Wanderlist: Wildflower Heavens

Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine
To be published: April 2017

ken-flickr-texas-wildflowers
Photo by Ken

 

April is the best month to catch the statewide procession of blooming wildflowers and festivals. Between the showers and sunshine this month, take a trip beyond the highway pit stop to see these hot spots coming up roses.

Call these state parks or the Texas Department of Transportation’s Wildflower Hotline for current wildflower reports (1-800-452-9292).

 

INKS LAKE STATE PARK

The park is a stop on the Texas Hill Country Wildflower Trail that winds through Llano, Mason, Marble Falls, and Burnet. On Park Road 4 through the park, you’ll find blankets of bluebonnet laid across a pink granite backdrop. Follow Highway 29 15 minutes to Burnet, the official Bluebonnet Capital of Texas that holds an annual Bluebonnet Festival the second weekend of April.

 

LYNDON B. JOHNSON STATE PARK & HISTORIC SITE

Snap a photo of the Official Texas State Longhorn Herd or the historical dog-trot cabin in the midst of blazing fields of bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes, coreopsis, and firewheels at the park. Continue to Fredericksburg on Highway 290 to appreciate the inspiration behind Lady Bird Johnson’s Highway Beautification Act.

 

DAINGERFIELD STATE PARK

While bluebonnets cover Central Texas, East Texas is filled with flowering dogwoods where the Japanese cherry blossom of the South reaches its western-most range. In the park, walk the Rustling Leaves Interpretive Trail from Dogwood Campground Area around the lake; on your way in or out of the park, stop by the Hughes Springs-Avinger-Linden Wildflower Trails of Texas.

 

BENTSEN-RIO GRANDE VALLEY STATE PARK

Rainfall is sparse, so catch the spring showers in the valley—it brings a profusion of wildflowers, twisted rib cacti and flowering shrubs such as huisache. The lush valley fills with arches and waterfalls of flowering blackbrush, cenizo, and huisache. Walk the eight miles of footpath with observation decks or take the tram to breeze past the thorny-scrub subtropical jungle.

 

BIG BEND RANCH STATE PARK

Mild winter weather and abundant rain mean rocky canyons painted with yuccas, agave, hip-height Big Bend bluebonnet and scarlet-colored claret cups at the park. Showers of color creep up canyon walls, river corridors, and flat basins.  Follow the Rio Grande through the park on Highway 170 to see the best displays of color.


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