Although I didn’t mention it in the two prior posts for my first day in the Hill Country, the driving itself, particularly beginning from the Devil’s Backbone Tavern, through Blanco…to Pedernales Falls…taking a different back road from Pedernales Falls west to Johnson City…and ending in Stonewall, where I stayed that night, included beautiful scenic roads. So, I thought I would start separately providing my actual turn-by-turn driving directions for each of my four days in the Hill Country, in case anyone was interested for their own little adventure.
GPS is non-existent on some back roads in the Hill Country. I found that when I’d get out to a state park for a hike, using GPS, that for some reason, there was no signal there when I was leaving the park, in order to find my way to my next destination. So, I needed hard-copies of those turn-by-turn driving directions.
And where you do have GPS, but there was no landmark to plug in, I sometimes had to know the actual road-name and plug that in, in order to find the beginning of certain sections of my route. So, turn-by-turn directions to and through the scenic drives that I assembled from the original Texas Monthly article were indispensable.
Also note, that throughout Texas, in addition to interstate-highways, US-Highways and Texas State Highways, you will find the designations FM, RM and RR preceding many road-numbers. These refer to “Farm to Market”, “Ranch to Market” and “Ranch Road”, respectively. It’s confusing at first, but eventually, I learned to ignore the letter-prefixes and focus on the road-number.
Here is Day-1 in the Hill Country:
Texas Hill Country – Scenic Drive – Day-1 (Thursday)
(Note: Call Kim at Dixie Dude Ranch (in my contacts) re reserving trail-ride spot for Sunday a.m.)
Starting from: San Marcos (south of Austin)
Take TX-80 > Old Ranch Road 12.
Stay straight onto FM-32/RM-32 toward Fischer (when Old Ranch Road 12 turns RIGHT toward Wimberley. STOP at Devil’s Backbone Tavern (4 mi. past Wimberley turnoff). STOP again, at picnic area about a mile past the Tavern, on the right, to enjoy views of Blanco River. Continue through the Devil’s Backbone area on FM-32/RM-32, on the way to Fischer.
STOP in Fischer at Community Dance Hall (and private 9-pin bowling alley). They may let you watch and maybe take a few photos.
Continue on FM-32/RM-32 northwest, merging onto US-281 near Blanco. STOP at Blanco State Park (101 Park Rd. 23) (have to cross Blanco River entering Blanco, and double-back, slightly to get to park. See Blanco Dam in park).
Return to US-281, heading north into downtown Blanco. STOP at Blanco Bowling Club Café (310 4th St. IN the bowling alley) (known for their truck-stop-style enchiladas, and STOP at The Bean & Biscuit Bakery, 310 Pecan St.).
Continue north on US-281 (NOTE dazzling vista, looking back toward Blanco, as you rise out of river basin)…turning RIGHT onto US-290 EAST (toward Henly)…then LEFT onto Ranch Road 3232…RIGHT onto Pedernales Falls Rd….and in 200ft turn LEFT onto Park Rd….STOP at Pedernales Falls State Park. Easy stroll to Falls.
Exit Park via Park Rd. (same road as entered on)…TURNING RIGHT onto Robinson Rd (if you turned left, it would be called Pedernales Falls Rd.), which is the scenic back-road to Johnson City.
At Johnson City…continue straight, onto US-290 west to Stonewall, and The Italian Place B&B (236 Loring St.).
Freshen-up at The Italian Place, before heading out to the Albert Ice House Dance Hall (5435 RR 1623, off US-290…(RR 1623 takes you directly to Albert Ice House, about 9 mins from The Italian Place). BBQ dinner at Albert Ice House.