Things to Do

Embark on the Perfect Summertime Hill Country Day Trip

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Summer time in the Texas Hill Country is a time for exploration. Those seeking a change of pace can look into the Austin Steam Train Association’s Hill Country Flyer. As the train meanders through 66 miles of central Texas, the past and present combine, creating a relaxed Hill Country day trip. However, adventurers wanting to ride the rails must hurry. June 24 will be the Flyer’s final run for the summer.

Hill Country Flyer

Photo: Facebook/Austin Steam Train

Before the adventure begins, tickets for the day must be purchased. Riders choose from an assortment of passenger cars. Ranging from coach to first-class lounge, adult only cars are also offered. Tickets can be obtained via the association’s website or by contacting the main office. Those seeking wheel chair accessible seating need to purchase tickets over the phone.

When the day arrives, passengers embark on their journey from the association’s depot in Cedar Park. The train departs at 10 a.m. and returns at 4 p.m. This time is a chance for riders to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

An electric blue locomotive leads the way across wooden trestle bridges as it travels over the South San Gabriel River and Short Creek Canyon. The small-town of Bertram, known as the gateway to The Hill Country provides a break in the foliage that lines the tracks.

Around noon, the train arrives in Burnet. Passengers can disembark and take in all the “Bluebonnet Capital of Texas” has to offer. Participate in a faux Wild West gun fight, buy fresh produce at the farmer’s market, or explore local antique shops.

Additionally, travelers will enjoy a lunch break during this two-hour layover. Devour a chicken fried steak at Trailblazers or fried catfish filets at Mama’s Home Cooking. However, be sure to leave room for dessert as Happy Scoops, a local ice cream parlor, is just around the corner.

As the afternoon winds down, passengers board the Flyer for the return trip home. The six hour round trip may not be full of glitz of glam, but at the heart of it is an appreciation for the simple things in life. As schedules become busier, it is nice to know a slower change of pace is just a train ride away.