Photo by Petesie Lee
How did that old Beatles song go? “Step on the gas and wipe that tear away. One sweet dream came true today.”
And so you have arrived in Wimberley, with its calming waters and Tuscan-esque terrain. You’ve unpacked your bags, settled into a place to stay, and now you want to see first hand why this little village is so rooted in mystique.
Here are a few of the local “must-sees” in the community.
Blue Hole is frequently ranked as one of the “10 best Swimming Holes in Texas,” by travel magazines and respected publications like “Texas Monthly,”
We’d argue that it is one of the best in the world. If you’re coming to Wimberley, it is a must see. Surrounded by ancient Cypress Trees, the spring-fed Blue Hole is truly the Walden’s Pond of the American Southwest.
Looking at Blue Hole now, in its natural state, it is hard to imagine that there was a time when it nearly became the focal point of a subdivision. Wimberley’s spiritual centerpiece was set to become the focal point of a dense subdivision — closed to the public forever.
The city began fundraising efforts and purchased the historic swimming hole, inking a contract for the property at cost of $3 million in May 2005 with help from the Texas Department of Wildlife, Hays County, the Trust for Public Lands and the Lower Colorado River Authority.
Blue Hole is the centerpiece of the tranquility that embraces Wimberley.
The season begins on Saturday, May 23 and lasts until Monday, Sept. 7. Operation hours are 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., Sunday through Thursday; and from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and for the Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day holidays.
Entrance fees are free for children up to the age of three; $2.50 for youngsters between the ages of three and 12; $5 for swimmers ages 13 through 59; and $2.50 for seniors between the ages of 60 and up. A season pass is $25.
While the park has not yet reached its eventual vision, it arguably holds a more naturalistic appeal within its 126 surrounding acres, found in a completely undeveloped. A nonprofit group, Friends of Blue Hole, (see friendsofbluehole.org to donate or to learn more) is continuing to raise funds for the park.
No lifeguard services will be provided and swimmers are advised to do so at their own risk. Dogs are not allowed.
Cypress Creek Nature Trail encompasses 7.24 acres of virgin Central Texas “bottomland,” as it unfolds beside the crystal creek of the same name. The creek babbles over rocks and slips down tiny waterfalls as it makes its way to the Blanco River.
Preserved by the Village of Wimberley with the help of private donations from citizens and civic groups alike, funding obtained via a matching grant from the Texas Department of Wildlife.
The gentle park features natural fauna that is uniquely indigenous to the area. The trail way is a wonderful place to native birds and wildlife. The park adjoins the Blue Hole property, preserving some of the most ecologically sensitive property in the state. Cypress Creek Nature Trail is a great way to walk away the stress of the world.
The nature trail is easy to find. Its entry is literally on the Wimberley Square, near the intersection of Ranch Road 12 and Old Kyle Road, just next to The Lumberyard Shopping Center.
Mount Baldy, also known as Prayer Mountain, is located just outside of the Village of Wimberley in the Eagle Rock subdivision of Woodcreek, although it falls into an unincorporated area. Mount Baldy has a series of steps that lead to one of the most amazing panoramic views of the Wimberley Valley.
Several years ago, the congregation of Trinity Church purchased Mount Baldy. It is open to the public seven days a week, from 6 a.m.-8 p.m. It is a great place to hike and see the surrounding valley — don’t forget your camera.
Mount Baldy is one of two large hills that dominate the Wimberley Valley. The other is right across FM 2325 from the other hill. In 1900, both were purchased by the Lowery family and were named for his daughters, Edith and Edna. Mount Baldy was originally “Edith.”
To find Mount Baldy, take Ranch Road 12 (from the square), turn left on FM 2325, then turn right on Woodcreek Drive. Take the first right, El Camino Real, then another right at La Toya Trail, which is marked by a stop sign. Drive just under a quarter of a mile and you will find yourself at Mount Baldy.
Jacob’s Well is among the most unique perpetual artesian springs in the world. Managed by the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association, the preserve recently received funding from Hays County that will assure its long-term protection.
To be certain, tis a sight to behold, a unique geographical formation that transfixes visitors by its sheer distinctive appearance.
The well can pump literally thousands of gallons of water per minute into Cypress Creek, which flows over the Cypress Creek Lodge dam in Woodcreek, into Blue Hole, past the Cypress Creek Nature Preserve into the Blanco River. Suffice it to say, Cypress Creek carves is way directly through the heart of the Wimberley Valley.
It is just one watershed in a system that graces the Wimberley Valley, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, one of 13 that dot the local landscape that feed the Guadalupe-Blanco water basin. Yet Jacob’s Well is singular. Not only is it a critical water discharge point for the Trinity Aquifer, as well as a geological wonder.
Worshiped by Native Americans, Jacob’s Well is likely to inspire the divine in you once you lay eyes on it.
To reach Jacob’s Well Preserve, take Ranch Road 12 to FM 2327 and turn left. Take FM 2327 to Jacob’s Well Road and turn right. Follow the road to where it intersects with Mount Sharp Road. Veer left on Mount Sharp Road. Jacob’s Well is located at the Dancing Waters Inn, about half a mile on your left.
River Road is best enjoyed slowly — savored for its simple elegance. It isn’t a long drive, only a necessary one if you are visiting Wimberley.
This little cruise seems to be taken straight from a fairy tale. It’s easy to find, located just off Ranch Road. Just turn left at the first stoplight past the Wimberley Square.
Initially, the drive is pleasant enough, but that deception gives way to exception. As soon as your vehicle makes a sharp left-handed curve and passes a classic turn-of-the-century home on the right, the road turns back toward the right, and the road hugs the astonishingly beautiful Blanco River.
As you make your way down the meandering little drive, you will reach a low-water crossing to the left just past the stop sign. There, on the right is 7A Ranch. Just pull into this friendly establishment, and if you have a hankering for a cool swim, you can pay a small fee, park your car and walk down to the river and get your feet wet in the Blanco River’s crystal-clear waters. In fact, you can easily spend an entire day right there. It is quiet and restful.
On one side of the low-water crossing, the river is shallow – perfect to take a portable chair and allow the waters to perform its magic. On the other side of the low-water crossing, the water is deeper and beckons you to bring an inflatable tube or floatation device and allow the sounds of water babbling over rock to drain your troubles away. All along River Road, ancient cypress trees tower over the water, their roots reaching directly into the liquid from which they draw their sustenance. And the air is almost always full of the sweet scent of cypress, nature’s own natural aromatherapy. It is a stress-free adventure, and it is waiting for you.
After a swim, you may want to meander through Pioneer Town, a re-creation of an old west town, complete with saloons and even a period “dog-run” log cabins dating to the 1830s. Few of the buildings are open for business, but it remains a fascinating walk that will whisk you away to a simpler time. There’s even a chapel available for if you have a hankerin’ to get hitched, or if a family reunion is long over due. 7A also has a fine collection bronze sculpture in the Remington Museum, but is open by appointment only. 7A also has cabins and other rental facilities.
The Village of Wimberley is in a valley shadowed by The Devil’s Backbone, a large uplifted ridge that hooks around the area. Visiting The Devil’s Backbone is a must when visiting the area because the view is astonishing.
It is easily accessed from downtown Wimberley by taking Ranch Road 12 east (toward San Marcos. Ranch Road 12 intersects with FM 32 at “The Junction,” as locals refer to the small business district. Just turn left at the “T” on FM 32 — it snakes atop Devil’s Backbone.
About seven miles into the drive, there is a pullout and rest area that offers a fantastic view of the entire valley. A couple of old-time honky-tonks, including the Texas Tavern and The Devil’s Backbone Tavern are great places to grab a burger and a brew or two while hearing some Progressive Country music that peppers the area.
If you continue down FM 32, you will arrive at Fischer Store Road. Once a bustling farming and ranching community, Fischer is still the site of some of the most interesting off-the-beaten-path adventures to be found in the Hill Country. Start with the old Fischer Store itself; a tin-clad, 1880s western-style building that now houses antiques, as well as mementos from the community’s rich history.
Travel a little further down Fischer Store Road and you will discover a true treat — Fischer Hall. Willie Nelson calls old Fischer Hall a “national treasure,” and he would be hard-pressed to find anyone in this neck of the woods that would disagree.
The country and western singing and songwriting legend lobbied the producers of “Honeysuckle Rose” to use the picturesque hall as a backdrop for the movie. And Fischer Hall can also be seen in at least one of his music videos.
Just the mere mention of the 129-year-old dance hall and its sister bowling alley draw coos of love and admiration. There is something about the historic hall and its sister bowling alley that inspires reflection of an easier, less complicated time. Every Saturday at 1 p.m., old-time ninepin bowling is still the game of choice in Fischer. With every pin that is knocked down, local kids make their allowance money by setting them back up by hand. The locals welcome the chance to teach visitors nine pin bowling so don’t even think about passing up the opportunity to participate in the fun.
The non-profit Fischer Agricultural Society manages both historic structures.
Fischer was a community of Germanic origins established in 1852. A “one-armed” carpenter, Al Kloepper, who was responsible for a host of wonderful buildings that feature his famous wooden arches, including The Clear Springs Store, now a restaurant just east of New Braunfels, built Fischer Hall.
Over the years, it has hosted thousands of dances featuring virtually every Texas-based musician of note, including iconic Nelson, as well as Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. To get back to Wimberley, just continue down Fischer Store Road until it “Ts” into FM 2325. Turn right and drive back to Wimberley. That road will intersect with Ranch Road 12. Turn right and you will find yourself back at the Wimberley Square.
One of the newest attractions in Wimberley is the Zipline. Participants fasten themselves into a safety harness, complete with protective gear, and the fly 2,600 feet across some of the most beautiful terrain in Texas.
Those who choose the action seem to love the rush! The Zipline adventure includes historical retrospective and interesting facts about the Wimberley Valley. Be prepared to be amazed by 15-mile views of the area’s fragile eco-system, including creeks and canyons. Zipline adventures can last from 1 and half to two hours.
The Zipline is located on the Four Winns Ranch, so-named for one of Wimberley’s most famous sons, Depression-era artist Buck Winn, the first famous artist who called Wimberley “home.”
To learn more about Wimberley Zipline Adventures, call 512-847-9990.
Quicksand Golf Course at Woodcreek is a superior 18-hole golf course covering 6,470 yards for a 72 par. First opened in 1972, the course was designed by Bruce Littell. Lined with fine Bermuda grass, the greens and fringe offer excellent undulation.
This is an excellent course for those looking to improve their game. The course has one sand trap and one water trap. Every hole on the front nine holes features a dogleg, except for the Par 3s. Golfing connoisseurs will love the challenging eighth hole. However, the biggest attraction remains the gently rolling hills with beautiful Cypress Creek running through the course. Deer are plentiful and add an accent which must be seen to be appreciated.
One more thing — the clubhouse offers some terrific sandwiches to sustain you throughout your game. The clubhouse is also stocked with every golfing necessity imaginable.
So if you are headed to Wimberley, don’t forget your golf clubs. The course is in Woodcreek — a residential community just north of Wimberley. And be certain to call Quicksand in advance to make arrangements for your game at 512-847-9700.
Jack Glover’s Cowboy Museum is one of the most fascinating stops in Wimberley. Located just off River Road in historic Pioneer Town, the Cowboy Museum boasts one of the most unique collections of western memorabilia in the state. But its curator is the central most fascinating artifact.
Glover opened his first Trading Post just outside of Bowie, Texas in 1949, where he stayed until he moved his entire collection, lock, stock, and barrel to its current home. He has rubbed shoulders with movie stars and Presidents, and has photographs to prove it. Glover has counted Bob Hope, NASCAR legend Richard Petty, television icon and child star of the 1950-60 Johnny Crawford, and a host of White House occupants among his friends.
When not gawking at the endless array of photographs and curios collected from his famous friends, the authentic historical artifacts displayed in four large rooms will astonish visitors to the Cowboy Museum. For starters, the Cowboy Museum features an authentic, hand carved, late 19th Century horse-drawn hearse, a genuine Indian Chief’s staff complete with the head of an eagle, early 20th Century photos of Poncho Villa, Jim Bowie’s silver mine deed, period six shooters and a collection of memorabilia from his cousin, Will Rogers, arguably the most famous American humorist.
Just getting to speak with this last-of-the-line pioneer can keep children mesmerized and historians fascinated for hours. To speak with Glover is an insight into a time long since past.
Jack Glover’s Cowboy Museum will be open seven days a week between Memorial Day and Labor Day between 10 a.m.-6 p.m. From the Wimberley Square, take Ranch Road 12 toward Dripping Springs; turn left at the first stoplight, River Road. Follow River Road (an arresting site in and of itself) as it hugs the Blanco River until you reach 7A Ranch and Pioneer town at the intersection of Wayside Drive (333 Wayside Drive). Turn right on Wayside Drive and Pioneer town is just up the hill on the left. Call 512-847-3338 or 512-722-3699.