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Epic Texas Hill Country Road Trip – A Complete Guide and Itinerary

Epic Texas Hill Country Road Trip – A Complete Guide and Itinerary

Fancy a road trip? The Texas Hill Country has your answer. My Texas Hill Country road trip has a little something for everyone. Whether you want to jump into swimming holes, taste fine wines, craft beer, and spirits, or hike at beautiful State Parks – my guide has everything you need to know for an epic Texas Hill Country road trip.

The Texas Hill Country is vast. You can spend a full week in the region and only just scratch the surface. So, if you only have four days, use my guide at your leisure to find what works best for you. Choose from the many fun things to do in the Texas Hill Country and create your epic road trip.

Best Time to Take a Texas Hill Country Road Trip

The best time to take a Texas Hill Country Rod Trip is during the spring and the fall because the weather is perfect! Moreover, springtime brings beautiful wildflowers and bluebonnets along the road for a scenic drive. Surprisingly, you can also find a little fall foliage in the Texas Hill Country.

During the summer, Texas is very hot! However, the summertime is also a great time for a Texas Hill Country road trip because you can cool off in one of many swimming holes.

A river flowing through the Texas Hill Country.
Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash

Texas Hill Country Road Trip Itinerary

As a born and raised Texan, the Texas Hill Country is all about the smaller cities, State Parks, craft breweries, distilleries, wineries, and hidden gems that make this region special. This is why I will be focusing on all of the above in my Texas Hill Country road trip itinerary.

This 4-day Texas Hill Country road trip itinerary includes: chasing four waterfalls, hiking at three State Parks, exploring a cavern, swimming in natural pools, drinking wine, craft beer, and spirits, and more.

The most central location for this itinerary is Marble Falls. So I recommend finding a hotel in this city as your Texas Hill Country hub. Another fun option is to stay in an epic treehouse in the Texas Hill Country.

On the third day, I recommend checking out of your Marble Falls hotel and checking into a hotel in Fredericksburg. That way you can wake up and easily begin your day of wine-hopping in Fredericksburg!

Please remember to book and reserve your tickets for all of the parks and places below ahead of time.

Texas Hill Country Road Trip – Day 1

Colorado Bend State Park

Colorado Bend State Park is well known for its beautiful 70-foot Gorman Falls – a true Texas hidden gem. People travel near and far just to hike to this waterfall.

Gorman Falls, a 70-foot waterfall behind lush trees at Colorado Bend State Park.

Ideally, you want to save two hours to complete this hike and admire its rewarding scenery. The 3-mile hike to Gorman Falls is considered moderate because of the steep and slippery descent at the end of the trail. However, a majority of the hike is fairly easy because the trail is flat in a desert-esque setting.

Please note, due to the fragile ecosystem surrounding Gorman Falls, you will have to admire the waterfall from a distance. Nevertheless, it is an awe-aspiring waterfall that you would never imagine existed in the middle of the hill country.

I suggest taking your time in this majestic landscape with a small picnic lunch while admiring the landscape.

Longhorn Cavern State Park

After a long hike in the heat, cool off inside one of the most spectacular and cool (no pun intended) caves at Longhorn Cavern State Park. I have visited several caves in Texas and around the world – this cave is by far the BEST. No wonder why it is named the National Cave of Texas. Be prepared to be amazed and feel like you are on the set of an Indiana Jones movie.

Longhorn Cavern State Park has two different tours for guests to enjoy – a cavern walking tour and a wild cave tour. The cavern walking tour takes guests on an incredible 90-minute journey through several “rooms” of different geological features. Whereas, the wild cave tour takes guests on a 3-hour adventure deeper into the cavern by using special equipment to crawl through undeveloped areas.

Estimated driving time: Colorado Bend State Park → Longhorn Cavern State Park → Marble Falls = 1 hour and 36 minutes

If you have more time: Inks Lake State Park is another wonderful Texas State Park just a few minutes from Longhorn Cavern State Park.

Texas Hill Country Road Trip – Day 2

Krause Springs

Start your day fresh by making a big splash at Krause Springs’ crisp natural pool. I mean this literally because there is an epic rope swing! Additionally, it’s also advised to arrive early because as the day progresses it gets very busy here.

A natural pool with a waterfall all fed from a nearby spring at Krause Springs.

