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Discover the Best of Texas Hill Country on This Ultimate Road Trip

Texas Hill Country is famous for its scenic landscapes, numerous vineyards and wineries, charming small towns and historic sites.

How amazing would it be to explore the highlights of the Hill Country on a single road trip?

Well now you can because we’ve created the ultimate Texas Hill Country road trip that showcases the best of the region.

This scenic adventure isn’t just a drive through the countryside – it feels like you’re driving into the soul of Texas.

From the rolling hills and vineyards to the rugged charm of cowboy culture, this road trip offers a variety of experiences that are as diverse as they are mesmerizing. 

From climbing the ancient Enchanted Rock to exploring the depths of mystic caves, each stop offers something unique.

Let’s hit the road and explore the best that the Texas Hill Country has to offer!

1. Colorado Bend State Park

Matthew Peoples / Flickr

Colorado Bend State Park is a must-visit spot on any Hill Country road trip in Texas. 

This beautiful park is located in Bend which you’ll find about two hours northwest of Austin. 

It’s a fantastic place for anyone who loves the outdoors as it offers a wide range of activities.

One of the biggest attractions at Colorado Bend State Park is Gorman Falls, a stunning 70-foot tall waterfall. 

The hike to Gorman Falls is about 1.5 miles one way, and it’s a bit rocky and steep at the end, but the view of the lush, green waterfall is definitely worth the effort. 

For those who love hiking, the park actually has over 35 miles of trails. 

These trails vary in difficulty, so whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, you’ll find a trail that’s right for you.

Fishing is another popular activity at Colorado Bend. You can fish in the Colorado River which runs through the entire park. 

Garry Jones / Flickr

The river is home to bass, catfish and sunfish, and the best part is, you don’t need a fishing license to fish from the shore in a state park!

Kayaking and canoeing are also great ways to explore the Colorado River at a slower pace. You can bring your own kayak or rent one nearby. 

Paddling along the river gives you a chance to enjoy the quiet and see the park from a different perspective.

Lars Plougmann / Flickr

For those looking for a bit more adventure, the park also offers guided cave tours. 

These tours take you into some of the park’s amazing caves where you can see unique rock formations and maybe even spot some wildlife like bats! 

The tours are really educational and teach you all about geology and the ecosystem of the caves.

2. Longhorn Cavern State Park

Steve FUNG / Flickr

Located just southwest of Burnet, about an hour and a half northwest of Austin, this park is not only a place of natural beauty but also steeped in fascinating history.

The main attraction at Longhorn Cavern State Park is the cavern itself. 

Created by the dissolving and cutting action of an ancient river, the cavern is a stunning underground landscape. 

Steve FUNG / Flickr

You can explore this natural wonder through a variety of guided tours offered by the park. 

The most popular tour is the Walking Tour which is suitable for most visitors. 

This tour takes you through the cavern’s beautifully lit chambers, where you’ll see incredible formations like stalactites, stalagmites and even some rare flowstones. 

The guides also share stories about the cavern’s history, including its time as a hideout for outlaws and a speakeasy during Prohibition.

For the more adventurous, the park also offers the Wild Cave Tour. 

This tour takes you off the paved path and into the more remote areas of the cavern. 

You’ll need to crawl and climb in some parts, so be prepared to get a little dirty, but the experience of seeing the untouched parts of the cavern is truly special.

Above ground, Longhorn Cavern State Park has a lot more to offer. 

The park’s historic buildings, which were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, are worth a visit. 

You can learn about the history of the area and the CCC’s work at the visitor center. 

The park also has several hiking trails. 

These trails are not very long but they offer beautiful views and a chance to stretch your legs in the fresh air.

3. Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center

Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center is a spectacular spot in the Texas Hill Country that you’ll want to include on your road trip. 

Located near Round Mountain, just a short drive from Austin, this 76-acre preserve is a great place for families and anyone interested in nature and conservation.

At Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center, you can join a guided tour that leads you to a stunning grotto and waterfall. 

