Texas Hill Country Drives
Texans are accustomed to road tripping whether we like it or not. Texas is BIG! The entire landmass of New England PLUS New York State will fit inside Texas. Sometimes is feels like NOTHING is nearby.
That said, there are some beautiful sights within a short drive of Wimberley. And a few a little farther out. So, grab a bottle of water, pack a picnic (if that’s your thing), fill up the tank and let’s get driving!
Starting in Wimberley
Old No. 9 Highway
The Old No. 9 Highway ran primarily beside the San Antonio, Fredericksburg and Northern Railway. For this journey Old No. 9 Highway will be our western boundary. Along the way we see some interesting Texas sights.
Click for Google Driving Directions
Starting in Wimberley we head north on FM 2325 to Blanco, Texas where you can see the Blanco Courthouse, a fine example of Texas Limestone Courthouses. You’ll find one very similar in almost every old Texas town. While you’re in Blanco, Buggy Barn Museum and Pine Moore Town offer a chance to step back in time to the 1800s.
You may recognize some of the carriages from movies like Lonesome Dove, Hidalgo, True Grit and more.
Leaving Blanco, we head to Lindendale. Stop and take a walk through (or peek through the windows if they’re not open) a traditional Texas 1-room schoolhouse. Opened in the late 1800s this school was in use until the 1950s.
Continuing on, we head to one of the most photographed spots in Texas: Luckenbach. While the settlement of Luckenbach dates back to the 1840s when German immigrants made this area (and much of the Texas Hill Country) home, Luckenbach became a can’t-miss tourist destination when it was immortalized in Willie Nelson’s (a Texas Hill Country resident) Back to the Basics of Love.
Leaving Luckenbach we continue onto Grapetown Road and head to Grapetown, one of the stops on the Pinta Trail, an ancient route established in indigineous tribes and later explorers, soldiers and travelers. Grapetown is home to a 1-room schoolhouse built of stone and is marked by a Texas Historic Landmark. In Grapetown we turn south onto the western edge of our route: the Old No. 9 Highway
Schoolhouse image courtesy cmh2315fl
Leaving Grapetown we continue south toward San Antonio (remember the San Antonio, Fredericksburg and Northern Railway?) stopping at Old Tunnel State Park. The 920 foot tunnel was mostly dug by hand and completed in 1913. Today it is home to some 3 million bats. Enjoy a walk along the trail to admire the determination of those original German settlers.
Continuing south on Old No. 9 Highway feel free to stop at Block Creek Natural Area and take in the incredible wildlife, particularly birds, attracted by the clear water.
From Block Creek we turn East onto FM473 for our return to Wimberley. Along the way, you may want to stop at Hill Country Pottery, the home of the artist Brian Burkhardt. There’s also the idiosyncratic Kendalia Beach where you can view some admirable examples of, and perhaps build, sandcastles.
Image courtest Kendalia Beach
Shake the sand off and continue on FM473, turn right onto FM32 and head to Fischer, Texas home to one of the most beautiful 1-room-schoolhouse-turned-dancehall in the country at Fischer Dancehall. If you’re lucky it will be open. It might not look like much from the outside, but the architecture in the building will take your breath away.
Continuing on FM32 we finish our trip by crossing the Devil’s Backbone; a winding roadway on the top of a ridge. There are several spots to stop and take in the beautiful Texas Hill Country scenery.
Bandera & Kerrville
Our farthest-most destination for this drive is The Museum of Western Art celebrating the vibrant art showcasing the Western Heritage experience. Along the way we’ll stop to see a few off-the-beaten path spots.
Click for Google Driving Directions
Starting in Wimberley, we head south on RR12 taking a left onto FM32. FM32 takes us along the Devil’s Backbone a winding, scenic drive with incredible views of the Texas Hill Country. If you’re so inclined, you might stop at Tierra Prometida Alpacas (advance reservations) a working Alpaca ranch offering incredibly soft Alpaca wool (and some really cool Alpaca).
We’ll turn left on FM3424 and pay a visit to Canyon Lake Gorge, one of the newest geological features in the Texas Hill Country. Stretch your legs and see some dinosaur footprints and sea dweller fossils in the limestone. Taking a left on FM2673 will bring us to The Heritage Museum of the Texas Hill Country where you can see even more dinosaur footprints and fossils. A great place to let the kids do some exploring! Read more about the Texas Hill Country’s geological past.
Continuing on we’ll pass through the town of Boerne, founded as an offshoot of the Free Thinker Latin Settlements of liberal abolitionists who supported the right to basic human rights.
Boerne is home to the second-oldest limestone courthouse in Texas. Stop and have a look then continue on to the Bandera Natural History Museum with everything from early Spanish art to wildlife exhibits and even dinosaur replicas!
Once you’ve marveled at the dinosaur head out of Bandera on TX173 for a stop on the Great Western Cattle Trail at Bandera Pass, a narrow natural erosion in the limestone ridge used by indigenous tribes and later cattle ranchers as they drove their herds to Kansas.
Continue north on TX173 to The Museum of Western Art where for a nominal fee (Active duty and former military are free) you can see some beautiful examples of art celebrating the American West.
From Kerrville we take TX27 to FM473 to Comfort, Texas. In Comfort you can stop to see the Treue Der Union Monument. The monument is dedicated to the 35 German settlers killed by Confederate forces at the Battle of the Neuces because they opposed Texas’ plan to secede from the Union.
Leaving Comfort via FM473 for our return to Wimberley, you may want to stop at Hill Country Pottery, the home of the ceramic artist Brian Burkhardt. There’s also the idiosyncratic Kendalia Beach where you can view some admirable examples of, and perhaps build, sandcastles.
Shaking the sand off, continue on FM473 turning right onto FM32 and head to Fischer, Texas home to one of the most beautiful 1-room-schoolhouse-turned-dancehall in the country at Fischer Dancehall. It might not look like much from the outside, but the architecture inside will take your breath away.
Now we’re on the last leg of our adventure. Continue down Fischer Store road and turn right onto FM2325 for your glide back into Wimberley.