Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Texas wildflower season is in full bloom

Bluebonnets and Indian paint brushes
decorate roadsides in Central Texas.
Plan your wildflower drive now:

This post has been updated for 2017.

As we approach the end of March wildflowers have really begun bursting into color on central Texas roadsides. The next two weeks should provide the best opportunities for seeing bluebonnets, red Indian paint brushes, and numerous varieties of pink, white, yellow, orange, and purple flowers that decorate the Hill Country landscape each spring.

The following information from past years is still valid if you plan to drive through bluebonnet territory. Be vigilant of traffic when stopping beside the road, and be mindful not to trespass on private property. Enjoy the sights, and don't forget your camera!

If you love wildflowers, now is the time to drive through the Texas Hill Country. Thanks to winter rains, bluebonnets are reaching their peak earlier than usual this year, although the striking red Indian paint brushes seem to be a bit later.  Roadsides and occasional fields are bursting with color, especially welcome after the drought of 2011 resulted in fewer and smaller flowers.  The next week will see an explosion of blooms, so get out there now!

Indian blanket
In past years, we have headed out from Austin for a wildflower drive, turning west on Hwy 71 towards Marble Falls. We stopped along the highway at several thick patches of bluebonnets—the perfect backdrop for photos of kids and dogs. Thanks to seeding by TXDOT, roadsides have sprouted with thick carpets of bluebonnets in many locations. Just be sure there’s ample space to pull off the road and take photos without trampling the flowers.

Bright orange claret cups decorated a roadside patch.
If you drive by Horseshoe Bay on FM 2147 there’s a long white wooden fence with bluebonnets in front which makes a lovely photo. A gorgeous patch of orange flowers, dotted with blue, pink, red, and purple caught our attention further on.  Plentiful bluebonnets lined the hilly, curvy Park Road 4, one of our favorite routes.  Several groups of bikers sped by, also enjoying this springtime ritual.  Later we traveled on FM 2341 near Burnet towards Canyon of the Eagles.


Bluebonnets and huisache daisies cover a roadside field.
If you get to Llano, there are reports of beautiful bluebonnet displays on Hwy 16 and south of Llano.  One person reported seeing a large field of prairie verbena near Johnson City on the south side of U.S. 290. Since we had been in Fredericksburg the day before, we didn’t take that route as we usually do. We also missed the old school yard at Prairie Mountain, generally filled with pink and yellow flowers, which we would have passed on our loop to Fredericksburg.

As usual, reported sightings say Willow City Loop is gorgeous. If you chose to drive the Loop, remember that it’s a private road through private property, and it’s against the law to trespass. Take care and leave the seasonal show for others to enjoy, too.


We couldn't resist posing among the bluebonnets!
Another area within day trip distance from Austin includes fields and roadsides around Brenham and Chappell Hill. If you head that way, be sure to stop for some Blue Bell ice cream in the city where it was created.

Photos by Beverly Burmeier


6 comments:

Sandy Nachlinger said...

I live in the Pacific Northwest now, but I'm a native Texan. I remember driving through East Texas every spring just to see the wildflowers blooming. I sure miss that! Thanks for the beautiful photos.

Beverly/Travel Maestro said...

Beverly, A Texas hill country tromp has been on my to-do list for a while. Now I'm sure I'd like to time it with the wildflowers blooming. Just beautiful! Thanks for sharing. - Beverly

Martha Moffett said...

Wonderful photographs,Beverly.
I used to be a traveler and travel writer, but alas, a bum ankle and a bum knee later, no more.
I don't have a blog, but put everything on my Web site, www.marthamoffett.com. Please visit.

Beverly Burmeier said...

You're welcome. The flowers were lovely this year.

Beverly Burmeier said...

This year bluebonnets bloomed earlier than usual. Generally plan a trip the first 2 weeks in April.

Beverly Burmeier said...

Hi, Martha, Looks like you keep busy writing. I'd love to have you subscribe to my blog (see above on right).