Get Out! Explore Texas Fun Stuff Wild Things

The Texas Hill Country is located in Central Texas. The land is rolling to hilly grassland. It sits on the Edwards Plateau. A plateau is high, flat land. Over many millions of years, this plateau has been eroded into a hilly terrain. There are many springs and some steep canyons in this area.

There are also hidden, underground lakes in the Edwards Aquifer. An aquifer is an underground layer of rock or sand that captures and holds water. The underlying limestone rock of the Edwards Aquifer has many holes and caves with water running through it. Water comes to the surface as springs through cracks in the limestone. This aquifer provides drinking water for 1.5 million people, as well as for farming and wildlife habitat. People who like to explore caves enjoy the caves of the Hill Country.

photo provided by aquarena springs

San Marcos Underground Springs

Central Texas was once a land of many springs. Human use and development has stopped the flow of many springs. One spring that still flows is at the bottom of a lake! The San Marcos Springs are found at Texas State University's Aquarena Springs. People ride glass-bottom boats to see them. It is a favorite spot for divers who come to see water bubbling out of the ground!

Enchanted Rock State Park

In the central part of this region, there are large granite domes or uplifted areas. The most famous one is Enchanted Rock near Fredericksburg. This was considered a sacred (holy) place for the Native Americans that lived here long ago. This central area not only has unique rock formations, such as Enchanted Rock, but it also has unique minerals.

Learn more about its wildlife and history.

Topography and Characteristics

Major River: Colorado, Guadalupe, Nueces,
Major Aquifer: Edwards, Carrixo-Wilcox
Size: Edwards Plateau: 31,000 sq mi, Llano Uplift: 5,000 sq mi

The Edwards Plateau region comprises an area of central Texas commonly known as the Texas Hill Country. It is a land of many springs, stony hills, and steep canyons. The region is home to a whole host of rare plants and animals found nowhere else on earth.

Today, the Edwards Plateau is characterized by oak and juniper, however grasslands and savannahs were more common in pre-settlement times than they are today.

The Llano Uplift is also known as the central mineral region. Although surrounded by the Edwards Plateau region, the Llano Uplift has unique geology. Home to some of the oldest rocks in Texas, the central mineral region contains unique minerals and rock formations. The region is characterized by large granite domes, such as Enchanted Rock near Fredericksburg.

The landscape is rolling to hilly. Soils are predominantly coarse textured sands, produced from weathered granite over thousands of years.

Major Cities / Rainfall / Elevation

Average Rainfall: 15-34 in./yr
Average Net Evaporation rate: 16-32 inches

Elevation ranges from 500 to 2,250 feet above sea level.

Austin - 33.65 in. / 621 ft.
Big Lake - 18.79 in. / 2,690 ft.
Blanco - 34.75 in. / 1,370 ft.
Boerne - 37.36 in. / 1,444 ft.
Brackettville - 22.79 in. / 1,118 ft.
Brady - 27.63 in. / 1,720 ft.
Camp Wood - 27.99 in. / 1,470 ft.
Del Rio - 18.80 in. / 999 ft.
Fredericksburg - 31.65 in. / 1,685 ft.
Junction - 23.24 in. / 1,747 ft.
Rocksprings - 24.76 in. / 2,400 ft.
San Saba - 27.72 in. / 1,195 ft.
Sonora - 22.40 in. / 2,138 ft.

Data source: National Climate Datat Center, U.S. Dept of Commerce.

Common Vegetation

Bluestem grass
Grama grass
Wild rye
Curly mesquite
Live oak
Shinnery oak
Bald cypress
Black willow
Marsh purslane
Water pennywort

Learn more on our Wildscapes page: Plant Guidance for the Edwards Plateau

Rare Plants

Texas snowbells
Texas wild-rice
Tobusch fishhook cactus
Rock quillwort
Basin bellflower

Learn more about Endangered and Threatened Plants.

Common Wildlife

White-tailed deer
Rio Grande turkey
Brazilian freetail bat
Nine-banded armadillo
Northern mockingbird
Guadalupe bass
Cricket frog
Gulf Coast toads
Blue herons
Green-backed heron

Learn more about these animals on our Wildlife Fact Sheets.

Rare Animals & Habitats

Black-capped vireo: Rangelands with scattered clumps of shrubs separated by open grassland
Golden-cheeked warbler: Woodlands with tall Ashe juniper (sometimes called "cedar"), oaks, and other hardwood trees

Edwards Aquifer Species:

San Marcos salamander, Texas Blind salamander, San Marcos gambusia (fish), Fountain darter (fish): Spring fed waters of the San Marcos and Comal rivers in Central Texas

Learn more about Endangered and Threatened Species.