A hardy winter annual native to Texas and widely adopted as the “State Flower of Texas”, Bluebonnets are seen along roadsides and in uncultivated pastures throughout the state during spring. One of the best places to see these Texas Bluebonnet blooms are near Ennis, known as the Official Bluebonnet City of Texas.
Where flowers bloom so does hope.Lady Bird Johnson
Did you know somewhere in 1969, Lady Bird Johnson started handing out the Texas Highway Beautification Awards and writing personal checks to the winners. Which had people planting bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes, and black-eyed Susans in the hopes of winning her approval. Fast forward to 2021, driving out to see the wildflowers bloom is something Texans love to do come spring.
Located just 25 minutes south of downtown Dallas on IH-45, Ennis features wildflower trails that are the oldest such trails known in Texas. Thousands of visitors make the short trek to Ennis to view this wonderful wildflower show sponsored by the Ennis Garden Club.
The Ennis Bluebonnet Trails include 40 miles of mapped driving trails. Along this route, you will find fields of Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrush. The bluebonnet trails take you through scenic country roads, you can even see longhorns, horses, and picturesque barns, and even wineries – lots of photo opportunities!
The best part of the Ennis bluebonnet fields is that they are speckled with dashes of yellow daisies, purple prairie verbena, pink primroses and sometimes red Indian Paintbrush blooms.
Bluebonnet flowers aka Lupinus texensis (Fabaceae) are densely arranged on a spike with a characteristic ice white terminal tip. Bluebonnets are easy to grow from seed providing you do not have an overabundance of rainfall. Plant in well-drained soils and in a place that gets 8 hours of direct sun. Bluebonnets cannot tolerate poorly drained, clay based soils.
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Best time to find Bluebonnets in Texas
Texas bluebonnet begins blooming in early March, but the wildflowers do not peak in Ennis until April. Visit too early, and some of the flowers haven’t begun to bloom. Visit too late in the spring season, and the blue flowers have been overtaken by tall grasses. The best time to see the bluebonnet fields in Ennis is mid-April, 2nd or 3rd week is the best time to visit the Bluebonnet fields near Ennis.
If you missed the bluebonnets, you can visit Ennis to taste authentic Czech food, enjoy music, and dancing at the National Polka Festival held in May, see the Autumn Daze Fall Festival in October, and the December Christmas Parade of Lights. See other attractions and events in Ennis.
How to get to the Ennis Bluebonnet Trails
Driving the Ennis Bluebonnet country trail is free and worth the trip. There are several routes you can take on the Ennis Bluebonnet Trails – north trail, a south trail and a west trail. Which trail you should take really depends on the amount of time you have. Whether you want to spend driving the small picturesque country roads admiring the wildflowers, visit the quaint towns or if you are here just for the bluebonnet photos.
Located just west of the Ennis Visitor Center, the West Trail is the shortest bluebonnet trail in Ennis. It is great if you want to take photos. The trail is on public land and there is a park where kids can play or you can enjoy a little picnic on the grassy area right next to the bluebonnet fields. However, it is easy to get to and very close to the town, because of that, the west trail is typically the first of the Ennis Bluebonnet Trails everyone visits and it can be a little crowded.
South Trail takes you down rural roads lined with private ranches and pastures. You’ll find plenty of places to stop and see the wildflowers. The south trail is closer to the town of Ennis just across Interstate 45 from the downtown area.
The North Trail is the longest and considered the most beautiful drive. The trail starts just a little north of the town of Ennis. There is a small winery that makes for a great stop and bluebonnet photos. Most of the flower fields you will see along the North Trail are on private property. During the bluebonnet season, several of the property owners will have signs that welcome guests to take photos on their land. Look for the signs and do not trespass if you don’t see them.
A picnic among Bluebonnets
We have great plans to visit as many places on the trail but then we got our picnic blankets and rose bottle out and got settled in. While kids played in the soccer field at Veteran’s Park, we sat under the blue Texan sky… among carpets of bluebonnets… enjoying our salad, wine, good cheese, and oatmeal cookies bars. Just plain old-fashioned fun, nothing fancy!
If you didn’t bring a picnic, you can pick up a meal or snacks at one of the many stores on the main street in Ennis. I suggest a few fruit-filled kolaches from the Kolache Depot and some wine from a local winery, they have 15 different wines and have wine tasting and a bistro that offers take-outs.
Is it illegal to pick the Texas Bluebonnets?
While it is not illegal to pick the Texas Bluebonnets, it is frowned upon. We found a couple that was picked already and used it for the photo. It is best to leave the blooms as you found them so others can enjoy them as well.
Best place for Bluebonnets in Dallas
Patched of bluebonnets are easy to find in many parts of Texas, including Dallas. We even have a couple of small areas in our suburbs that have pretty blue blooms every spring.
The Bluebonnet Trail has a lot of bluebonnets. This hiking trail in Plano extends over 10 miles, connects to High Point Athletic Fields, Jack Carter Park, Carpenter Park and Recreation Center, and Archgate Park.
You can see bluebonnet patches at Arbor Hill in Plano and a big area of the median in Allen just outside Watterscreek is a popular spot for bluebonnet photos in Dallas.
Other places to find Bluebonnets in Texas
The Texas Hill Country is another great place where you can spot bluebonnets along with Texas paintbrushes, primrose, prairie verbena — you will find them the roadways in Austin, San Antonio, Fredericksburg, and San Marcos.
See this post for other great spots to see wildflowers in the US