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9 Most SCENIC DRIVES In Texas That You Don’t Want To Miss 😍

I get it.

Sometimes you just want to hit the road and take in the scenery.

But where do you go?

Well, this post reveals 9 scenic drives you can do in Texas that you DON’T WANT TO MISS.

If you want top picks for certain categories then skip to the ‘Top Picks’ section at the end of the post (e.g. #8 is the top pick for Motorbikes).

1. Bluebonnet Trail (Spring Time)

Explore the Bluebonnet Trail during spring to see Texas like never before. 

ennis flower fields

This scenic route, especially vibrant around Ennis, offers around 40 miles of lush landscapes filled with the state flower, the bluebonnet. 

Starting in Ennis, you’ll drive through winding country roads dotted with historic farms and fences lined with vibrant wildflowers. 

Perfect for family trips or a peaceful solo drive, you can stop at designated areas to snap picturesque photos. 

The bluebonnet bloom tends to peak around the second or third week of April each year.

Best Time: April when the bluebonnets are in full bloom.

More Information:

2. Willow City Loop

The Willow City Loop is a stunning 13-mile drive found deep in the Texas Hill Country near Fredericksburg.

willow city loop texas

Here’s how you take the Willow City Loop:

  • Take 16N (Llano Street) out of Fredericksburg.
  • Proceed 13.3 miles, turn right on RR1323.
  • Continue 2.79 miles to Willow City, turn left onto Willow City Loop.
  • This is a PRIVATE ranch road that winds for 13 miles through rugged, awe inspiring Texas Hill Country and reconnects with 16.
  • Turn right back to Fredericksburg.

As you drive, you’ll be surrounded by rolling hills and sprawling fields that burst into a riot of colors with wildflowers in the spring. 

This route offers intimate views of small creeks, rugged limestone hills, and the rural charm of Texas ranchlands. 

Ideal in March and April for the best floral views, this loop is a must-do for nature lovers looking for a serene escape.

Best Time: Spring, particularly March and April, when the wildflowers are most vibrant.

More Information:

3. River Road (FM 170)

River Road, also known as FM 170, stretches about 120 miles along the Rio Grande from Terlingua to Presidio. 

This drive offers dramatic desert landscapes with the river winding beside you, framed by towering cliffs and vast, open skies. 

As you travel, you’ll pass through the historic ghost town of Lajitas and you can explore Big Bend Ranch State Park. 

river road fm 170

This route is perfect for adventurers interested in a longer drive with breathtaking views and a hint of the wild, untamed spirit of West Texas. 

If you can time your trip for the start of November don’t miss the famous Terlingua Chili Cook Off.

Make sure to bring plenty of water and enjoy the scenic stops along the way!

Best Time: Late fall to early spring (October to April) to avoid the extreme summer heat of West Texas.

4. Devil’s Backbone Loop

Imagine driving along the Devil’s Backbone, a thrilling 51-mile route that stretches between Wimberley and Blanco in the Texas Hill Country. 

To take this loop you’ll want to connect Farm Roads 12, 165, 2325, and 32 and U.S. Highway 281. 

This drive is famed for its panoramic views of rugged hills and expansive valleys. 

Along the way, you’ll encounter historic communities and potentially some local wildlife. 

Spring and fall are perfect times to experience the vibrant colors of nature here. 

Enjoy the ride and enjoy several pull-off spots which offer great photo opportunities. 

One great spot is Devil’s Backbone Overlook (on Farm Road 32 near Canyon Lake) where you get a panoramic view of the Texas Hill Country.

Don’t forget to visit the Devil’s Backbone Tavern for a quirky slice of local culture!

Best Time: Spring for wildflowers and fall for cooler temperatures and changing foliage.

More Information:

5. Big Bend Scenic Loop

Set out on this Big Bend Scenic Loop, a spectacular 200+ mile journey around the Big Bend National Park. 

chisos mountains

Start your adventure in Marathon, drive through the park, and circle back around. 

  1. Starting in Marathon, Texas – This is a popular gateway to Big Bend National Park.
  2. Driving south on US Highway 385 into the park, heading towards the Panther Junction Visitor Center, which is a good starting point for any visit.
  3. Continuing on the main park road which leads to various destinations within the park, such as Chisos Basin and Santa Elena Canyon.
  4. Taking the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive to see some of the park’s highlights, including the Santa Elena Canyon.
  5. Exiting the park through the west side near Terlingua, a unique ghost town worth visiting.
  6. Traveling north on State Route 118 to Alpine, then east on US 90 back to Marathon.

This extensive route takes you through changing landscapes of desert, mountains, and valleys, offering breathtaking views and several chances for hiking. 

The drive can take a full day, so start early and take your time enjoying the stops at various overlooks, the Chisos Mountains, and the Santa Elena Canyon. 

saint elena canyon texas

It’s a must-do for anyone wanting to soak in Texas’s wild beauty at its best.

Best Time: Spring (March to April) and fall (October to November) for mild weather and comfortable hiking conditions if you want to stop and hike.

