Things to Do

Bend: A Multi-Faceted and Multi-Monikered Town in the Texas Hill Country

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Once known as Schleicher’s Bend, then McAnelly’s Bend, and then simply Bend, the town with one of the shortest names in the Texas Hill Country is nicely located on a horseshoe bend on the Colorado River between San Saba and Lampasas counties. Established in 1854 by three brothers from Tennessee, the town grew through the 1870s and ‘80s, entailing churches, a gristmill, a cotton gin, general store, and a hotel, the area was the center of commerce for local farmers and cattlemen. By the early 1900s, the pecan industry overtook cotton, corn, and cattle, and launched local lore about the largest producing pecan tree in Bend.

Bend: A Multi-Faceted and Multi-Monikered Town in the Texas Hill Country

Photo: Facebook/Indian Nation Via Jolene Haney

Those looking for medicinal, healing waters back in the day found the hot springs in the area to be a great hotspot to hang out. Set back in the wilderness, however, the springs fell into neglect when travelers found the hot springs in Lampasas to be more convenient. The land was eventually purchased by a rancher in the 1940s and opened to the public once again in 1961. Now called Sulphur Springs Campground, the area hosts modern-day hot springs seekers, campers, nature lovers, and fishermen, with cabins accommodating between six and 15 available for quite reasonable nightly rates, complete with air conditioning, linens, and kitchen utensils. There are also RV hookups and tent camping available and day-passes for those that like to come and go.

Bend: A Multi-Faceted and Multi-Monikered Town in the Texas Hill Country

Photo: Facebook/Texas State Parks Geocache Challenge

Many towns in the Texas Hill Country are in close proximity to our wonderful Texas state parks, and Bend is no exception. Colorado Bend State Park is famous for Gorman Falls, a cascading wonder that drops 60 feet into a mecca of pools and lush vegetation. With more than 32 miles of trails for walking and hiking levels of varying difficulty, this park is a veritable paradise for outdoor adventure-seekers. Visitors can take a guided tour of the falls or pick from four diverse guided cave adventures. Birders will appreciate the 155 varieties of species there are to be found here, and mountain bikers love the single-track paths the park can brag as some of the best in Texas. Fishing, kayaking, swimming, and camping are also available at the park, featuring RV hook-ups, tent camping with access to water and restrooms, and primitive camp sites.

Bend: A Multi-Faceted and Multi-Monikered Town in the Texas Hill Country

Photo: Facebook/Texas Casual Cottages

Wine sommeliers will appreciate that Bend is situated just five miles from Fiesta Winery, featuring a family-owned and operated ranch full of Mouvedre, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Tempranillo grape varietals. Wine selections are available ranging from sweet whites and reds to drier selections of crisp whites and full-bodied reds. The winery property has been in the family now for six generations and includes a wonderful covered patio with scenic Hill Country views, but the knowledge and experience needed to ensure visitors have an exceptional tour and tasting. All of this can be found in Bend, in the Texas Hill Country, with as many things to do or more than the town has had names!