The Texas Hill Country offers a rare combination of rugged natural beauty, small town charm, and big city accessibility, making it the perfect destination for a nature photography expedition. Because the Block Creek Natural Area is located in the heart of the Hill Country, photographers and non-photographers alike will find something memorable.
The landscape, which includes rolling vistas, sparkling streams, creeks and waterfalls, ancient gnarled oaks, jutting boulders, and unusual land forms, offers a wealth of photographic opportunity. The soils here range from shallow on the hillsides to deep in the creek bottoms, providing support for a wide range of indigenous plant life, including shimmering native grasses, and of course, the world-famous wildflowers that color our spring. In autumn, the many different trees turn to shades of blazing yellow, orange and red, making the Hill Country one of the few places in Texas where there is fall color.
Obviously, a diverse landscape and diverse plant life mean there is diverse wildlife along with diverse scenics. Unlike other areas of Texas that are known for birds or for other specialty species, the Hill Country is known for its Eden-like abundance. Here it is possible to capture dynamic images of landscapes, waterscapes, birds, insects, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals on the same ranch. (For a complete list of critters, please see our species page.)
Of course, a photography getaway in the Texas Hill Country doesn’t have to be confined by our ranch boundaries. The region is rife with things to see, things to do, and images to capture. The Willow City Loop, a mere 30 minutes away, is renowned for its wildflowers and Enchanted Rock, located next door in Gillespie County, is a feast of ever-changing light that once was hallowed ground for the Comanche Indians. If you’re in the mood for more outdoor adventures, hiking, biking, and star-gazing are readily available. The Highland Lakes are a wonderland for water lovers offering a chance for endless fishing, water sports and spectacular sunsets.
Small towns such as Comfort, Fredericksburg and Bandera offer hometown hospitality and provide the opportunity for serious antiquing, shopping, sight-seeing, and dining. Each small town has its own unique personality that should be experienced. For instance, Fredericksburg is known for its Old World charm that can be traced to pioneering families who came from Germany seeking opportunity in Texas, while Bandera is known as the “Cowboy Capital of Texas” and is home to dude ranches, rodeos, dances and western flair. Comfort offers antiquing at it’s best in numerous family-run shops.
The list of other image-making opportunities close to the Block Creek Natural area is almost limitless: wineries, lavender farms, bat colonies, railroad trestles, old barns, farming and ranching activities, and on and on.
While we think that rural Texas is just about perfect, we understand that some people need a dose of city lights. For those who need some hustle and bustle, San Antonio is just 50 miles away. This flavorful city is one of the nation’s largest and is a top-ranked tourist destination in its own right. Within its city limits, you can enjoy everything from it’s acclaimed zoo to the Riverwalk to the Alamo to Sea World to the four-time NBA champion Spurs. Our state capital, Austin, is an easy 90-minute drive from here as well. Known for its eclectic sensibility, Austin offers live music, a wealth of state history, the Bullock Museum, and the University of Texas campus. (To check out some of the many things to do, see our nearby attractions page.)
Visit BCNA to photograph and avail yourself of the many other exciting things the Texas Hill Country has to offer!
The Laurels Ranch is part of the ranch originally founded in 1887 by renowned architect Alfred Giles. Six generations have lived on and cared for the ranch.
Myrna and David K. Langford (great-grandson of Giles), live on the ranch today and will welcome their nature photographer guests.
The Langfords maintain evening and morning photo settings year-round. The water features, creeks, and springs attract plentiful birds, insects, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. (Please see our species page.) There is also plenty of room for photographing plants, scenics, landscapes, waterscapes, and hilltop vistas…as well as for hiking and birding. There are several lightweight camo-draped blinds for getting those close photos. For photographers planning overnight stays, the night-time skies are dark, allowing for some spectacular star viewing and photography.
There is a fully restored circa-1900 caboose available for overnight stays on The Laurels Ranch. The Caboose features central heat and air, bunk beds and has complete (although cramped) bathroom facilities. Bring everything you need with you, including sleeping bags, pillows, and towels.
No meals are provided by The Laurels Ranch. There are a few restaurants in Comfort, and many in Fredericksburg. Both communities are 12 miles from The Laurels Ranch, and each also have grocery and convenience stores.
Price: The Caboose may be reserved for $200 per night for a maximum of two people, plus Texas Occupancy Tax. (We may allow more than two if a family wishes to reserve the caboose. Call us for info.)
Primitive restroom facilities are available for those not booking The Caboose.
A sanctuary for wildlife nestled in the middle of several very large,
old ranches and adjacent to The Laurels Ranch. This unique property
is only thirty acres, although it seems much larger. Block Creek and
Elm Bottom Creek flow through the property year round. A two-acre lake
on the property is a magnet for various species of native wildlife.
Located two miles from pavement in Kendall County, and about twelve
miles from Fredericksburg or Comfort, Texas.
Turkey Hollow offers permanent year-round feeding stations and photo blinds for numerous species of birds and wildlife. The clear water in the lake is a natural draw for such birds as King Fishers, Rio Grande turkeys, various ducks and numerous cranes, hawks, shore birds as well as deer, turtles, dragonflies, snakes and much more. (Please click on “Species Lists” button for more complete info.) One photo blind is located behind the spillway of the lake, which makes the camera at water level. Hiking and birding are also available for your pleasure. For photographers planning overnight stays, the night-time skies are dark, allowing for some spectacular star viewing and photography.
Block Creek Bed & Breakfast is a functioning year-round guest house and is country living at its finest. A historic 1890 German style rock cottage which has been restored to its original beauty and will accommodate one couple.
Block Creek Bed & Breakfast is furnished with a queen size wrought iron bed, claw-foot bathtub and shower, pedestal sink and other antiques. View birds and wildlife from the comfort of your bedroom or from your table while eating breakfast or lunch. Central air and heat will keep you comfortable or, open the windows and let the breezes and sounds of the night put you to sleep and be awakened by the early morning sounds of songbirds. Staying here includes homemade continental breakfast.
Prices: Block Creek Bed & Breakfast may be reserved for $150 per night for a maximum of two people, plus applicable tax.
The Cabin on Block Creek is more rustic and will accommodate two people also. It is used as a hunting cabin for an adjoining ranch’s hunters from October through January, but is available to photographers the balance of the year. Furnished with a double bed and twin bed, it sleeps two comfortably, has a shower and many windows for viewing wildlife. Open the windows and you will hear Block Creek.
The Block Creek Cabin may be reserved for $125 per night for a maximum of two people. Arrangements may be made for additional guests for an additional $50 per person, plus applicable tax.
©2007 Block Creek Natural Area—Kendall County, Texas.
All text and images copyrighted, all rights reserved. No usage allowed, of any kind, without express written permission.