Texas Hill Country Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

Texas Hill Country Wildflowers

Texas in springtime rivals some of the most beautiful natural environments in the world thanks to a collection of species more than 130 million years old—wildflowers. The diversity of soil types and climate variations across the state provide our native flowers an opportunity to thrive both in numbers and species, making for a splendid display along highways and open lands all over Texas.

The Hill Country Trail Region is particularly lucky, representing a convergence of different environmental and geographic characteristics, giving wildflowers a chance to show us their best. Fields of bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, and black-eyed Susan are among the many species that blanket the landscape every spring.

Lady Bird Johnson's Mission

The annual sight, once in decline by the mid-20th century, inspired Texas icon Lady Bird Johnson to devote her life to seeing the Texas wildflower landscape survive and thrive. Explaining her enthusiasm for the state’s spring display, Johnson said, "My special cause is to preserve the wildflowers and native plants that define the regions of our land – to encourage and promote their use in appropriate areas and thus help pass on to generations in waiting the quite joys and satisfactions I have known since my childhood."

Today, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center carries out that mission through conservation, education, and outreach. Texans also have Lady Bird to thank for the beautiful spring bloom covering the state’s highways and rural routes today. Johnson inspired a shift in the way we managed and maintained the natural ecosystem along our roadways in order to encourage native species.

Best Wildflower Viewing Routes

So where are the best wildflower viewing routes in the Hill Country Trail Region? Given the arbitrary patterns of seed dispersal and rainfall, they could be just about anywhere. Sometimes it’s just a matter of picking a route for a Sunday afternoon drive and seeing what’s in bloom.

Try the Highland Lakes Bluebonnet Trail, for instance, a series of scenic drives that wind around the Hill Country’s Highland Lakes district. Both the Lake Buchanan Chamber of Commerce and the Marble Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau offer maps. Depending on rainfall amounts, the Kerrville-Llano-Fredericksburg Trail offers real possibilities for seeing pastures inundated with the violet hues of horsemint and the brilliant scarlet of Indian paintbrush. A tour through Vanderpool, Mountain Home, and Ingram—known as the Western Kerr, Bandera & Real County Scenic Drive—offers a restive glide through some of the Hill Country’s prettiest countryside, a real treat especially when the season is in full bloom.

Wildflower viewing in the Hill Country Trail Region is really just that easy—pick a route, put the car in drive, and enjoy. Don’t forget the camera!

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