Willow City Loop ranks high as a bucket-list drive for wildflower lovers.
Like a prized truffle-hunting dog, my tour guide, Matt, sniffs out the best spots to photograph Texas bluebonnets. The task isn’t easy. Depending on the weather, bluebonnets can pop up anywhere, anytime in spring. It’s like playing a game of Whac-A-Mole with the official state flower.
During spring, Matt spends 20 hours a week combing social media for recent bluebonnet posts, and twice a day he takes people on photography tours in the Hill Country, an especially scenic region in central Texas. If you’re not familiar with the area, the tours are a good way to find hidden spots that include old barns, boarded-up taverns and abandoned railroad trestles, all nestled in fields of beautiful bluebonnets.
Of course, bluebonnets aren’t the only wildflower in Texas. Indian paintbrushes, prairie verbena, pink evening primroses and many more thrive naturally — 2,700 kinds of wildflowers in all. But bluebonnets hold a special place in Texans’ hearts. After declaring it the state flower in 1901, the legislature squabbled for 70 more years before deciding to include all five species.
Posing with bluebonnets is a Texas tradition. Families and their pets are often seen taking portraits in fields of bluebonnets. The blue burst occurs from March through May, often peaking in April.