This hidden gem is surrounded by lush greenery and towering canyon walls. 

The tour is not only a chance to see this beautiful spot but also to learn about the local plants and wildlife from the knowledgeable guides. 

They will teach you about the ecosystem and the importance of preserving natural habitats.

Besides the guided tours, Westcave also offers educational programs for kids and adults. 

Whether it’s a workshop on native plants or a bird-watching tour, there’s always something interesting to learn.

Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center is actually located close to another must-see natural attraction: Hamilton Pool Preserve. 

hamilton pool preserve

This nearby spot is famous for its beautiful natural pool and waterfall that was created thousands of years ago when the dome of an underground river collapsed. 

Hamilton Pool is just a 10-minute drive from Westcave making it easy to visit both places in one day.

At Hamilton Pool, you can swim in the clear, green waters or just enjoy the scenic beauty. 

hamilton pool

The pool is surrounded by massive slabs of limestone and is shaded by large trees so it’s a cool and refreshing stop during the hot Texas summers.

Remember, if you plan to swim, check online or call ahead before you go as swimming is sometimes restricted due to water conditions.

Both Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center and Hamilton Pool Preserve require reservations, especially during busy times like weekends and holidays, so be sure to plan ahead.

4. Pedernales Falls State Park

Located about an hour west of Austin, near Johnson City, this park offers a stunning display of nature’s beauty and a wide range of outdoor activities suitable for all ages.

The star attraction of the park is the Pedernales River, which flows over huge slabs of limestone, creating the beautiful Pedernales Falls. 

The falls area is a picturesque spot where you can see water cascading over rocks and falling into pools. 

You can admire the falls from a scenic overlook which is easily accessible and offers fantastic views. 

It’s important to note, though, swimming or wading in the falls area is not allowed due to the strong currents and sudden changes in water flow.

For those looking to cool off, there’s a designated swimming area downstream where the water is much calmer. 

Here, you can relax, swim and enjoy picnics on the riverbank. 

The clear, refreshing water makes it a perfect spot to spend a warm day.

Pedernales Falls State Park also boasts miles of hiking and biking trails. 

The Wolf Mountain Trail is a popular one. It’s a moderate hike that covers about 5.4 miles through hills and valleys with opportunities to spot wildlife and enjoy wildflowers during the spring.

Mountain bikers will find the Juniper Ridge Trail exciting as it provides a technical, rocky ride through the backcountry areas of the park. It’s only suitable for experienced riders.

For those interested in bird watching, the park is a haven with its diverse ecosystem hosting a variety of birds and wildlife. 

The Bird Blind near the camping area is a great spot to quietly observe and photograph birds.

Camping is another popular activity in Pedernales Falls State Park with numerous sites available for tents and RVs. 

5. Wimberley

Wimberley is a charming small town located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, making it a perfect stop on any road trip through the area. 

Located about an hour southwest of Austin and an hour northeast of San Antonio, Wimberley offers a blend of natural beauty, art and relaxing activities that appeal to everyone.

One of the top things to do in Wimberley is visiting Blue Hole Regional Park which is renowned for its stunning swimming hole. 

Erik Weibust / Flickr

Surrounded by old cypress trees with sprawling roots, the Blue Hole is one of the best swimming spots in Texas, especially during the hot summer months. 

For those who enjoy shopping and browsing local artwork, Wimberley’s town square features a variety of boutiques, art galleries and quaint shops. 

Here, you can find everything from handmade jewelry and crafts to fine art and antiques. 

annaspies / Flickr

The first Saturday of each month, from March through December, the town hosts Wimberley Market Days, the largest outdoor market in the Hill Country. 

It features over 490 booths selling everything from crafts and clothes to plants and home decor.

Another highlight is The Cypress Creek Nature Trail which offers a peaceful walk along Cypress Creek, leading to some of the most beautiful parts of the town, including a small fairy trail.

Middleton Brewing is a must-visit for craft beer enthusiasts. 

