Texas Hill Country Cycling

Trip Length 7 Days
Group Size 4?12
Difficulty
Starting from
$3,299 for REI Members
$3,568 for non-members
Departures Mar 2020-Apr 2020
Mon���Fri 7am���5pm PT

Spend seven days cycling incredible scenic views, rolling hills and quiet roads throughout the famous Texas Hill Country west of Austin.

Located just west of Austin, the "live music capital of the world," the Texas Hill Country offers the avid cyclist a chance to ride through rolling hills, open grasslands and spring-fed rivers and lakes, along miles of quiet roads lined with spring wildflowers (oh, the bluebonnets!). This tour takes you from the historic ranch of President Lyndon B. Johnson along countless creeks, streams and rivers, up the Edwards Plateau and around the Willow City Loop?it might be the best ride in the state of Texas.

We stay in cozy and historic accommodations along the way, with opportunities to explore many quaint towns like Utopia, Bandera and Luckenbach, as well as the larger towns of Kerrville and the German-influenced Fredericksburg. Our two nights in Fredericksburg are filled with a wide array of restaurants, live music, wineries, breweries, and of course spas, to relieve those aching muscles. We take plenty of time to experience it all!

The daily mileages give advanced cyclists enough to feel good about the riding each day, but intermediate riders will find the routes thoroughly enjoyable too. And with the addition of an e-bike, any cyclist comfortable with rolling hills and country roads without shoulders will have an incredible week in the heart of Texas.

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Trip Highlights

  • Visit the LBJ State and National Historical Parks
  • Explore the European charm of German-influenced Fredericksburg and Bandera County, the Switzerland of Texas
  • Ride along (and across) the famous Guadalupe River, as well as the best cycling route in the state: Willow City Loop
  • Stay at historic hotels and visit small Texas towns such as Luckenbach, Utopia and Bandera, the "Cowboy Capital of the World"
  • Pedal scenic paved highways and byways with rolling hills, low traffic, spectacular vistas and springtime bluebonnets.

Activities

This trip is rated Moderate Plus [3-4]. Trip members should be capable of cycling up to 60 miles (5?7 hours) with rolling terrain. Participants should come equipped with a spirit of adventure. E-Bikes are available in limited supply.

  • Cycling

What's Included

Six nights accommodations; permits and associated fees; all meals as noted in the daily itinerary and bikes.

Accommodations

Hotels, 6 nights

Your wheels for the journey

Every great tour begins with a great bike, and our top-flight fleet has been carefully curated for your cycling adventure.

Want to bring your own bike?�� You can do that too.

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

A ride through Texas history: LBJ National Historic Park to Comfort

After meeting our guides at 8am at our host hotel in Austin, we head straight into the heart of Texas Hill Country to begin our tour in Stonewall, site of the LBJ State and National Historical Parks. From there, we saddle up to begin our ride to the picturesque town of Comfort, nestled along the banks of the Guadalupe River and Cypress Creek. The early part of our ride is steeped in history, as we roll past the LBJ Birthplace and the "Texas White House" before turning to the back roads that lead us to the iconic hamlet of Luckenbach, where "Everybody Is Somebody." While there, we refuel while also paying homage to Waylon, Willie and the boys. Our route from there follows the path of the defunct F&N railroad, where we ride the scenic Old San Antonio Road, passing over the Old Railroad Tunnel. At the end of the day, relax in comfortable surroundings at our historic inn on the banks of the Guadalupe River. Lunch and dinner included.

Cycling: 50.4 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +2,142'/-2,142'; Van transfer: 1.25 hours

Day 2

Comfort to Bandera, the Cowboy Capital of the World

After a leisurely breakfast, we depart the luxury of our historic surroundings and take a stroll through the historic town of Comfort, where practically the entire downtown is on the National Register of Historic Places. Then, as we begin our journey in earnest, we meander on backcountry lanes to Center Point, winding our way along the peaceful banks of Cypress and Verde creeks to the historic Camp Verde Store. Then it's up and over Bandera Pass and down into the Medina River Valley to the colorful town of Bandera, the "Cowboy Capital of the World." Situated on the Medina River, Bandera still maintains much of its frontier heritage and the cultural influence of the large Polish community that settled the town. Also, Bandera County is known as the "Swiss Alps of Texas." All meals included.

