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5 Historic Towns in the Texas Hill Country

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Steeped in history, nestled deep in the hills, is a portion of the famous Chisholm Trail. Used for overland cattle drives in the post-Civil War era, the Chisholm Trail wound its way from Texas to Kansas. Its namesake trail marker, Jesse Chisholm, was a half-Cherokee from Tennessee who originally mapped the trail from his southern trading post in Texas up to Kansas City for the transport of goods. Although there’s some debate as to where the actual trail itself begins, there are various parts of the Texas Hill Country that today still have a historical attachment to that time and way of life. Before embarking into the great wide open, make a few stops in the Hill Country at these five historic towns, and perhaps debate the start of the Chisholm Trail with a few locals while you’re there!

1. Bandera

5 Historic Towns in the Texas Hill Country

Photo: Facebook/Bandera, Texas “Cowboy Capital of the World”

The first stop on the trail should be Bandera, recognized as the “Cowboy Capital of the World.” The beautiful Medina River winds its way through town, making it an anticipated stop along the Chisholm Trail. Dripping with history, a good first stop would be at the Frontier Times Museum, featuring western art, historical artifacts, and a Hall of Texas Heroes!

2. Kerrville

5 Historic Towns in the Texas Hill Country

Photo: Facebook/Museum of Western Art

Kerrville itself is simply stewed in history. Just north of Bandera along Highway 16, this town was founded by James Kerr, who, during the war for Texas independence, was a Major in the Texan army, and came to embody the “old west.” Kerrville is now the home of the Museum of Western Art, whose collection boasts (and rightfully so) roughly 250 paintings, 150 sculptures, and a number of artifacts.

3. Fredericksburg

5 Historic Towns in the Texas Hill Country

Photo: Facebook/FT Martin Scott

The historic German town of Fredericksburg is another must-see in the Texas Hill Country. However, to really get the historic appeal of the town, you must leave the quaint shops and bistros behind and look towards Baron’s Creek at Fort Martin Scott. Used by the US Army, the Confederate Army, as well as the Texas Rangers, this site was founded in 1848, and its grounds are also now home to the Texas Rangers Heritage Center. They offer live demonstrations and many events around the history and folklore of the Rangers.

4. Enchanted Rock

5 Historic Towns in the Texas Hill Country

Photo: Pinterest/Cindy Robles

Ok, you caught us! This isn’t exactly a town. But if history is what you’re looking for, what better place to meander than just north of Fredericksburg to the site of one of the more famous historic Texas Rangers engagements! Enchanted Rock State Natural Area challenges its visitors to hike to its summit, and if you make it, you can read the story about Ranger John Coffee Hays, who, legend has it, held off an Indian raid for three hours until help arrived, using the natural rock formations as cover.

5. Llano

5 Historic Towns in the Texas Hill Country

Photo: Facebook/Llano Wild West Weekend

Just a few miles north of Fredericksburg is the city of Llano. Annually, downtown Llano takes time in October to transform itself for their Wild West Weekend. Featuring a chuck wagon cookoff, live music author readings, and a street dance, Llano teaches its citizens and tourists alike the value of western history and heritage as well as the fun that can be had from learning about it!