There is so much to do in wonderful Wimberley in the Texas Hill Country. Market Days, fun shops, outstanding food, world-class wineries, and all the arts and culture you would expect from a Texas Cultural District. In this article, I will focus on outdoor activities in the Wimberley area. Whether jumping into the crystal-clear waters of Jacob’s Well or the Blue Hole, driving the Devil’s Backbone, or hiking Old Baldy, there is something for everyone is this outdoor paradise.
Just ten minutes north of town, Jacob’s Well is an artesian spring, with 68 degree waters rising from the Trinity Aquifer about 140 feet below the surface. Jacob’s Well is at the headwaters of Cypress Creek, which empties into the Blanco River near Wimberley. Along with the adjoining limestone caves and passages, it forms one of the longest underwater cave systems in Texas.
When the thermometer is flirting with triple digits in the summer heat of central Texas, the cool waters are a welcome relief. There is no fee to visit the well and look around, but there is a fee to swim. Visitors who want to swim must make reservations at the Hays County website and pay $5 for children and $9 for adults. Reservations allow for a two-hour window when they can jump and swim, and there is a limit of 60 people for each two-hour window.
A quick word about safety. Like many outdoor attractions, Jacob’s Well can be a safe place to enjoy the beauty of mother nature. To ensure a safe visit, go over the posted rules before anyone starts jumping in. Avoid injuries that could spoil the outing for everyone.
In addition to the half mile walk from the parking lot to Jacob’s Well, there are also some nice hiking trails and an informative Nature Center. Warblers Trail meanders through a thickly wooded habitat, and the North Trail winds around for a nice overview of the twin peaks and the beautiful countryside.
Jacob’s Well, 1699 Mount Sharp Road
Take a spring fed creek lined with large cypress trees, add an expansive lawn to spread out on, a float and some cold drinks, and you have the makings of a great day in the hill country. Find a nice sunny spot to work on that tan, or move under some of the huge cypress trees for a shady area to relax, read, and people watch. When the mood hits, head into the refreshing water to swim, paddle, and cool off.
For the more adventurous, check out the rope swings. Launch your body from the padded dock or from a perch higher up in the tree over the middle of the creek for a big refreshing splash. It is exhilarating to fly into the cool waters, and can be quite entertaining to watch the wide spectrum of experienced and novice swingers try their turn.
The Blue Hole, 333 Blue Hole Ln
Wimberley Zipline Adventures
For an exciting, thrilling experience gliding through the Texas Hill Country, check out Wimberley Zipline Adventures. Located just minutes south of Wimberley on the scenic Four Winns’ Ranch, trained guides will lead you on an educational walking tour of the area before taking you on a 1 – 1 ½ hour adventure ziplining with 15 mile views of beautiful Wimberley Valley.
Wimberley Zipline Adventures, 300 Winn Valley Drive
The Blanco Rivers offers fishing, swimming, kayaking and canoeing to water enthusiasts. Check current river conditions before you head out – some areas are dry or have very low waters, while other areas could be treacherous after heavy rains. One 20 mile stretch between Wimberley and Kyle is popular with kayakers and canoers. There are other areas open to canoes and kayaks, but again, check current conditions because water levels can change dramatically.
The Devil’s Backbone
Especially popular among bikers, The Devil’s Backbone is a stretch of winding highway atop a limestone ridge twisting through the middle of the Texas Hill Country from Wimberley to Blanco. Legend has it that the backbone is haunted. Stop at The Devil’s Backbone Tavern and listen to the locals tell stories about Indian ghosts, the disappearing lady in white, or confederate soldiers riding their horses at night.
If nothing else, the scenery is great, the company entertaining, and the beer is cold. In fact, I enjoyed a cold Miller Lite for $2.25 while sitting at the bar among the vintage jukebox, old neon signs, and a couple of elderly gentlemen involved in a heated game of shuffleboard. Leave your mark by writing a message on a dollar bill, and Michelle or one of the other ladies behind the bar will help you tack in on the ceiling for future visitors to see.
