East Texas Scenic Wildflower Drives
EAST TEXAS- Spring has been in the air in East Texas since the beginning of February. Some people might say, wildflowers are just the weeds we have learned to love, but others travel far and wide to take in the natural beauty of wildflowers. Wildflowers have been exploding all across the region! Bluebonnets, Indian paint brushes, dogwoods, and swamp sunflowers, winecups and Indian blankets have brightened the highways and back roads while wysteria and jasmine perfume the air. Now’s the time to hit the road! Take a drive in East Texas this spring and see the wildflowers of the Pineywoods. Rolling yellow hills and red and blue roadsides present prime photographic opportunities and also make for a romantic adventure.
According to experts, the Pineywoods should be in full bloom from Jefferson to the Gulf Coast within the next few weeks. Even after a historically dry summer Texas wildflower experts anticipate a beautiful Spring due to timely fall and winter rains. The heavy rains most of Texas enjoyed last fall and this winter are expected to produce a healthy showing of wildflowers, according to Lady Bird Wildflower Center senior botanist Damon Waitt. Sadly they didn’t expect the Panhandle, South or West Texas to fare as well, though some drought-tolerant blooming wildflowers may still appear.
Pack a lunch or pack a bag and head out on the road to see mother nature’s spring show in East Texas!
Wind down Texas 21, or the El Camino Real, through Sabine, San Augustine, Nacogdoches, Cherokee and Houston counties. See splashes of wildflowers all along the way and see some of the oldest history in the state. Places of interest include: Nacogdoches, the oldest town in Texas and home to the largest azalea garden in Texas, Houston County, the first county established under the Republic of Texas, Mission Tejas State Park, and the ancient Caddo Indian Mounds State Historic Site.
Visit Palestine for dogwood viewing opportunities. The rolling hills of Davey Dogwood Park are dappled in white and pink blooms. Palestine’s Dogwood Trails were listed in Texas Monthly’s “The Bucket List: 63 Things All Texans Should Do Before They Die at #53. Palestine is also home to some of the oldest architecture in the state, second only to Galveston as well as the Texas State Railroad.
Start your wildflower drive in Marshall. Head north along Texas 43 from Marshall to Karnack. This drive may yield bull thistle, coreopsis, and, at the edge of the woods, beardtongue. In low-lying areas, keep your eyes peeled for common rose mallow and giant coneflower, the latter with yellow blooms that can soar six feet high. Take FM 2198 to Uncertain, where crimson clover and coreopsis often bloom, along with partridge pea, downy phlox, bluebonnets, Mexican hats, and wild indigo. Heavily wooded Caddo Lake State Park curves around Saw Mill Pond and connects to Lake Caddo. On park trails, look for blooming Spanish moss. Take a canoe or kayak ride and paddle past floating bladderwort, blooming cabomba, fragrant water lily, and American lotus among the moss-shrouded bald cypress trees. Then make your way back to Texas 43 and continue north to Atlanta, and take US 59 to Linden. Along the way you will see coreopsis, crimson clover, spiderwort, phlox, and bachelor buttons gracing the landscape. Continue on Texas 155 to the tiny town of Avinger, then Texas 49 to Jefferson. Jefferson was a bustling port in the 1840s, but faded when the railroad arrived in Marshall. You will find plenty of East Texas mansions turned Bed and Breakfasts, and historically haunted palces.
For wildflower-viewing in northeast Texas, check out the 35th annual Wildflower Trails of Texas celebration in Hughes Springs, Linden, and Avinger April 21-23. A full spate of events, including parades, arts and crafts shows, plant sales, a trail ride, and live music, will help ring in the beginning of blooming season. At any of the three participating towns, you can pick up a free map for a 25-mile driving tour. Call 903/639-7519.
Finally, from April 15 through May 31, Henderson serves as the hub for the Annual East Texas Wildflower Trails. Three driving trails, which cover some 135 miles of gorgeous East Texas scenery, making for splendid spring sightseeing. Call (866)6505529 or visit www.hendersontx.com.
Visit a state park in East Texas and experience the beauty of the Pineywoods up close.
For updates on which flowers are blooming in your area, call the Texas Department of Transportation’s wildflower hotline: (800)452-9292.
We want to see your East Texas wildflower photos! Email us your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add them to our gallery!