Krause Springs is a wonderful natural wonderland for several reasons. There is a beautiful butterfly garden, at least 32 springs that feed into a manmade pool, and a natural pool with a waterfall. The manmade pool is best-suited for families with young children, whereas the natural pool is more for advanced swimmers.

As you can see, there are so many fun things to do at Krause Springs, and it’s the perfect destination for all ages.

Iron Wolf Ranch & Distillery

Iron Wolf Ranch & Distillery is one of the best distilleries in the Texas Hill Countrybecause it has several different types of crafted spirits. From vodka, gin, rum, bourbon, or whiskey – Iron Wolf Ranch & Distillery has a drink for everyone.

Guests can enjoy a tasting tour which includes ALL of the spirits, order specialty made cocktails or both!

A mixed cocktail from Iron Wolf Ranch & Distillery with the Texas Hill Country in the backdrop.

Iron Wolf Ranch & Distillery is a great stop during a Texas Hill Country road trip because it’s family-friendly. As the name states, the property both a ranch AND a distillery. The ranch has a kid’s playground, Bocce ball, corn hole, washers, life-size “Bourbon Pong”, 9 hole PDGA disc golf course, fire pits, scenic hill country views, food trucks on-site, and a stage for live music.

So though you might visit for the crafted spirits, you will stay for the fun atmosphere.

Pedernales Falls State Park

Pedernales Falls State Park is another great place to swim and hike in the Texas Hill Country. The Pedernales River runs throughout the park cascading over slabs of limestone creating several little waterfalls and wading pools.

Visitors can enjoy scenic hiking trails throughout the park, but the one you cannot miss is the Pedernales Falls Trail. This trail will take you to one of the most beautiful overlooks of the river. One glance and you will quickly know why this park is named Pedernales Falls State Park.

After you break a sweat from your hike, cool off by swimming, wading, or tubing in the river at designated areas within the park.

Estimated driving time: Marble Falls → Krause Springs → Iron Wolf Ranch & Distillery → Pedernales State Park → Marble Falls = 1 hour and 48 minutes

Texas Hill Country Road Trip – Day 3

Hamilton Pool Preserve

A box canyon with a towering waterfall cascading into a pool. No Texas Hill Country road trip is complete with a trip to Hamilton Pool Preserve.
Photo by Thomas Brushel on Unsplash

Hamilton Pool Preserve is a Texas oasis. It is one of the best things to do in Dripping Springs and a popular destination in the Texas Hill Country. Rightfully so, it is a true natural wonderland.

Your adventure at Hamilton Pool Preserve begins with a quarter-mile hike on a narrow trail before arriving at paradise. Then you will feast your eyes upon a beautiful 50-foot waterfall plunging into a natural pool surrounded by a box canyon.

After you soak in the majestic waterfall and scenic views, swim in the crisp pool or enjoy a picnic. Please note, swimming at the pool is not always guaranteed!

Reservations are required to visit Hamilton Pool Reserve and they fill up quickly. So I highly recommend booking your reservation at Hamilton Pool Preserve as soon as possible. There are two time slots available per day – morning (9:00 am – 12:30 pm) and afternoon (2:00 pm – 5:30 pm).

Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center

Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center is a beautiful 76-acre preserve with both lush greenery and a savannah landscape. One step on this preserve and you will feel transported to another part of the world.

Guests can enjoy two different guided tours at Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center – the Uplands Trail or a Walk Through the Grotto. Both tours are wonderful and offer a unique experience.

The Uplands Trail is an opportunity to walk through a savannah landscape with wildlife sightings, bird watching, and expansive views of the Texas Hill Country. A Walk Through the Grotto is the most popular tour and provides guests with a breathtaking journey. A guide takes you through a  sheltered canyon to find a beautiful waterfall with a grotto pool below it. 

Jester King Brewery

Finish your day at one of the BEST breweries in Texas, Jester King Brewery. I recommend visiting Jester King Brewery before sunset, so you can enjoy a glass of beer with a delicious slice of pizza and gorgeous views.

A birdseye view of pizza topped with braised pork, mozzarella, Fresno chili salsa, cilantro, and tomatoes from Jester King Brewery in Austin, Texas.

