A Quest for Beautiful Fall Color in the Texas Hill Country

By  | 
Tony Maples Photography


As I sit in my office watching the morning sun stream into the window, I’m yearning to experience the late summer memories of my youth.  I grew up outside of Texas, in the shadow of the Blue Mountains of Pennsylvania, in a place where the hint of cool hit the morning dew by the time Labor Day approached. Indian summer meant there was no frost on the ground. The days were warm, but the evenings began to require the occasional sweater.  And the mornings, oh, the mornings.  They were delightful.  But as I stare out the window on this late August morning, where the forecast calls for heat with a 100% chance of sweat, those days seem like a distant and remote dream to me.    Summer lasts a bit long, (no, too long), and by the end of August, we find ourselves pining for cool.

It’s the time of year that we all ask why we do this. Why do we live here?  But there is hope coming if we just hang on. By October, we’ll be relishing the beautiful fall evenings we yearn for.  By November, we’ll be experiencing what the rest of the country calls autumn and, by January, we’ll be oh, so thankful that we aren’t having to shovel the snow.

Fall in the Northeast is surely grand, but autumn in Texas is equally beautiful.

A Quest for Beautiful Fall Color in the Texas Hill Country

Photo: Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania. Ideal fall colors. Courtesy Eliza Bushn

Autumn in Texas is wonderful.  I call them Chamber of Commerce days.  The skies turn such a deep, deep blue, and the clouds are puffy white cotton balls. The mornings carry that hint of dew that sparkles the grass. The nights request the fire pit, but the days are so pleasant. It’s in our autumn that the long green of our endless summer explodes into a palette of hues. Cypress trees turn burnt orange, red oaks to vibrant rust. The golds and oranges of the maples, oaks, and pears dot the landscape as if to scream, “It’s over… you made it and here’s your prize.”  It’s wonderful. But up until a few years ago, I was still longing for that drive in the autumn woods of my youth.

Now I found my Texas autumn. 

A Quest for Beautiful Fall Color in the Texas Hill Country
Photo: Blanco River in Blanco State Park, courtesy Eliza Bushn

My husband and I set out to tour our great state. We bought a state parks book and decided to see every park. We accomplished that goal last March, and on our travels, we stumbled across a few places that surprised and delighted us. Set along the banks of the Blanco River is Blanco State Park.  In autumn, it transforms into a plethora of fall colors nestled close to its source of life on the water. Greens, golds, reds, and oranges are set against the fast moving blue waters, a veritable delight for the senses.  A small park by Texas standards, it brings autumn to you. A short drive through the park will give you the taste of fall you’ve been longing for in the middle of the Texas Hill Country. And it’s so close, just sitting right off Highway 281 as it crosses the Blanco river. You can’t miss it!

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