Predictions of an extra bountiful bluebonnet season in Central Texas, including Llano County, are coming true. In early March, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin announced that a dry summer and a wet fall would result in a robust wildflower season, which burst open in splendid blue and white in mid-March.
The summer drought killed off plants that would otherwise compete with the sturdier bluebonnets, center experts said. The flowers’ florets took over the abandoned habitat and have spread their bounty, just in time for wildflower road trips.
Wildflower season in Texas lasts through the spring into summer, moving from the blues of bluebonnets to the reds and yellows of Texas paintbrushes, Indian blankets, buttercups, and black-eyed Susans.
Pink evening primroses, winecups, and goldeneye phlox follow along soon after to add shades of pink and lavender to the mix.
Some of the best roads for wildflower sightseeing include Texas 29, which links the cities of Burnet and Llano; along Texas 71 from Llano to Horseshoe Bay; and Texas 16 through Llano toward Enchanted Rock.
Don’t forget the side trips. From Texas 29, take CR 2768 to Castell and then head east on the dips and turns of CR 152 to Llano. It’s an amazing drive.
Other favorite locations include cemeteries:
- Board Branch Cemetery — Texas 29 to RR 2231 in Lone Grove
- Honey Creek Cemetery — Texas 71 south from Llano to CR 308 (Click Road), west 1.4 miles to cemetery
- Baby Head Cemetery — Texas 16, about 9 miles north of Llano
One of the best and most popular (so expect some traffic on weekends) is the Willow City Loop scenic drive off of Texas 16 South. The loop covers 13 miles through private ranch land, so while it’s OK to pull over for photos, it’s not polite — or legal — to venture too far off the shoulder.
The loop is just over the Llano County line in Gillespie County, only about 35 miles south of the city of Llano. Enchanted Rock is to the west of Texas 16, Willow City Loop just opposite to the east.