Austin to Rancho Richey Refuge

From North Austin: take Airport Boulevard south till it becomes US 183, go straight.
From South Austin: take Ben White (TX 71) east under IH 35 to Burleson Road, turn right and get to US 183.

In a nutshell: You’re driving south on 183 to Luling, where you’ll go straight onto TX 80. You DON’T TURN till you get to the Rancho gate.

00.0 - Propane store, 183 / Burleson Road intersection—Zero your mileage here and head south on US 183.

0.2 - Onion Creek - Begins in the Hill Country near Henly, cascades through McKinney Falls State Park, where it’s fed by Williamson Creek a few miles to the west, and flows into the Colorado River downstream of Austin.

1.8 - Plaza Mexico arena - Small hills behind are all that’s left of Pilot Knob, the only extinct volcano around. Down the long slope is the fertile Blackland Prairie, a tall-grass region extending from south of San Antonio to the Illinois Corn Belt.

2.4 - historical marker (missing) - More information about the Knob.

2.6 - Dry Creek - North Fork, then South; begins just to the west, flows northeast under TX 71 to the Colorado; famous for floods.

4.6 - San Francisco Church - Mission-style in stone with grotto. Just beyond is Creedmoor-Maha water-supply tank serving two small towns to the east and west.

5.2 - Mustang Ridge - Separate incorporated city. Optionally merge here with Texas Toll 130, a complete monstrosity—fast, but for a price.

8.7 - Maha Ridge - Separates Maha Creek from Cedar Creek.

10.3 - county line - From Travis into Caldwell.

10.6 - a prairie home - Erlich House: pyramid roof, dormers, porch, square shape - great!

11.0 - TX 21 overpass (no turn) - Now a modern highway, it’s the Old San Antonio Road, earliest thoroughfare in Texas. Originally connected Nacogdoches to Presidio San Juan Bautiste (near Eagle Pass) via Bxar; blazed by Louis J. de Saint-Denis in 1714.

12.3 - Mendoza - Village near headwaters of Cedar Creek, named for an early settler.

13.5 - LCRA lines - High-voltage electricity from Fayette power plant; former Bluebonnet Farm.

15.5 - basin-boundary ridge - Divides Colorado and Guadalupe river watersheds; view of microwave transmission tower atop Lone Man Mountain, 25 miles W. Low hills to the southeast are the Iron Mountains, which trend southwestward through your ultimate destination, Belmont.

16.5 - FM 1185 - (no turn) - At road to Lytton Springs, enter Post Oak Savanna. Despite utter destruction of woods to your left, you can still perceive the namesake trees and the region’s boundary.

18.6 - Main Fork of Plum Creek - Begins near Kyle, flows into San Marcos River below Luling. Site of horrific Comanche/Texian running battle in 1840.

20.3 - Lockhart - North city limit; TX 130 veers SW.

21.2 - Kreutz Market - Excellent barbecue; Union Pacific RR overpass, Town Creek, cane break.

21.5 - town square - View of 1890s Victorian courthouse, domed Clark Library beyond.

22.4 - FM 20 (no turn) - To Lockhart State Park, built 1930s by Civilian Conservation Corps.

24.1 - South city limit, bye Lockhart - halfway there!

25.6 - Clear Fork of Plum Creek - Begins southeast of Kyle, flows through Lockhart State Park.

26.8 - FM 671 (no turn) - Alternate route to Luling through Joliet and Mineral Springs.

27.7 - former Rest Area - On the right

28.9 - former Rest Area - On the left

30.8 - West Fork of Plum Creek - Double bridge; up hill on left is what used to be a emu farm.

32.9 - Carter Airport - Luling is within aroma—hold your nose!

33.6 - ridge - Luling panorama

36.1 - Oil City - Davis Log House, antique derrick

36.3 - Southern Pacific RR - TX 80 S (go straight, DO NOT TURN!!!) - Named for a rail company president’s wife, the town fronts the tracks. Site of annual Watermelon Thump in June. Note decorated pump jacks.

37.3 - San Marcos River - South city limit, Guadalupe County line, with Zedler’s Mill’s horizontal water wheel on your right and the bunker-like city park bathhouse to the left.

38.6 - IH 10 overpass (no turn) - From Florida to California, the most southern coast-to-coast interstate.

41.4 - Smith Creek - Flows northeast into the San Marcos.

41.8 - county line - Enter Gonzales County; note pavement and speed-limit change.

44.2 - ridge top - Divides San Marcos and Guadalupe river basins.

44.6 - Dillworth community - Spring on left almost always flows; pink building on right is old rural Black school house.

44.9 - St. James Church - founded and pastored years ago by Jesus Garcia, father of James Garcia, current RRR leasee.

45.7 - Neasloney Wildlife Management Area - operated by Texas Parks and Wildlife, with nature trail.

47.8 - Four-way stop (no turn) - Up slope to right is Belmont, home of Belmont Social Club and fair barbecue.

48.5 - Guadalupe River - “Watercourse of the Wolf,” rises in the Edwards Plateau from two forks above Hunt in Kerr County.

48.7 - Rancho Richey Refuge - Turn right at second gate (past Gate One). Look for the big vinyl sign and flagging. At this Main Gate, call Howie for access instructions. Welcome!

Compliments of Howie Richey, Texpert
Camp-outs, Natural History Tours, Presentations
mob: 512-627-4097