This microbrewery specializes in Belgian, British and American-style beers, all crafted on-site, and offers a rooftop deck with views of the Hill Country.

6. Hinman Island Park

Hinman Island Park is a delightful small park located in New Braunfels, right in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. 

This park, located by the Comal River and the entrance to the famous Tube Chute, is a great spot for anyone looking to enjoy the outdoors and cool off in the Texas heat.

One of the main draws of Hinman Island Park is the Comal River itself which provides the perfect conditions for tubing. 

You can bring your own tube or rent one nearby, then float down the river for a relaxing and refreshing experience. 

The river’s clear, spring-fed waters stay cool all year round so it’s the perfect place to escape from the summer sun.

Besides tubing, Hinman Island Park offers plenty of other activities. 

There are picnic areas throughout the park where you can set up for the day with a picnic lunch and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. 

These spots are equipped with tables and grills which makes it super easy to cook and dine outdoors.

For those who enjoy swimming, the park has designated swimming areas in the river so you can swim safely away from the tubing lanes. 

Hinman Island Park is also a great place for walking and enjoying nature. 

There are paved paths winding through the park that are lined with trees providing plenty of shade.

Additionally, the park features volleyball courts where you can enjoy a game with friends or family.

For convenience, Hinman Island Park also has restrooms and changing facilities so it’s easy to spend the whole day here!

7. Bandera

Bandera, often called the “Cowboy Capital of the World”, is a small town with a big personality located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. 

About an hour northwest of San Antonio, Bandera is the perfect destination for anyone interested in experiencing true cowboy culture mixed with natural beauty.

One of the top attractions in Bandera is horseback riding. 

The town is surrounded by ranches where visitors can saddle up and ride through the scenic landscapes of the Hill Country. 

These guided rides often take you across creeks, along wooded trails and through open pastures, giving you a real feel for the cowboy lifestyle. 

Ranches like the Dixie Dude Ranch and the Mayan Dude Ranch offer not only horseback riding but also a full cowboy experience with entertainment, campfires and hearty meals.

Bandera City Park is another great spot to visit while in town. 

Located along the Medina River, this park is a lovely place for a picnic, a swim or just relaxing under the shady trees. 

The river provides a refreshing spot for swimming and tubing and there are plenty of picnic tables and grills for a fun family cookout. 

The park also has a playground for kids and walking paths for a leisurely stroll.

Shopping in Bandera is a unique experience as the town features a variety of shops selling Western wear, handmade leather goods and rustic furniture. 

You can stroll through the historic Main Street to find souvenirs that capture the spirit of the Old West.

Bandera also hosts various events throughout the year that showcase its cowboy heritage including rodeos, horse races and live country music nights. 

For those interested in history, the Frontier Times Museum offers a look into the past with its collections of pioneer and Native American artifacts, as well as exhibits on the history of rodeo and cowboy life.

8. Cave Without A Name

Neal Schneider / Flickr

Cave Without A Name is a fascinating natural attraction located near Boerne in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. 

This hidden gem is about an hour’s drive north of San Antonio, making it an ideal stop on a road trip through this scenic part of Texas.

Cave Without A Name is known for its stunning underground formations. 

Neal Schneider / Flickr

The cave was named through a contest where a young boy suggested that the cave was too beautiful to have a name and the name stuck. 

Visitors to the cave can explore six major rooms filled with spectacular stalactites, stalagmites, delicate soda straws, flowstones and impressive rock columns. 

Guided tours are available and are the best way to experience Cave Without A Name. 

These tours are educational and fun, suitable for all ages and last about an hour. 

The guides are knowledgeable and explain the geological processes that created the cave over millions of years. 

They also share stories about the cave’s history, including how it was discovered and opened to the public.

The temperature inside the cave remains at a constant 66 degrees Fahrenheit, making it a cool escape from the Texas heat, especially during the summer. 

The paths inside are well-maintained with handrails and steps in steeper sections so it’s accessible for most visitors.

