hike to high points to capture the best views of the night sky. Lost Maples has an entrance fee of $6 per day for ages 13 and older. Enjoy camping, fishing, hiking, and bird watching prior to your night experience.

stars and stone mountains

The Texas Hill Country and surrounding areas are full of beautiful hidden gems. Some you'll need to search for and others, you just need to lookup. From pink-granite rock to tranquil waterfronts you can rest easy knowing that any one of these 7 Best Stargazing Spots in the Texas Hill Country will leave you wanting to come to the vast open land more often.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The 8 Best Breweries in Texas Hill Country

The 8 Best Breweries in Texas Hill Country blog cover image

The Texas Hill Country is a place of hidden gems, beauty, and infinite land. Among these acres of bluebonnets, serene deserts, various swimming holes, and rolling hills you can find local hand-crafted beer. Texas provides rich soil for farmers to produce the best vegetation that gets sourced by experienced brewers. These natural flavors are added to the brewing process and delivered to you in a cold glass or bottle. As you venture through these different hidden gems, stop into one of these 8 Best Breweries in the Texas Hill Country and enjoy time with family, friends, and hard-working brewers!

1. Boerne Brewery

Pronounced "bur-nee", this brewery is in Boerne, and is home to German heritage. This is a small-town brewery and prefers to keep it that way. One of the featured brews - Denim-Hosen, contains 5.5% ABV. This brew is known for its sweet tang and smooth finish. Using traditional German brewing techniques, Boerne Brewery adds a Texas twist to bring you a delicious craft beer. Some other brews you can find here include English ESB, American IPA, English old Ale, and some seasonal crafts.

large brass tanks with ladders for brewing

2. Barrow Brewing Company

As Bell County’s first microbrewery, Barrow Brewing Company opened its doors in 2014 at the Silver Spur Theater in historic Salado. Quality, sustainability, and community is the focus at Barrow Brewing, and they serve only the highest quality, well-crafted beer.  Using simple recipes and natural flavors, you can find brews like Mystery of the Deep IPA, Saison, Hefeweizen, Lager, and White Ale. The great part about Barrow Brewing Company is the small-town attitude that comes with it. They love working with other businesses and have found their home amongst their neighbors.

four small glasses of various beers

3. Bear King Brewing Company

Marble Falls, Texas is home to Bear King Brewing Co. Even though this brewery just opened in 2019, it serves only the best quality of crafted beer and delicious family food in their space of 5,500 sq. ft.  While you snack on their Embellished Nachos, sip on one of the many featured brews including Blonde Ale, India Pale Ale, Porter, Hefeweizen, and Black IPA. With ABV percentages between 5.2 and 6.8, you can enjoy quality time with friends and family without feeling bogged down.

diners at the end of a row of brewing tanks

4. Family Business Beer Co.

Even though you may catch Jensen Ackles here, there is nothing supernatural about this brewery. This family-owned business in Dripping Springs is made up of a team of amazing owners who work together to provide customers an exceptional brew 15-acres of land. This brewery has an abundance of craft beers like a German Pilsner, Single-Hop Cryo-Mosaic IPA, Rye IPA, and English Ale - to name a few. Relax in the shaded trees after grabbing a bite from the food truck. The best part about the Family Business Beer Co. is that they really are family-oriented. The land includes a playground for kiddos and accommodates pets.

stacks of silver kegs

5. Bluebonnet Beer Company

Located in Round Rock, Bluebonnet Beer Company has been serving up quality craft beer since 2013. The owner holds a degree in biology and brewing, so you can rest easy knowing the brew is well-crafted. You can find their bottled products in stores around the Round Rock area. The brews available year-round are Cream Ale, Texas Pecan Brown Ale, and American IPA. Some of their seasonal brews include Bavarian Helles, Bluebonnet Wit, Nitro Milk Stout, and Orange Blossom Honey Pale Ale. The owner’s mission is to provide flavorful, award-winning craft beers to customers and to create friendships with the community along the way.

visitors enjoying the grounds around the brewery

6. Jester King Brewery

This authentic farmhouse brewery located in Austin sits on 58 acres of land and provides delicious craft beer. With mixed culture beer, Jester King Brewery makes 100% spontaneously fermented beer. Some of the featured brews include Pattinson Porter, Rare Corals, Grim Harvest, Spiral Aged Ale, and English Mild Ale. Jester King offers fermented beer from stainless steel tanks in bottles and includes ale, imperial stout, and cedar-aged ale - to name a few. Barrel-aged beers are also a large part of Jester King Brewery and are made available in bottles. If you are looking for an abundance of craft brew, then look no further than Jester King Brewery.

the yellow exterior and coverings of Save The World Brewing Co

7. Save The World Brewing Company

Also located in Marble Falls, Save The World Brewing Company is owned by a husband and wife duo that left their careers as doctors to open a philanthropic brewery instead. The owners - Dave and Quynh - give all profits away to save lives! Dave has over 15 years of experience brewing, and together they have worked hard to craft delicious brews. Some of their crafted brews include Saison Ale, Belgian Style Pale Ale, and Rex Servus Grisette - with the highest ABV percentage being 7.2. All their brews are naturally carbonated, unpasteurized, and unfiltered. With all of that said, buy a beer and save a life.

wooden tables and barrels in the Vista brewing dining room

8. Vista Brewing

This 21-acre property in Driftwood boasts a storybook brewery complete with a tasting room, eatery, and beekeeping. With European style crafting, Vista Brewing features brews such as Rye Lager, American Lager, Wit, and Hefeweizen.  You can also enjoy fermented beer from the barrel or bottles of crafted beer to go. Although, coming to this brewery, you’re going to want to pull up a chair and stay awhile. Vista Brewing prides itself on having a fresh beer, made with flavorful homegrown produce. The bees on the property play an important role when it comes to keeping their land fruitful. Vista Brewing continues to grow and will treat you like family.

