When you travel through the heart of the Texas Hill Country in the Springtime there are some things you just come to expect: bright green pastures dotted with cattle and their tiny offspring, new growth bringing the vineyard vines back to life, the heavenly site of peach trees in full bloom… but, perhaps the most iconic of them all: the eye-catching, historically iconic, gorgeous: Texas bluebonnet. While you can find these brilliant beauties if you drive down just about any Texas road – back-country or major highway – the absolute best place to view them is in Fredericksburg’s very own backyard: the iconic 13-mile, scenic Willow City Loop.
A quick, 15-minute drive from downtown Fredericksburg on Highway
16 N towards Llano, the unincorporated town of Willow City boasts a
population of about 100 people. While not much is happening most of
the year, there is one establishment that caters to the massive influx of
visitors during the busy season: Harry’s on the Loop.
If one really wants the authentic “Willow City Loop experience”, then
stopping at the seasonal Harry’s for a bite to eat and a cold beer is an
From there, the entrance to the loop is just a couple of minutes away.
One thing that might surprise first-timers on the loop is how different
the terrain is from most of the Hill Country. Dense, shrubby, spruce-
like trees along with giant yuccas greet motorists at the beginning of
the loop only to fade away revealing steep cliffs and jaw-dropping
“The bluebonnet is to Texas what the shamrock is to Ireland, the
cherry blossom to Japan, the lily to France, the rose to England and
the tulip to Holland.” – Jack Maguire, Historian
In the distant fields, you don’t even have to look closely to see the
bright blue ocean of bluebonnets that foreshadows your drive down to
the valley below. You’ll spot bluebonnets everywhere on this drive:
popping up between boulders, across the rivers growing in colonies on sandy banks, on outcroppings and low water crossings. And yet, you’ll
never tire of them. When the blue finally starts to fade away towards
the end of the drive and the fields full of Mexican white poppies come
into play (a sight to see in and of itself) don’t be surprised when the
temptation comes to you to turn around and take it all in again. And
again. And again.
Disclaimer: These photos were taken from inside a vehicle or with
permission. Please respect private landowners wishes to stay on the
roads at all times and not get out of your vehicle.