Things to Do

5 Reasons to Roll to Rocksprings

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Picturesque Rocksprings perches among tree-covered hills and grassy ranchlands on one of the highest points of the Edwards Plateau. Some folks call it the Top of the World. Here are five reasons to motor over to Rocksprings and discover another Hill Country happy place.

1. Angora Goat Capital of the World

Five Things to Know About Rocksprings

Photo: Flickr/helenhaden

Sheep, goats, wool, and mohair formed the backbone of Rocksprings’ economy and continue to support the town today. The ranchers of Rocksprings are experts on Angora goats. The American Angora Goat Breeders Association was founded in 1900 and makes its home in Rocksprings. The unique Texas Hill Country climate coupled with Rocksprings’ location at the high point of the Edwards Plateau creates the perfect environment for raising Angoras.

When Angoras breed with other types of goats, the offspring produce mohair of lesser quality. The goat breeders association exists to ensure the integrity of the breed and its wool. They keep a registry of Angoras with proven pedigrees and educate others about breed standards. Each May, Rocksprings celebrates wool and mohair production at the Top O’ The World Festival. More than 90 percent of the mohair produced in the United States comes from Texas.

2. Cruise the Three Sisters

Five Things to Know About Rocksprings

Photo: Flickr/matthigh

Take motorcycle riding to the next level and cruise the Texas Hill Country open-air style. Explore nearly 100-miles along the Three Sisters Loop. Rural routes 335, 336 and 337 make up the challenging course snaking through canyons and cliff sides. Veterans of the route warn newbies to keep their eyes on the road even though they may be tempted to gape at the astonishing scenery. Stay safe and pull over for photo ops.

3. If These Walls Could Talk…

Five Things to Know About Rocksprings

Photo: Flickr/jimmyemersondvm

One hundred years after its grand opening, the Historic Rocksprings Hotel still welcomes guests with comfort and its storied past. Built in 1916, Jesse Walter Gilmer owned the Gilmer Hotel for two short years before selling out to the Balentine family. The Balentines, however, would cater to guests for the next 50 years. Besides supplying beds to the road weary traveler, the hotel served as a hospital in World War I during an influenza epidemic. In 1927, nearly half of the town was wiped out when a two-mile-wide tornado steamrolled through the city. Although the hotel received major damage, nurses and doctors replaced bell boys and maître d’s to care for the town’s injured.

In 1940, Rodney, a grandson visiting the Balentines at the hotel, blew the cover of a notorious horse thief and burglar leading to his arrest.  Although See More Kid thoughtfully cleaned his dishes and swept the floors of his victim’s homes after robbing them, that didn’t stop him from being a wanted man. As The Kid checked into the hotel late one night, Rodney recognized him. Soon, Texas Ranger Joaquin Jackson arrived and handcuffed the horse thief putting an end to the Kid’s life of crime.

4. Mountain Bike, Rock Climb at Camp Eagle

rockclimbing

Photo: Flickr/patricklewis

During the spring, fall, and winter months, Camp Eagle calls to adrenaline junkies that prefer pedal power to horsepower. The 1400-acre recreation area sits on the banks of the spring-fed Nueces River and welcomes bike enthusiasts, hikers, and rock climbers. Dormitories that sleep up to 12, as well as screen-shelter cabins and tent sites, encourage overnight stays. Kids can attend various Christian camp programs heavy in outdoor activity throughout the summer. Those hungry for competition can participate in various mountain bike, trail running and adventure races for individuals or families held during various other times of the year.

5. Creep Out at Devil’s Sinkhole

Five Reasons to Roll to Rocksprings

Photo: flickr.com/catierhodes

A deep dark hole that spews out three million bats in an evening might sound like a scene from the latest horror flick. But the cavern thought to be the largest single chamber cave in Texas at 50-feet wide and 140-feet deep doesn’t reside on a movie set. Devil’s Sinkhole State Natural Area eight miles from Rocksprings offers tours to the sinkhole where one of the largest populations of Mexican free-tailed bats spills out every night at dusk from summer to mid-fall.

Step out onto the viewing platform and look down into the inky darkness of the void the bats call their summer home. Bird watchers and hikers will enjoy exploring the 1,860-acre area formerly part of the Whitworth Ranch. Contact the office at Devil’s Sinkhole for more information about visits.

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