Sipping on a high-quality crafted beer is delightful. Knowing that experienced brewers take the time and energy to put in natural high-quality flavors, just makes the experience even more enjoyable. From the stainless-steel tanks on dozens of acres to the crafts of a celebrity beer, and to the production of aged barrel beer made from busy bees, these 8 Best Breweries in Texas Hill Country will be instilled in your memories.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Enchanted Rock is a mystical part of Texas Hill Country

Enchanted Rock is a mystical part of Texas Hill Country blog cover image

The hidden Hill Country in Texas is full of places that look as if they are straight out of a storybook. You might have seen other hidden gems such as the Hamilton Pool which a natural watering hole in a box-like depression. There is a large waterfall that plunges into the beautiful limestone patterns and bioluminescent algae. Among gorgeous places like the Hamilton Pool, there is a place that sits on top of a rock - while the only water that is nearby are some ponds - this rock is just as mystical. Enchanted Rock located in Gillespie County is considered by locals to be one of the most mystical and beautiful landmarks. Enchanted Rock made a name for itself because of its tall pink-granite dome that overlooks a serene valley. Enchanted Rock is a great place to hike, stargaze, rock climb, geocache, study nature, and bird-watch. There is no swimming or riding bikes allowed. The park only costs $7 per person ages 13 and older. Make this landmark a stopping point, even if you are just passing through.

the reflection of Enchanted Rock in nearby waters on an overcast day


For hundreds of years, Enchanted Rock has been thought of as a place of spiritual connection. Popular among the Apache and Comanche tribes, this spot has served as a spiritual place to host a person’s innermost thoughts, emotions, and wisdom.

The steep climb up to the summit of the rock is not the easiest. There is no definitive trail up to the summit once you get to the dome rocks edge, but there are a ton of spots to stop and be at peace with yourself. Be mindful as you will probably see a lot of other people trying to find inner peace.

swirling stars of a time-lapse photo looking towards Enchanted Rock from below

Getting to the Park

Enchanted Rock is located within Enchanted Rock State Park and is very popular amongst tourists and locals. If you get to the Park through the town of Llano, you will be overwhelmed with an old-time atmosphere that will set the mood for an enchanting adventure.

Even though Enchanted Rock is within a State Park, it can reach full capacity due to limited parking. If this happens, you will be given a pass to come back later in the day. The pass will serve as a guarantee for admittance.

There are signs everywhere warning about rattlesnakes. Be vigilant! If you happen to encounter a rattlesnake, don’t panic. Rattlesnakes pick up on vibrations so back away slowly - keeping several feet of distance - and go around the snake. If there are other hikers around you, be sure to let them know of the snake’s location.

a group of hikers moving towards the summit of Enchanted Rock

Climbing the Rock

At the base of Enchanted Rock, there are many picnic tables, trees, a creek, and photo-op spots. There are also a few trails to choose from - all of which seem family-friendly. The summit trail takes around 30 minutes one way if you are physically fit and do not stop to take pictures. The trails are steep and will get your heart pumping. Once you reach the top of Enchanted Rock though, it will all be worth it. Words really can’t capture the true beauty of the summit.

slabs of granite sliding off Enchanted Rock's west face

What is at the top of Enchanted Rock?

The top of Enchanted Rock lives up to its name. The pink granite rock is mystical in itself. Add on the beautiful view, and smell of fresh, crisp air - this place is the definition of serene. The top of Enchanted Rock also has small water ecosystems that tiny shrimp live in. Please be mindful of their ecosystems and only take pictures. The summit has a lot of area so you can ensure you will be able to have a little privacy while taking in the 360-degree view.

Looking down you will see the various trails that loop around the Rock and there is also a cave down one side. Be sure to check it out. On the West Face of Enchanted Rock are slabs of granite that have broken away from the summit. This happens when the base layers of the rock push the outer layers up and they crack and slide down the face of the Rock. They look frozen in place and are truly stunning.

a trio of hikers walking down the path away from Enchanted Rock

The Descent

Locals and other tourists recommend that you stay at least to watch the sunset over the valley. If you can’t stay to watch the sunset, come in the morning to watch the sunrise. The park closes at 10:00 pm so you have the option to stay late too. It is just as steep descending as it is going up. Hiking in the dark is especially dangerous because you can’t see your surroundings. You would really need to count on your other senses like hearing. More nocturnal animals are out and other animals like coyotes use this time of day to hunt. There is a campground around Enchanted Rock, but you can’t stay on the summit itself. Any time you go hiking, you should have an emergency bag packed that includes a flashlight.

With so many places to see in the Hill Country of Texas, Enchanted Rock should be on the list. With Fredericksburg, Llano, and Luckenbach as neighboring towns, there is a lot to see and do in this area. Fredericksburg is a great destination to stay the night and head over to Enchanted Rock as soon as you awaken. It is home to German pioneer settlers and has a rich history. Fredericksburg is a real treat. The park opens at 8 am, get there early and you can avoid having to come back due to full capacity.