Jester King Brewery sits on 165 acres of property, which includes craft beer production, nature trails, a farm, a restaurant, accommodations, an event hall, Texas Hill Country views, outdoor seating, and more. Needless to say, you might visit Jester King Brewery for the craft beer, but you will find yourself staying for much more.

So let’s talk beer. Jester King Brewery is by far one of the coolest craft breweries you will ever visit. They produce several different types of beer – culture IPAs, lagers, stouts, and spon. The beers are fermented in stainless steel tanks or oak barrels and are all mixed with a culture of native yeast and bacteria. Moreover, the spon beers are inspired by Belgian lambic beers and are 100% spontaneously fermented.

A cup of blueberry beer, bottle of spon beer, and a can of double IPA from Jester King Brewery - one of the best breweries to enjoy during a Texas Hill Country road trip.

Every beer produced at Jester King Brewery is unique. In fact, they have some of the craziest flavor combinations you could ever imagine, but they all work beautifully! Moreover, the master brewers are always working on something new. So the beer menu is always changing. What you find one weekend may not be there the next weekend.

Jester King Brewery is also one of the best kid-friendly breweries in Dripping Springs. Kids can explore the cool wooden fort, play in the open-fields, and hang out with the farm goats.

Estimated driving time: Marble Falls → Hamilton Pool Preserve → Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center → Jester King Brewery → Fredericksburg = 2 hours and 14 minutes

Texas Hill Country Road Trip – Day 4

Wine Hopping in Fredericksburg

On the last day, it is time to “wine” down by visiting some of the best wineries in Fredericksburg. Fredericksburg, Texas is the epicenter of the Texas Wine Country and the second-largest wine region in the nation! As one of the fastest wine regions in the nation, it is certainly a destination you cannot miss during your Texas Hill Country road trip.

When you wine-hop in Fredericksburg, you can do a self-guided tour by driving yourself or book a wine shuttle. A self-guided experience will allow you to pick and choose wineries you want to visit, whereas a wine shuttle has a route with specific winery stops.

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With over 50 wineries in Fredericksburg, it is hard to choose a handful to visit for one day. So I will share my favorite wineries and offer a variety of options for every palate.

A couple in a wine vineyard in Fredericksburg, Texas - one of the best destinations on a Texas Hill Country road trip.

Fiesta Winery

Fiesta Winery is one of my all-time favorite wineries in Fredericksburg. This fun winery has a lively atmosphere with live music and plenty of shaded outdoor seating. It is the perfect place to casually enjoy a full bottle of wine with family and friends.

Fiesta Winery is known for its sweet red and white wines, but also produce fantastic dry reds and whites, rose, sparkling, and dessert wines. 

My Favorite Wines: Skinny Dippin (absolute favorite!), Back Porch Sittin’, and Savannah Rose.

Grape Creek Winery

Grape Creek Winery is the first winery in Fredericksburg, Texas. It is also one of the largest with over 100 acres of land. Guests can enjoy a grand tour of the winery on the tram which also includes a wine tasting.

Moreover, Grape Creek Winery is one of the most beautiful wineries in Texas. When you enter the estate, you will immediately feel like you have left the Texas Hill Country and escaped to Tuscany, Italy.

My Favorite Wines: Cuvee Blanc, Rose of Malbec, Cabernet Blanc, and Grand Rouge.

The Wine Garage

If you love cars or have a man on this Texas Hill Country road trip, then this winery might be perfect. The Wine Garage is Texas’ best-kept secret because it is not only a winery but a classic car collection too.

A stemless glass of red wine with a Rat Rod classic car in the background at The Wine Garage in Fredericksburg, Texas.

So instead of sipping wine with outdoor views, you can sip wine next to a blue 1955 Ford Thunderbird or a yellow 1972 Volkswagon Van. Moreover, you can enjoy a guided tour inside the classic car collection with a progressive wine tasting. Throughout the tour, a guide will pair a glass of wine with a specific car, while also providing its history and significance. How cool is that?!?

My Favorite Wines: Rat Rod Rust Bucket Red, Apache Pick up Orange Mimosa, and Orange Muscat.

Estimated driving time: depends on how many wineries you visit!

If you have more time: enjoy a lovely hike or go stargazing at Enchanted State Park.

I hope you have enjoyed my guide on an epic Texas Hill Country road trip. Drive safe, and enjoy!