🚨 If you want a shorter 30 mile drive that covers highlights of the Big Bend National Park just do the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive

6. Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive

Discover the stunning landscapes of Big Bend National Park on the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, a 30-mile route that showcases some of the park’s most incredible sights. 

Starting from the park headquarters at Panther Junction, this drive will take you past historic sites and breathtaking geological formations like Santa Elena Canyon and the Chisos Mountains. 

Along the way, stop at the Sotol Vista overlook for panoramic views and Tuff Canyon for a short hike. 

This drive is a must for anyone wanting to experience the best of Big Bend’s diverse landscapes in just a few hours.

Don’t forget you can camp out at Big Bend National Park too.

Best Time: Spring (March to April) and fall (October to November) for pleasant weather and great visibility.

More Information:

7. Palo Duro Canyon Loop

Drive the Palo Duro Canyon Loop, a scenic 16-mile route through the second-largest canyon in the United States, located in the Texas Panhandle. 

palo duro canyon

This loop inside Palo Duro Canyon State Park features stunning views of colorful rock formations, ancient mesas, and dramatic cliffs. 

Start your journey at the visitor center and wind your way down into the canyon floor, where you can spot wildlife and visit iconic landmarks like the Lighthouse rock formation. 

palo duro canyon

The park charges an entry fee, so bring cash and come prepared for a memorable day of exploration and photography.

Best Time: Spring and early fall to avoid the peak summer heat and enjoy the canyon’s beauty.

More Information:

8. Twisted Sisters (Three Sisters)

Gear up for a thrilling ride on the Twisted Sisters (also known as the Three Sisters), a famous trio of roads (Ranch Roads 335, 336, and 337) that weave through the Texas Hill Country. 

This challenging 100-mile loop starts and ends in Medina, offering hairpin turns, steep hills, and some of the most dramatic landscapes in Texas. 

As you cruise these curvy routes, you’ll be surrounded by rugged cliffs, sweeping vistas, and pristine rivers. 

Perfect for experienced drivers and motorcyclists looking for adventure, the Twisted Sisters is also dotted with small towns where you can grab a bite and chat with locals. 

Remember, this drive is best enjoyed at a leisurely pace to soak in all the beautiful views!

Best Time: Spring (March to May) for wildflowers and fall (September to November) for cooler riding conditions and beautiful autumn colors.

More Information:

9. Davis Mountains Scenic Loop

Explore the high elevations of West Texas on the Davis Mountains Scenic Loop, an impressive 75-mile route that circles through the Davis Mountains. 

Begin and end your drive in Fort Davis, a quaint town with a rich history. 

You’ll be taking TX-118 and TX-166.

  1. State Highway 118 – This highway runs north from Fort Davis, extending towards Kent.
  2. State Highway 166 – It completes the loop, stretching from where State Highway 118 turns north back to Fort Davis.
fort davis

As you curve along the road, you’ll pass through mountainous terrain, viewing some of Texas’s most diverse wildlife and landscapes. 

Don’t miss the McDonald Observatory, where you can stop for a star party and observe the night sky. 

davis mountains texas

Ideal for nature lovers and stargazers, this loop offers a cool retreat with stunning vistas at every turn.

Best Time: Summer (June to August) for cooler temperatures compared to the rest of Texas and clear nights for stargazing.

More Information:

Top Picks

Best for Wildflower Viewing 🌷

Bluebonnet Trail: Drive through fields of Texas’s state flower on this vibrant 40-mile route, especially spectacular around Ennis during spring.

Willow City Loop: Experience a kaleidoscope of wildflowers on this short 13-mile drive through the heart of Texas Hill Country.

Best for Mountain Views 🏔

Davis Mountains Scenic Loop: Explore the high elevations of West Texas on this 75-mile loop, featuring diverse wildlife and stunning mountain vistas.

Best for Desert Landscapes 🌵

River Road (FM 170): Follow the Rio Grande through breathtaking desert landscapes on this expansive 120-mile drive.

Big Bend Scenic Loop: A 250-mile journey that takes you through the desert, mountains, and valleys of Big Bend National Park.

Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive: This 30-mile route showcases Big Bend National Park’s historic sites and breathtaking geological formations.

Best Short Drives

Palo Duro Canyon Loop: A brief but stunning 16-mile drive through the colorful and dramatic landscapes of the second-largest canyon in the U.S.

Willow City Loop (if it’s spring): Experience a kaleidoscope of wildflowers on this short 13-mile drive through the heart of Texas Hill Country.

Best For Bikes 🏍

The Twisted Sisters: Experience exhilarating rides with sharp curves and dramatic elevation changes on this 100-mile loop through the stunning landscapes of the Texas Hill Country.

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Tom Jackson

Tom was born in San Antonio but spent most of his childhood in Dallas, he has lived in several cities across Texas and joined the team in 2024 to create travel guides on Texas.

Learn more about the Traveller's Elixir Team.

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