10 Best Scenic Drives In Texas, The USA

scenic drives in texas
| 4 min read

The second-largest state in the USA is Texas and it does have a lot of nature to offer. Don’t think that Texas is all just barren desert; there are actually green grasslands, sandy coastlines, and stunning mountain ranges as well. And what better way to enjoy these breathtaking views than with a scenic drive. Driving through these hilly roads or sand-dusted paths is a peaceful yet exciting way to reconnect you with nature. Plus, there are sights to see such as lakes or summits and plenty of things to do like fishing or hiking should you ever want a quick pit stop. Listed below are the best scenic drives in Texas, the USA.

1. Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive

Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive
Source: Photo by Flickr user Jonathan Cutrer used under CC BY 2.0

Located in Big Bend National Park, the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive is a popular one for many who are around the area. Don’t think that all you’ll see is desert, there are cacti blooming all around and birds will be whizzing past you all the time. You’ll even catch a glimpse of unique desert plants like the prickly pear or Juniper cactus so keep your eyes sharp. Along the drive, you’ll see Sam Nail Ranch with its humble windmill, as well as the deep and narrow Tuff Canyon that’s a spectacular sight.

2. Old Texas Highway 134

Mill Pond Caddo Lake
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user dustin.askins used under CC BY 2.0

Old Texas Highway 134 is a 59-mile (95 kilometres) drive that’s ideal for autumn when the leaves are falling. Nature lovers are going to have a blast as the drive feels like a highway straight into the horizon, with beautiful, yellow, rustic trees lining your way. En route, you’ll go past Lake O’ The Pines, home of famed giant catfishes, for those who want to do some fishing. At the end of the drive lies Caddo Lake, a peaceful, tranquil environment to end your journey.

3. Willow City Loop

Willow City Loop
Source: Photo by Flickr user David used under CC BY 2.0

Willow City Loop is quite a short drive of only 13 miles (21 kilometres), but it is very much worth your time. Going across hills and creeks, the drive is green with short mountains looming in the distance. It is best enjoyed in spring when the wildflowers bloom, giving visitors a real treat. Be sure to look out for the bluebonnets! Take note that the land surrounding the drive is private, and hence it’s not advised to parking on the drive.

4. Trail of the Dinosaurs

Dinosaur Valley State Park
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Michael Barera used under CC BY-SA 4.0

At Dinosaur Valley State Park, you can stand right where these prehistoric creatures used to roam the Earth. Along the way, you’ll find giant tracks that belong to these creatures which make for a good history lesson too. There’s also a museum called Dinosaur World that contains fossils and dinosaur models that’s both fun and educational. Don’t forget to stop at the souvenir shop for some dino goodies!

5. Highway 90/385

U.S. Highway 385 in Texas Panhandle
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Billy Hathorn used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Highway 90/385 is also known in Texas as the gateway to the Big Bend. The most notable feature of this drive is the looming Chisos Mountains that fill up your vision as you approach Big Bend National Park. The stunning sight of the behemoth mountain range is definitely worth the drive. To get the best possible view, follow along Highway 90 until it merges with Highway 385.

6. Devil’s Backbone

Devil's Backbone Tavern, Fischer, Texas
Source: Photo by Flickr user Nicolas Henderson used under CC BY 2.0

Devil’s Backbone isn’t just a scenic drive, it’s also one that’s filled with lots of history and spooky ghost stories. Legend has it that the drive is haunted by spirits of Native Americans, Spanish monks, and confederate soldiers. Aside from the stories, enjoy the views of gently sloping hills as you ride along the foothills. If you’re tired, you can stop by Devil’s Backbone Tavern for a short break along with a few pints of beer. You might even get lucky and catch some live performances there.

7. Lonesome Highway

Guadalupe Mountains
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Adavyd used under CC BY-SA 3.0

There’s a reason why it’s called the Lonesome Highway - this stretch of road makes you feel like you’re the only car as far as the eye can see, with no buildings or towns in the distance. It’s remarkably serene and peaceful as you just drive across this untouched land. It makes you feel as if you own the road as you ride into the distance. Along the drive, you’ll encounter a rare water feature in the Pecos River. At the end, the Guadalupe Mountains will greet you and bring you back to civilisation.

8. Bluewater Highway

Surfside Beach, Texas
Source: Photo by Flickr user Mike Cole used under CC BY 2.0

Bluewater Highway, as the name suggests, runs along the coast and brings you close to the beach. In fact, there are stretches of road that are quite literally next to the sand and ocean itself. You’ll find plenty of birds too such as the beautiful yellow-headed blackbird or elegant white-tailed kite. If you’re looking to have some fun at the beach, stop by Surfside Beach for a quick break. Be sure to pack your swimming gear and some sunscreen.

9. Davis Mountains Scenic Loop

Davis Mountains
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Daniel Schwen used under CC BY-SA 2.5

Davis Mountains Scenic Loop is Texas’ highest highway and goes through a stunning, lush mountain range. You’ll catch the grandest view of Texas as you drive through the mountains, looking down on the stretch of the desert below. Coupled with blue skies, the scenery is something out of a Bob Ross painting. On the way, you’ll pass by Fort Davis, Texas’ highest town at nearly 5,000 feet (1,524 metres). A popular spot to stop at is McDonald Observatory where visitors use some of the telescopes to look at the stars.

10. Enchanted Rock

Best Scenic Drives In Texas, The USA
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Claygate used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Enchanted Rock is a mountain made of pink granite that has earned its name based on legends, fairytales, and folklore. It does feel mystical and magical as the pink structure slowly fades into vision, highlighted by the green trees that precede it. Aside from the titular mountain, the surrounding Enchanted Rock State Natural Area has plenty of things to do if you want to make a pit stop. There are plenty of hiking trails if you want to get your feet active, or you can even do some rock climbing.

Go on a scenic drive in Texas

A scenic drive is the best way to clear your head, relax, and just simply appreciate all that nature has to offer. Whether it’s lush green trees or a tranquil desert of stunning mountains, the views are going to be spectacular. Use the guide to find the best scenic drives in Texas!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Born in Hanoi and moved across London to Sydney to Singapore - I'm your typical starry-eyed student with a heart to explore the world, just one who's too poor to travel but does so anyway.

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