A blue plain spread out undulating before me. Much like a Monet painting, the blue and purple dots make up a sea that appears to be endless – waves rising and falling. I had always dreamed of seeing the Texas bluebonnets but never managed to find the time to travel during their peak. And honestly, Texas is a big state, and I was little overwhelmed with where to find the best place and when the best time to see them would be. I’d heard of a Texas Bluebonnet Trail but wasn’t sure where it is.
And guess what? This year I happened to have a three-day weekend during the Texas bluebonnets peak in Ennis, so I jumped at the chance to go see them.
Ennis is about a 4.5-hour drive from my home of Hot Springs, AR, and is about a 45-minute drive southwest of Dallas along I-45 in between Dallas and Houston.
Ennis is home to the “Official Texas Bluebonnet Trail,” having been designated as such in 1997 by the state legislature, according to the city’s website.
During the month of April, Ennis becomes alive with Texas bluebonnets. They are everywhere. The town boasts 40 miles of mapped bluebonnet trails.
Texas bluebonnet Trail App
In order to find the best places to view this sea of blue flowers, I downloaded Ennis’ app called “Ennis Y’all.”
On the app, you can find places to eat, shop, and stay, as well as what to do and see and the fun events they have. But what I found to be most helpful was the Trail Map.
The Trail Map shows you where to find the best field of bluebonnets. You also have the option to let it know your location. By doing that, the app shows you how to get to certain locations, as well as travel times.
I found the app extremely helpful in locating the best spots to see the sea of Texas bluebonnets.
However, some of the best fields I found were ones I came across when I got lost (the Right Kind Of Lost 😉 ) and got off the map. So I highly recommend exploring more than where the app takes you.
Highlights of the Texas B
One of the most popular spots is the Field of Dream, which is on the dirt road named Mach Road. Here you can look over fields of bluebonnets for what seems like forever.
Another spot I loved was along road FM 813 (Farm to Market Road 813) about 0.2 miles west of FM 879. Here there is a cute home (or church?) with a front yard full of the famous Texas bluebonnets along with some orange Indian paintbrush flowers to compliment. Look to your left and in the distance, you can see the Dallas skyline.
From this area, I drove back toward FM 879 but kept straight on FM 813 where I soon ran into a heard of Belgian horses. The app warned against feeding or petting the horses. However, the homeowners left a barrel of oats on the side of the road. A sign on the barrel encouraged visitors to feed the horses but warned them against overfeeding. This would be a great stop on the trail for children.
The place that I saw most covered in bluebonnets was along FM 85, northwest of the Field of Dreams. Here I made a wrong turn, trying to get back to the town of Ennis. I ended up at the intersection of Mach Road and FM 85. I saw all the cars pulled over and knew it was going to be a good location. And it did not disappoint.
The fields of blue framed by cedar trees reminded me of a Vincent van Gogh painting, although I couldn’t remember which one.
Private land/public land
The great majority of the fields of Texas bluebonnets are located on private land, however viewing them from the road is no problem. The places I mentioned above are all on private land.
Ennis strongly encourages viewers to please respect private property. And to tie in the Leave No Trace Principles, there were several times I found a good spot along the side of the road only to notice the trampled vegetation in a path to the fence line. I, apparently, wasn’t the only one who found that spot a pretty area. This showed me how easily the ground gets trampled.
But if you want to walk among the Texas bluebonnets, there are a few public lands where you can do that.
I camped at High View Park. A campground and picnic area on Bardwell Lake one mile west of the town of Ennis. This area is managed by the Corp of Engineers and is quite a lovely area during the bluebonnet season.
Another beautiful picnic area along Bardwell Lake is the Meadow View Nature Area. You can walk or drive along the road, which makes about a half-mile circle around a large field of bluebonnets.
The Kachina Prairie, 1900 W. Baldridge St., in the city limits of Ennis, is also a nice park where you can walk along with the bluebonnets. Although you don’t get the fields of bluebonnets like you to do in other places, the Kachina Prairie shows you a remnant of the Blackland Prairie. This prairie used to be much more extensive in east Texas. The Kachina Prairie shows what this original tallgrass prairie looked like before mass settlement in the area.
Non-flower related stops along the Texas Bluebonnet Trail
One great thing I loved about the Ennis Y’all app was it also included a little bit of the local flavor.
As a town with a rich Czech heritage, I had to stop by the Kolache Depot Bakery and try a kolache, a traditional Czech pastry. They also serve sandwiches and coffee.
As I made my way around the trail, I passed through the town of Bristol. Here I had to stop at the Bristol General Store. The app lists it as a restroom stop but also encourages visitors to try their sushi.
As a sushi fan, I had to give it a try. I joked when I got back home that I tried “gas station sushi.” But in all honesty, it was the best sushi I have had – very fresh and tasty. I could tell others thought so too because they were busy.
There is also an antique shop, Talico Treasures, a boutique gift shop, Apple Annie’s Garden Gate Floral & Gifts Shoppe, along the trail. For the history lover, the trail also takes you to the birthplace of Ernest Tubb, a pioneer in country music, and the Ennis Railroad and Culture Heritage Museum.
The Sugar Ridge Winery also provides a fun stop along the trail offering many different types of wines.
Where to stay
The Ennis Y’all App shows visitors many great places stay in and around Ennis. I chose to camp at the High View Park on Bardwell Lake. The third week of April is the great camping weather and I saved money on not booking a hotel room.