Mount Baldy, also known as Prayer Mountain, looms above the houses in a north Wimberley subdivision. Now owned by Trinity Church, the mountain is still open to the public. A small parking lot lies across from the 218 stone steps leading up to the top. After a relatively easy climb, visitors are rewarded with a 360-degree view of the gorgeous Wimberley Valley area. Sunsets here can be magnificent.
Mount Baldy, 34 La Toya Cir
For the golfers out there, Quicksand Golf Course at Woodcreek is a private 18-hole golf course surrounded by the charm of the Texas Hill Country. Green fees with cart are $35 Mon – Thu, and $45 Fri – Sun. The course is well kept and the staff and players are friendly and accommodating.
Quicksand Golf Course, 1 Pro Lane
Where to stay: Blockhaus Lodge
These newly renovated cabins, complete with a small kitchen, are the perfect place to station yourself when visiting Wimberley. Make yourself at home in the spacious bedroom with a couch and small table, along with nice cool air conditioning and a very comfortable bed. Blockhaus offers twelve units, and the location is perfect. In fact, you can walk to all the festivities for Market Days, and downtown, HEB, the Blue Hole, Jacob’s Well, shops, and restaurants are only a few minutes’ drive away.
And after a day of shopping and outdoor activities, there is even a small onsite pool for a refreshing swim to cool off after those warm summer days. Blockhaus is managed by Hill Country Premier Lodging, which also has other choice rentals throughout the Wimberley area.
Blockhaus, 712 FM 2325, Management Office at 13600 Ranch Road 12
Where to Eat: Jobell Café and Bistro
Jobell Café and Bistro is New York City’s gift to Wimberley. When David Boder, born and bred in New York City, and his beautiful wife, Jessenia, decided to leave their home in the Big Apple with their two small children, fate drew them to the small rural town of Wimberley. David and Jess bought a house and an older building, determined to start a successful restaurant in their new hometown. David, a former building contractor, worked seven days a week for the first few years to transform the old building into the beautiful, stylish Jobell’s, one of the nicest restaurants in Wimberley.
Named after David and Jess’ two children, Josh and Isabella, Jobell’s is a study in casual elegance. It is evident that David, Jess, Head Chef Mike Massora, and the staff at Jobell’s take great pride in the quality of their food, their service, and the relationships they are building with their customers. Jobell’s is truly a labor of love.
The atmosphere is stylish but professional, and diners are treated like old friends. When we came on a Friday for lunch, for starters my wife had the Heirloom Tomatoes with Sunflower Sprouts and I tried their homemade Pork Verde soup, a delicious combination of pureed artichokes, tender pork, jalapeños, and spices. For our main courses, my wife had the Jobell House Salad, with apples, shallots, caramelized walnuts, blue cheese and an apple cider vinaigrette. I had the Market Pasta, a flavorful concoction of fresh pasta, sundried tomatoes, spinach, and a delicious cream sauce.
Knowing that Chef Mike had worked for years in the Florida Keys, my wife and I shared the out of this world Key Lime Pie for dessert. So good, and a perfect ending to a wonderful meal. If you are fortunate to spend some time in the Wimberley area, be sure to put Jobell’s on your itinerary for brunch, lunch or dinner. Have a great meal and make some new friends. You will not be disappointed.
Jobell Cafe and Bistro, 16920 Ranch Road 12
Each time my wife and I come to Wimberley, we discover something new. A new restaurant, a new shop, a new adventure, a new piece of mother nature. And each time, we meet new friends. There is something about the beauty of Wimberley Valley, the arts, the rolling hills, and the clear, crisp waters of Cypress Creek and the Blanco River, that attract the nicest people. Come see for yourself why Wimberley is on so many people’s list of must see places in the Texas Hill Country.
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