Things to Do

Take the Scenic Route: Texas Hill Country’s Old No. 9 Highway

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Though the Texas Hill Country has unmatched scenery throughout the year, the cooler weather brings an especially good time to explore this part of the state. When driving around, don’t just stick to the main roads. Take the scenic route to see incredible vistas along lesser traveled byways. One of these scenic routes is Old No. 9 Highway. Discover another of the many special roads in the Hill Country that make even driving memorable.

Where to Find the Old No. 9 Highway Scenic Route

San Antonio Fredericksburg and Northern Railway tracks ran along what is today known as Old No 9 Highway

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Old No. 9 Highway distinguishes it from the two-lane modern road located elsewhere in Texas. Roughly following the route of the San Antonio, Fredericksburg, and Northern Railway, the Old No. 9 Highway goes by many names, including the Old San Antonio Road and sometimes the Old Fred Road. Not coincidentally, this road comes near to both towns. This route starts at Ranch Road 473 between Comfort and Sisterdale. From its starting point, Old No. 9 Highway goes north through Grapetown until it dead ends at Highway 290. Though only 20 miles long, this scenic route has many delightful sights to see along the way.

Block Creek Natural Area

Block Creek Natural Area along scenic route Old No 9 Highway

Photo: Facebook/Block Creek Natural Area

Along the route, just 6 miles north of the road’s starting point, you will find Block Creek Natural Area. Though private property, the owners graciously allow the public and professional photographers to enter after paying a nominal fee. Most come here to photograph the wildlife and birds attracted to the natural pond on the land. Some call it Turkey Hollow for its depression among multiple aged ranches. A pair of creeks flow down into the area, and unlike many other Hill Country waterways, these usually have water in them all year long. Photographers can book overnight stays to take pictures of the pristine night skies, and non-photographers can explore the many trails around the area during the day. This scenic route detour will give you a chance to stretch your legs while getting a better look at the wildlife you zip past on the highway.

Old Tunnel State Park

The old train tunnel and bat viewing area at Old Tunnel State Park along Old No 9 Highway
Photo: Facebook/Old Tunnel State Park – Texas Parks and Wildlife

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