Hill Country: Scenic TX 16, Farm To Market 337

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As Day 4 began, I hoped to accomplish two goals.  For one, I needed to make my way across Texas, which as you know, is a very big state.  My motel reservations were in Van Horn — that’s a 371 mile drive on I-10 with no detours.  I’m not exactly a no-detours kind of guy, so naturally I found a way to make the drive even longer, by adding on another goal: a scenic drive through the Texas Hill Country.

From Kerrville, drive south on TX-16 to Medina, then follow FM-337 west to Camp Wood.  By then, you’ll be almost out of the Hill Country, and with the scenery getting a little less exciting, it’s time to pick up the pace.  TX-55 leads to US 277, which will take you back to I-10.  This route will add 56 miles to the drive to Van Horn.

No, this isn’t where I stayed (even though I do appreciate a good bargain).  I found this old sign as I entered Medina, the first of several small Hill Country towns along the route.

Before you turn from TX-16 onto FM-337 for the westbound drive, keep going just a few blocks on 16 to see Medina’s downtown.  There is a cafe and a few stores.

About ten minutes west of Medina, FM-337 reaches one of its most beautiful spots.  When you get to the top of this hill, be sure you turn around and look back at the valley through which you just passed.

During the next 15 minutes or so, the road curves and climbs.  It’s a very fun road to drive, and it’s especially popular with motorcycle riders.

About halfway between Medina and Vanderpool, the road reaches a high point, and there are a couple of nice viewpoints (and at least one picnic area) at the side of the highway.  Stop and enjoy the view, then dip down into…

Vanderpool

There are a few more tourist-friendly businesses at this crossroads in Vanderpool (where FM 337 crosses FM 187).  Stop and fuel up your car or your stomach, if necessary.

If you’re visiting the Hill Country during the fall, be sure to drive up FM 187, a few miles north of Vanderpool, to check out the foliage at Lost Maples State Natural Area.  It’s one of the few places in Texas that comes alive with colorful autumn leaves in October and November.  Check out the park’s website for leaf-peeping updates.
After another 25 minutes of enjoyably twisty roads, you’ll come to…

Leakey

The small town of Leakey is the county seat of Real County, and home to a few hundred people.  Its small downtown has a few businesses that might be worth a stop.

As much as you’d like to call it “leaky”, like a faucet, the locals would much prefer that you pronounce their town as “LAY-kee”.

I didn’t know that, as I chuckled at the name of their high school team, the “Leakey Eagles”.  Though, the thought of a convocation of incontinent Eagles flying over the heads of the other team does sound pretty intimidating.  (For another good photo-op, you might want to look for the Leakey water tower in town.)

Drivelapse Video

Here’s the time-lapse, dash-cam video of the drive from Kerrville to Medina, and on to Vanderpool…

… and Vanderpool, through Leakey, to Camp Wood, Texas:

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