Thursday, September 6, 2018

10 Adventures in Texas Hill Country

10 adventures in Texas Hill Country blog cover image

At the crossroads of West, Central, and South Texas lies a beautiful destination known as Texas Hill Country. If you are a nature lover, then the Hill Country area should definitely be on your bucket list. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking, with plenty of adventurous activities and scenic areas waiting to be explored. Check out 10 incredible adventures you must have when visiting Texas’ Hidden Hill Country.

1. Climb to the Mesmerizing Gorman Falls

water falling down mossy rocks

While in Hill Country, be sure to head to Colorado Bend State Park. This park is made up of more than 5,000 acres of pure beauty, though one of the most sought-out parts is Gorman Falls. For those looking for a bit of adventure, taking this 1.5-mile hike is an absolute must. Be prepared for some steep and rocky walkways, though the beautiful mist coming off of the 60-foot high moss-covered falls is worth every step. Let the silence settle you as you drink in every moment of misty glory.

2. Catch the Sunset at Enchanted Rock

Enchanted Rock at sunset on an overcast day

If you’re looking to find sweeping views of the Hill Country, Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is your spot. For the adventurous at heart, you’ll be more than satisfied with the 11 miles of hiking trails. One of the best places arguably in all of Texas to catch a sunset is from the top of the ancient dome of Enchanted Rock. The half-mile climb to the top will be absolutely unforgettable, especially as the sky begins to change colors and the sun starts to set. Be sure to listen up, as legend has it that the rock will talk to you at night. Though the scientists believe it’s the sound of the granite shrinking and expanding from the varying temperatures, the Native American tribes believed it speaks because it has something to say.

3. Kayak Along the Medina River

Get ready for a day of water-bound fun as you kayak down the glistening Medina River. This is the perfect way to explore the towering green trees and crystal-clear water. Organize a kayaking or tubing trip through The Medina River Company to be taken with a guide, or rent a single kayak or tube to float along at your own pace. Both include shuttle rides to conveniently pick up and drop you off along the river.

4. Dive into Natural Pools

If you’re looking to dive right in, then there are plenty of options for you in Hill Country. Blue Hole, Hamilton Pool, Krause Springs, are just a few. The Blue Hole Swimming Area in Wimberley is the perfect place for a dip. Enjoy the pristine waters and beautiful surrounding ecosystems in a 126-acre park. The Hamilton Pool, located west of Austin, was formed when an underground river collapsed thousands of years ago. The 50-foot waterfall and stalactites are some of the most picturesque features. This protected habitat and preserve is more than 200 acres. Krause Springs, founded in the 1950’s is also west of Austin. This area boasts more than 30 springs, which are absolutely delightful and refreshing.

5. Soak in the Scenery from Farm Road 337 and Highway 16

Aside from using these roads to travel throughout the Hill Country area, you should certainly take a drive to soak in the scenery. Farm Road 337 winds its way through large hills and rock ledges. While the driver needs to keep their eyes peeled to the road ahead, passengers need to have their eyes glued to the windows. The scenery passing you will take your breath away. On Highway 16, you’ll be blown away by the ancient oaks and yucca plants scattered along the roadway. Take it easy on the winding roads, the slow pace will allow you to drive safely and enjoy the scenery throughout the way.

6. Frolic Through Lavender and Bluebonnet Fields

rows of lavender at sunset

Depending on the time of year you visit, there’s almost surely a field of flowers you’ll want to frolic through. In March & April, it’s the Bluebonnets, and the best way to find the most abundant locations for them is to stop by the area’s cafes and ask the locals. Beginning in mid-May, the scent of Lavender permeates throughout the area. If you’re visiting in June, you’ll definitely want to attend the Blanco Lavender Festival.

7. Stay in a Garden Cottage

various flowers and herbs growing outside of a cottage

At the Fredericksburg Herb Farm, stay in an adorable Sunday Haus Cottage. At this charming farm, indulge in a unique relaxing treatment with organic products at the 5,000-square foot Nature’s Spa. Feeling hungry? You won’t have to venture far from your cottage with the delicious three-meal-a-day Farm Haus Bistro, which uses the farm’s own ingredients to whip up tasty fare.

8. Go Peach Pickin’

One of the sweetest parts of Hill Country is its incredible farms and orchards like Marburger Orchard. Depending on the time of year, you can venture out to the orchards to pick fresh and juicy fruits. The crop seasons begin in March and run through August. While the farm is best known for its delectable peaches (which is the primary crop grown here), you can also pick strawberries, blackberries, and even summer vegetables. Talk about a sweet, healthy adventure to be had.

9. Gaze Up at the Stars

Just as the song indicates, “the stars at night being big and bright” in Texas. On a clear night, you’ll have one of the best vantage points from the Tres Lunas Resort. With little artificial light to cloud your vision or brighten the sky, detailed constellations and bright stars will make an appearance for your viewing pleasure.

10. Chow Down on BBQ & Pies

A trip to Texas, and especially Texas’ Hill Country, wouldn’t be complete without getting to chow down on some of the area’s best-known delicacies. Though the entire state is known for its dedication to good ‘ole BBQ, you haven’t tasted authentic Texas dishes without a trip to Cooper's Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que. As you pull up, your nostrils will be filled with the scent of mesquite and smoked meats, and it won’t be long before you’re going to town. Choose from brisket, sausage, ribs, cabrito (or get a bit of everything), with the comfort of southern sides like homemade coleslaw, potato salad, and more. Hill Country also has what’s considered the apple capital of Texas with its plethora of orchards in Medina. There’s nothing sweeter than a freshly baked apple pie in the heart of Hill Country.

If your soul speaks to the adventures listed here, then a trip to Texas’ Hidden Hill Country is an absolute necessity.