Skip to main content

Down the Bluebonnet Trail...

Mar 22, 2013 09:21AM ● Published by tina

Wandering along the backroads of Texas in search of the perfect field of bluebonnets is a beloved pastime during the spring

By Tina Auten, Staff Writer

This is the only place on earth bluebonnets grow

Once a year they come and go

At this old house here by the road...

Gulf Coast Highway, Nanci Griffith

Texas singer-songwriter Nanci Griffith immortalized the ephemeral quality of the beloved state flower, the Texas bluebonnet in her classic ballad, Gulf Coast Highway.  These perennial beauties stretch across the state along highways and in open fields during the early weeks of spring and depending on variables such as location, seasonal temperatures, and rainfall during the winter months, can be seen until early May. 

Traditionally, people loaded up in cars and trekked around the back roads of Texas in search of bluebonnet fields.  Over the years, it became a major event in Central Texas with bus tours, photographers, and vacationers all looking for the perfect bluebonnet field.  Websites, such as Texas Bluebonnet Sightings, have sprung up in recent years with reports to guide spectators in finding these glorious flowers across the state. 

Today, the Bluebonnet Trails are self-guided tours on lesser-travelled highways in and around various counties of Central Texas.  Some trails can be driven in a few short hours while others are longer and better suited for an entire weekend.  Local attractions, historical sites, festivals, and shopping are but a few of the enticements for those on the trail.

The Bluebonnet Trail – Austin

Starting in Austin, visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and brush up on the native plants of Texas.  To get on the Bluebonnet Trail, take Highway 183 North to FM 1431 West and enjoy the scenic rocky hill country.  The town of Marble Falls is the first stop on the trail and its claim to fame is Granite Mountain, one of the largest granite quarries in the world.  From Marble Falls, continue on FM 1431 to Kingsland, the site of the last Indian battle in the region. Continuing on FM 1431 to Highway 29 west, the town of Llano is the westernmost stop on the drive and features a festival during Bluebonnet Trail weekends.  From Llano head east on Highway 29 to Lake Buchanan and enjoy the miles of undeveloped shoreline, which boasts an abundance of color.  Near Lake Buchanan is the town of Burnet, which also hosts several Bluebonnet Trail events including 5K and 10K marathons for the energetic.  After Burnet, stay on Highway 29 through Leander and you’ll have made the circle back to Austin.  Without stops, the drive takes approximately three and a half hours.

The Bluebonnet Trail - Brenham

Approximately 90 miles east of Austin is Washington County.  Considered by many to be the birthplace of Texas, Washington County is also home to the city of Brenham, famous for its Blue Bell Ice Cream.  With a smaller bluebonnet trail of roughly 80 miles, this family-friendly destination offers self-guided tours to significant historical sites along with spectacular bluebonnet views.  And if the kids are good, there’s always a stop off at Blue Bell Creameries to see how Blue Bell ice cream is made.  Tours are 45 minutes in length and include a serving of delicious Blue Bell Ice Cream.

Bluebonnet Trails Closer to Home
For those who are short on time but still want to enjoy the azure fields, check out the festival and trails in Ennis, which is just over an hour’s drive from Southlake and southeast of Dallas.  In Parker County, the Shaw-Kemp Ranch south of Weatherford has hosted an annual open house on one April Saturday since 1960.  This year’s open house is scheduled for April 13 and welcomes families for picture taking and to enjoy the historic buildings on the property.  

Life+Leisure, Today texas wildflowers bluebonnet trails
  • Exhibit: Seeing is a Nervous Habit

    09/22/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    A retrospective of Kenda North’s work. The exhibit will be accompanied by a group exhibition of f...


  • Texas Coin Shows in Grapevine

    09/22/2017
    02:00PM — 06:00PM

    Add to your collection at the Texas Coin Shows on Sept. 22-24 at the Convention Center, 1209 S. M...


  • Fall Forest Painting

    09/22/2017
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    What: Fall Forest Textured Painting 10" x 10" acrylic painting including step by step instruction...


  • Maverick Home Volleyball Game

    09/22/2017
    06:30PM — 08:30PM

    Volleyball match being hosted at The College Park Center by the UT Arlington Mavericks Collegiate...


  • PARTY ON!

    09/22/2017
    07:00PM — 10:30PM

    Join us each Friday night for our weekly ballroom dance party! A great mix of ballroom, latin, c...


  • Stemless Wine Glass Help-Create

    09/23/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    Come and assist our glassblowers as they create your hand-blown Stemless Wine Glass, color design...


  • Exhibit: Seeing is a Nervous Habit

    09/23/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    A retrospective of Kenda North’s work. The exhibit will be accompanied by a group exhibition of f...


  • WHEELS & WARBIRDS

    09/23/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Cavanaugh Flight Museum brings the sights and sounds of history to life Saturday and Sunday, Sept...


  • SusieCakes - Fort Worth

    09/23/2017
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    Join us to celebrate the grand opening of our SusieCakes Fort Worth location! We will have face p...


  • Fort Worth-based Trinity River Distillery, the makers of the award-winning Texas Silver Star Whis...


  • Maverick Home Volleyball Game

    09/23/2017
    06:30PM — 08:30PM

    Volleyball match being hosted at The College Park Center by the UT Arlington Mavericks Collegiate...


  • The Boogies

    09/23/2017
    08:00PM — 09:30PM

    WHO: The Boogies, Disco Band WHAT: MasterWorks Concert Series FREE and OPE...


  • WHEELS & WARBIRDS

    09/24/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Cavanaugh Flight Museum brings the sights and sounds of history to life Saturday and Sunday, Sept...


  • Dallas Decorators Showhouse in Southlake

    09/24/2017
    10:30AM — 05:00PM

    We are in need of volunteer tour guides for morning and afternoon shifts beginning Tuesday, Septe...


  • Exhibit: Seeing is a Nervous Habit

    09/24/2017
    01:00PM — 05:00PM

    A retrospective of Kenda North’s work. The exhibit will be accompanied by a group exhibition of f...


  • WindSync

    09/24/2017
    06:00PM — 07:00PM

    Award winning, national touring chamber ensemble with a refreshing unique style


  • Exhibit: Seeing is a Nervous Habit

    09/28/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    A retrospective of Kenda North’s work. The exhibit will be accompanied by a group exhibition of f...


  • Dallas Decorators Showhouse in Southlake

    09/28/2017
    10:30AM — 05:00PM

    We are in need of volunteer tour guides for morning and afternoon shifts beginning Tuesday, Septe...


  • SusieCakes Grand Opening Happy Hour

    09/28/2017
    03:00PM — 07:30PM

    Enjoy the grand opening of SusieCakes in Fort Worth with a week of happy hour deals! Monday 9...


  • Dragon Pride 2017 Preview Party

    09/28/2017
    05:30PM — 07:30PM

    You're invited to attend our annual Dragon Pride Preview Party! Join the free festivities as we u...


  • Mama Won't Fly

    09/28/2017
    07:00PM

    On September 28th and 30th Carroll Senior High School theatre will present the outrageously hilar...


Read This Month's Digital Issue
STAY CONNECTED
FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM