Texas Bluebonnets Guide
February 19, 2024| Updated on
2024 Bluebonnet Season Outlook
As always, predicting how good of a season we’ll have is a lot of guesswork. However, some clues, such as watching the Texas drought monitor and following website reports and social media updates can give you a good idea of what each area might experience as bluebonnet season approaches. These reports and social media groups are all linked below.
That said, all of the reports I’ve seen, and from looking at the rainfall over the past 4-6 months, I think a lot of areas could look really good this spring! With the solar eclipse in early April, it should be a fantastic season to chase the bluebonnets with that event giving us an awesome bonus!
Texas Bluebonnet Season: When Do the Bluebonnets Bloom?
When is Texas bluebonnet season? This is the million dollar question that ever wants to answer year after year. Like with any wildflower season or even fall color season, bluebonnets can be hard to predict. Some years, they bloom early, others late, and yet other will have a poor season and very few will bloom. It’s a bit of science and a bit of luck trying to determine when bluebonnets will bloom in a particular area. Things like rainfall and sunshine amounts and specific times during the germination period can affect how good of a season each year will produce. However, to give a general rule of thumb for any given year, chisos bluebonnets begin to bloom in south Texas near Big Bend National Park in February. They move up the state, as areas near San Antonio usually see blooms in March, while the Houston and Austin areas start a week or two later. Hotspots like Marble Falls, Brenham, Fredericksburg and more can bloom from mid-March to mid-April. And further north, Ennis and the Dallas-Fort Worth area usually bloom in April.
Best Bluebonnet Locations
While this list is just a few of the many awesome places to go bluebonnet hunting, it should get you started with a mix of famous spots and some of my personal favorites.
1. Marble Falls
One of my favorite spots to photograph bluebonnets is the Marble Falls area. And there is nothing better than the iconic Bluebonnet House, on the north side of town. You can read more about the Bluebonnet House on the Texas Hill Country website’s history of the Bluebonnet House. Marble Falls is a great base for further exploring the entire Texas Hill Country area. The Marble Falls website has a great wildflower scenic route map and more information worth checking out to help guide your adventures in this region.
From the Enchanted Rock area to Willow City Loop, Fredericksburg is a great place to go hunting bluebonnets. In a good year, Willow City Loop is possibly my all time favorite spots to cruise looking for bluebonnets. The beginning of this road goes between private property with cowboy boots lined up on wooden fences. Further along the drive, you really feel the rugged nature of the Texas Hill Country. When you finish up at Willow City Loop, it’s worth stopping by Enchanted Rock, which is a a granite dome that rises 400+ feet above the nearby hills. They can make a great background for photos if you find a good nearby bunch of bluebonnets. Wildseed Farms is another great place to see wildflowers in the area. The Fredericksburg website also has updates on wildflower displays you can follow.
3. Big Bend National Park
If you’re looking for bluebonnets earlier in the year, Big Bend National Park is the place to be! While they don’t always have great displays, some years, such as 2019, during the 75th anniversary of Big Bend. The bluebonnets down here are a different variety than the ones further east and north. These bluebonnets are known as chisos bluebonnets and can grow much higher than the bluebonnets in the eastern half of Texas.
For those closer to the Houston area, Brenham is a fantastic place to find good bluebonnet displays. In 2023, I actually found a field with zebras in it (as did many others) not far from. Brenham, so it’s worth exploring all of the side roads leading away from the Brenham area. Keep an eye on the Brenham wildflower watch to get updates on bluebonnets in the area.
Ennis, Texas was my first bluebonnet experience as a photographer. The closest place to see bluebonnets is Bardwell Lake, just west of Ennis. That’s where the photo below came from. I visited in 2018 for the first time and found stunning displays of bluebonnets everywhere! Beyond the lake, the various Bluebonnet Trails will take you on awesome rural drives with displays of bluebonnets and other wildflowers throughout the countryside, mostly east of Ennis. Every year Ennis puts on the awesome Bluebonnet Trails & Festival and will provide awesome trail maps to follow for the best displays.
6. Muleshoe Bend
Not far from Marble Falls is Muleshoe Bend which has had a few banner years of bluebonnets in the past decade or two. When this area has a good year, it can be one of the best displays of bluebonnets in the entire state. Be warned that the secret is out about this place. You will be sharing it with other people, much like other spots on this list. But it’s also a large enough area that you can get great photos and enjoy the large displays.
With a designation of “Bluebonnet Capitol of Texas” you know this area is going to be good! Llano is an awesome spot to base out of, as there are usually great wildflower displays in all directions. Both fields of amazing wildflowers and roadside displays for those just out for a cruise. Going east towards Marble Falls or Burnet has a number of options. To the south is Fredericksburg and Willow City Loop. Turkey Bend Recreation Area is a favorite around here. Check out Llano’s website for tips on the best bluebonnet locations in the area.
8. Texas Hill Country Backroads
Some of the best bluebonnet scenes can be found on the backroads in the Texas Hill Country, from railroad covered bluebonnets to displays along the dirt roads heading west towards towns like Llano and Fredericksburg. I already mentioned Willow City Loop, which is a great spot during a good year, but many other roads can lead to stunning displays.
Bluebonnet Pictures & Photos
As a photographer, my favorite thing to do during bluebonnet season is obviously taking photographs of the various scenes and places where they grow. I have been honing my craft for almost two decades and have created some of the sharpest and highest quality photographs of the Texas bluebonnets available on mediums such as Lumachrome acrylic and Chromaluxe metal. Visit my Texas photography collection to view all of my bluebonnet photographs and see if one might fit your walls!
I would be remiss not to mention some thoughts on safety in Texas during bluebonnet season. First off, rattlesnakes as common all over Texas and love to blend in with the beautiful bluebonnets. Always keep a very close eye out, not only for yourself, but your children or pets that might be with you when out walking in the bluebonnet regions (or anywhere in Texas for that matter). I always remember the story of when my family lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth region when I was a kid. My brother went to the backyard to put his shoes on that had been left out there earlier and a small rattlesnake had curled up into it. We lived on the edge of an undeveloped area of land. Had he put his foot in and been bitten, it would have been a much worse story. So always keep your eyes out for rattlesnakes when out exploring.
This time of year is also the beginning of storm season in the southern plains. Severe thunderstorms and even tornadoes happen this time of year. So it’s always good to keep an eye on the weather forecast when traveling around the state looking for bluebonnet displays.
Leave No Trace & Nature First Principles
Much like anywhere in the world, leaving natural areas in better shape than we left them is always good practice. These flowers are fairly delicate, and having hundreds of people trample them reduces the area to nothing but a dirt path. Try to tread lightly when amongst the flower so the next person can enjoy them much as you did.
Also remember that much of Texas is private property. Always be respectful of landowners property when viewing bluebonnets. If you are stopping your car to get out, make sure you have a safe place to pull over and not impede traffic as well.
Each year is so different when it comes to the bluebonnets. Drought, rain, wind, temperatures and other weather factors all help determine how good of a season we’ll have. Timing is also very important. Getting a good amount of moisture at the right time, along with sunshine at the right time can make a world of difference. There are a few places I keep up with bluebonnet and wildflower reports for the areas. In particular, three groups on Facebook have been instrumental in keeping up with how an area is faring or what the outlook is. The first is the Texas Bluebonnets & Wildflowers group. The second is called Texas Wildflowers. While the third is called Chasing Bluebonnets. All three are invaluable to keeping up with reports. It’s also worth looking at individual tourist websites for each of the towns listed above.
Hopefully my guide will give you lots of ideas for finding great bluebonnet displays!