Cycling: 52 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +1,938'/-2,143'

Day 3

Ride the Edwards Plateau from Bandera to Utopia

Discover the best kept secrets of the Texas Hill Country as we ride over Tarpley Pass and cross from the Medina River valley into Sabinal Canyon, en route to Utopia, TX. Crossing from one river floodplain to the next, our route includes some of the most spectacular scenery in the region, high atop the Edwards Plateau. Crystal-clear rivers and springs, deep canyons and exotic wildlife ranches are characteristic of the area. An optional 16-mile ride to Garner State Park is for those desiring a longer ride day but make sure you enjoy the swimming and chillaxing at the end of the day. Our cozy accommodations in the friendly village of Utopia are equally idyllic, as the name "Utopia" implies?they are right on the beautiful tree-lined Sabinal River. Don?t forget your swimsuit! All meals included.

Cycling: 35 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +1,825'/-1,680'

Cycling: 16 miles (optional extension), Elevation gain/loss: +933'/-865'; Van transfer: 30 mins.

Day 4

Hill Country metric century: Utopia to Kerrville

Today our route peacefully wanders along the beautiful Sabinal River before passing through the tiny hamlet of Vanderpool, then by Lost Maples State Natural Area. From there we climb up onto the "high lonesome." We ride the ridge along semi-arid grasslands before diving down into the headwaters basin of the south fork of the Guadalupe River. In those final, twisting miles through Hunt and into Kerrville, we cross the Guadalupe no fewer than fourteen spectacular times. We also stop at the Hill Country Arts Foundation to view Stonehenge II, a reconstruction of the original monument on the Salisbury Plain. Our mileage today surpasses 100km, if you?re looking to cross a metric century off your list of cycling accomplishments! All meals included.

Cycling: 63 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +3,069'/-2,774'

Day 5

The heart of the Hill Country?Kerrville to Fredericksburg

Leaving Kerrville, we quickly exit the main thoroughfare to travel some of the most peaceful and bucolic backroads in the state. Populated by German homesteaders in the 1840s, the area is reminiscent of old European settlements with its distinctive limestone farmhouses and narrow country lanes?it even has its very own Texas ghost town. We emerge from this tranquility for lunch at the iconic Hilltop Caf���, a celebrated Texas roadhouse "inconveniently located in the middle of nowhere." We finish up in Fredericksburg, where we have the remainder of the day to enjoy the town's captivating charm. Since its founding by German settlers in 1846, the town has certainly become the toast of Central Texas, and strong civic pride has helped maintain its picturesque appeal. Breakfast and lunch included.

Cycling: 51 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +2640'/-2577'

Day 6

Cycling Crabapple Creek and the Willow City Loop

Our penultimate ride is one of the finest in the state?the incredible Willow City Loop. But getting there is half the fun, as we start the day with a spin down the quiet and incredibly scenic Crabapple Creek Road north of town. We stop in the historic Crabapple Community for a glimpse back in time to the era of its original German settlers. Then it's on to the roller coaster that is Willow City Loop, often cited by Texas Highways as one of the state's most scenic routes. After lunch in Willow City, we cruise back to Fredericksburg on quiet ranch roads. At our final dinner together, we celebrate our amazing week in the Texas Hill Country with the culinary delights of one of our favorite Fredericksburg restaurants. All meals included.

Cycling: 62 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +3,247'/-3,247'

Day 7

Quintessential Texas: Fredericksburg to Hye

After breakfast, our final ride is quintessentially Texan. Riding east from Fredericksburg, we revisit the scenic Pedernales River as it winds through the LBJ Ranch and the Texas countryside?. We will pass the Garrison Brothers Distillery on our way to historic Hye, where the 19th-century post office and general store still welcomes locals and travelers from far and wide. ?A Texas-style lunch awaits in Hye before the van ride back to Austin. Departing flights should be scheduled for 6pm or later. Breakfast and lunch included.

Cycling: 30 miles, Elevation gain/loss: +1,254'/-1,506'; Van transfer: 1 hour

Gear List

This gear list has been created to help you choose the best equipment for the trip. Try to bring only what is necessary, as this will help you and the field staff. The weather and other conditions at the time of your arrival will dictate what clothing and equipment you will be required to use each day and what (if anything) can be left behind. It may be a necessary precaution that you bring certain items on the list, even if it is uncertain whether or not they will be needed.

Collection of selected R E I Co-op cycling merchandise and snacks laid out to pack for a bike tour

What to pack

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 800-622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.