Outside the cave, there’s a scenic park area where visitors can picnic or hike on nature trails. 

The trails offer a chance to explore the Texas Hill Country’s flora and fauna and enjoy the peaceful natural surroundings.

9. Fredericksburg

Fredericksburg is a vibrant town, well-known for its unique German heritage, charming architecture and thriving wine industry. 

Located about an hour and a half west of Austin and north of San Antonio, Fredericksburg is a popular destination for those looking to enjoy good food and great wine.

One of the main attractions in Fredericksburg is its wineries. 

LunchWithaLens / Flickr

The town is part of Texas Wine Country, and there are dozens of wineries and vineyards in and around Fredericksburg that offer tastings, tours and beautiful views. 

Some specific wineries you might consider visiting include:

Grape Creek Vineyards

Cee McKane / Flickr

This winery feels like a slice of Tuscany in Texas. 

They offer guided tours that explain the winemaking process and tastings where you can try their award-winning wines. 

The vineyard also has a lovely Italian-style patio where you can enjoy a glass of wine and take in the scenic views.

Becker Vineyards

Nan Palmero / Flickr

Known for its beautiful lavender fields and fine wines, Becker Vineyards offers a cozy tasting room and the chance to explore the grounds, which include a lavender farm. 

Their events calendar is packed with fun activities like lavender festivals and live music events.

Pedernales Cellars

Michael Welch / Flickr

Specializing in Spanish and Rhone-style wines, Pedernales Cellars prides itself on its sustainable winemaking practices.

It also offers a deck with stunning views of the Hill Country which are perfect for enjoying the sunset while sipping their signature Tempranillo.

Aside from wine, Fredericksburg has a charming downtown area with shops, restaurants and boutiques that showcase its German heritage. 

sheffieldb / Flickr

You can shop for traditional German goods, local crafts and antiques. 

The town is also famous for its authentic German cuisine so be sure to try some schnitzel or bratwurst at a local restaurant.

Fredericksburg is rich in history with several museums that tell the story of the area. 

The National Museum of the Pacific War is a must-visit and offers an in-depth look at World War II in the Pacific. 

The Pioneer Museum also gives insights into the lives of the early settlers in the region.

Fredericksburg also hosts a variety of festivals throughout the year including Oktoberfest which celebrates the town’s German roots.

10. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is located about 17 miles north of Fredericksburg and 95 miles northwest of Austin. 

This park is famous for its massive pink granite dome, Enchanted Rock, which is one of the largest rock formations of its kind in the United States. 

It’s a popular spot for visitors looking to experience the natural beauty and unique geology of the Texas Hill Country.

The rock itself is considered sacred by Native American tribes who believed it had magical powers. 

One of the main activities at Enchanted Rock is hiking. 

The Summit Trail is a must-do – it’s a moderately challenging hike that takes you to the top of the giant rock. 

The trail is about 1.5 miles round trip and it offers incredible 360-degree views of the surrounding Hill Country from the top. 

Besides the Summit Trail, there are several other hiking trails around the park that offer different views and experiences. 

The Loop Trail is an easier option that circles around the base of Enchanted Rock, covering about 4.6 miles. 

It’s great for seeing local wildlife, wildflowers (especially in spring) and smaller rock formations.

Rock climbing is another popular activity at Enchanted Rock. 

Climbers from all over come to tackle the various climbing routes available on the rock’s face. 

There are routes suitable for beginners as well as challenges for more experienced climbers. 

Enchanted Rock is also a fantastic place for stargazing. 

The park is recognized as an International Dark Sky Park which means it has an exceptionally clear view of the night sky with minimal light pollution. 

On clear nights, visitors can see countless stars, planets and even the Milky Way.

The park is also home to a variety of plants and animals unique to this area of Texas.

Greg Carley / Flickr

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area does not offer camping directly on the rock but does have a campground nearby with sites for tents and RVs, though there are no hookups. 

It’s a popular park, especially on weekends and holidays, so making reservations for camping or even day visits is recommended to ensure entry.

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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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