5 Cool Texas Hill Country ‘Did You Know?’ Facts

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Tony Maples Photography


Even long-term residents may not be aware of all the facts about the Texas Hill Country. These little-known trivia tidbits about the Texas Hill Country will spark your interest, and they are a great way to see how much you really know about the Texas Hill Country. Then pass along the information to those who want to learn more about the Texas Hill Country.

1. Wine is Divine

Wine Glass with Red Wine

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Wine has always been popular in Texas. In 1662, Franciscan priests planted the first vineyard. Since then, Texans have understood the value of growing grapes. Numerous facts abound concerning the bounty of Texas’s wine production. Today, there are 400 wineries in the state, and the Texas Hill Country boasts the second-largest viticulture area in the United States. It’s also the largest in Texas, with nearly nine million acres of land. Stop by Bell Mountain to see the first established viticulture area in the state.

2. The Hills are Alive

Texas Hill Country View facts

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

It’s a little-known fact that the land is not static. The distinctive hills of the Texas Hill Country come from faulting. Yes, faulting, as in the same geological structures that can cause earthquakes. In Texas, the movement of the faults happened a long time ago, and we’re not due for an earthquake anytime soon, but the underground movement caused the area east of the Hill Country to sink. In some places, it’s 700 feet lower than the Hill Country, and nowhere can you see this difference in elevation better than along I-35 between Austin and San Antonio. East of this highway, the land is much lower, and it’s higher to the west. The boundary between the two is called the Balcones Escarpment.

3. Rare Gophers

Rare species live in the Hill Country, too. Though Texas has nine separate gopher species, the Llano pocket gopher (Geomys texensis) only makes its home in a pair of far-flung areas of the Texas Hill Country. This tiny rodent lives a solitary life, digging 6 to 7-foot long tunnels in the loamy soils of its preferred habitats. If you see one, consider it a treat because these are rarely encountered species, though other types of gophers are more frequently seen across the state.

4. Hill Country Hold Outs

The Texas Hill Country has been home to those who buck the status quo for a long time. Though many know the facts about that Civil War that include Texas joining the Confederacy during the Civil War, what’s not as well-known is that the Hill Country wanted to stay with the Union. German immigrants in the Hill Country opposed slavery and often refused to join the Confederacy’s troops. Tensions escalated to the point when a group of 65 people from the Hill Country attempted to leave for New Orleans, still under Union control, via Mexico. Confederate troops thwarted their plans, but they still went down in history as proof that not everyone in the South was pro-Confederacy.

5. Water, Water Everywhere

Cross Section of Edwards Aquifer JBSA


The Edwards Aquifer is extremely important to those living in the Texas Hill Country, but did you know that as recently as 2009, San Antonio was the largest city to rely on underground water exclusively to supply its citizens. However, since then, city growth has prompted San Antonio to get some of its water elsewhere. Today, however, San Antonio obtains 90 percent of its water from the Edwards Aquifer.