The Best Places in Central Texas to See Fall Foliage


Texas isn’t exactly New England when it comes to turning trees. Even so, there are still some absolutely breathtaking places for experiencing the fall colors of Central Texas – just a day or weekend trip away from Kyle.

One such area is the Lost Maples State Natural Area in Fredericksburg, about 86 miles northwest of San Antonio. Lost Maples is one of the most popular places for seeing the changing trees in the whole state, with over 200,000 visitors to the park a year. The natural area covers 2,000 acres and includes 11 miles of hiking trails, camping sites, and fishing in the Sabinal River.

Plum Creek, Kyle TX

Photo courtesy of the Lost Maples Facebook Page

The area predominately features big tooth maples, and in the past week or so, the trees have changed to display some bright colors along the main road. The drought of the past few years has been challenging for the trees in Central Texas, but the last cold front and the recent rain in the area has made a difference in the color show. The next color change this season will be the Red Oaks, which will turn in late November and early December. So bundle up and hop in the car this week for a beautiful day amid the trees, for a hike, or a picnic to catch the colors in their prime. Weekends, of course, are the most popular time for witnessing the colors so make the journey on a weekday to get the most out of the experience.

The Devils Backbone, Ranch Road 32 from Wimberley and Blanco, is another great place for a beautiful drive to see fall colors in Central Texas. The Devils Backbone is a winding journey through the hills and canyons of the Hill Country, and both sides of the road are riddled with trees, which seem to go on for miles and miles in either direction. And this time of year they are even more breathtaking than usual. Further west, the scenic drive from Camp Wood to Leakey is another excellent spot for witnessing fall colors. The route has been named one of the most scenic drives in Texas, with roads climbing some of the highest elevations in the Hill Country at over 2,300 feet, and numerous roadside lookouts that offer great views of reds, greens and golds.

Plum Creek, Kyle TX

The Devil’s Backbone, courtesy of Active Rain

So, this week before or after the Thanksgiving celebrations begin, pile the family into the car for a day trip out to the Hill Country to catch Central Texas trees in one of their most beautiful states.

 

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Fall Foliage and Wine in Central Texas


Plum Creek, Kyle Texas

The turning trees of Vermont and New Hampshire might have a little something on our Texas vegetation this time of year, but a stunning quilt of colors can also be found in the Lone Star State, not too far from Kyle. The bigtooth maples, sumacs, sycamores, chinaberries and cottonwood trees of the Central Texas Hill Country offer a show of color this time of year to help get you into the feeling of fall. And, while you’re out there absorbing the colors and smells of the season, why not check out some of the many Texas wineries out to the west?

From Austin to Fredericksburg and beyond, the Hill Country is fast becoming one of the most visited wine areas in the country, so, this fall, you can try some of the tastiest red wines in the state, or find the perfect gift for that wine aficionado on your list. In fact, the Texas Wine Trail is even offering a Holiday Wine Trail from November 30 through December 16th, which allows you to visit each of the 32 Hill Country wineries during the 17 days of the Tour to experience all the Texas Wine Country has to offer. Tickets to the self-guided Holiday Wine Trail are $60 for two and include one grapevine wreath to be picked up at the winery of your choice, one ornament from each winery visited, and a 15% discount on 3-bottle purchases from each winery.

If you’d rather take things on your own speed, or if you don’t have the desire to try EVERY winery to the west, here are some vineyard groupings for you to check out, depending on how far you want to travel.

Closest to Kyle are the wineries in Driftwood – the Duchman Family Winery, the Wimberley Valley Winery and the Driftwood Estate WineryWimberley Valley is closest to Kyle just 20 minutes west on FM 150, and Duchman and Driftwood Estate are a close jump away. Each winery’s tasting room is open daily, so any day a week you can sample some delicious vino. Just be sure to check their websites for hours.

Closer to Austin, Bell Springs Winery and Solaro Estate offer wine tastings and events in Dripping Springs, 40 minutes away from town to the northwest. Every Saturday this November and December, Bell Springs offers live music in the afternoons from local and regional singer / songwriters. Make a day of the excursion by enjoying some of the best BBQ in the region at The Salt Lick or walk around the trails and absorb the natural beauty of Hamilton Pool.

Even more wineries call the Hill Country home farther out west on 290 near Fredericksburg. For a full list of wineries in the area, check out this interactive map, which even offers a list of suggested day trips.

So whether you want to explore new wines and expand your palette, or if you’d rather pour a glass yourself and cuddle up by the fire (if it ever gets cold enough), wine is in full supply in Central Texas. Cheers!