"Devil’s Backbone” (or “Devil’s Back Bone") is one of the most scenic drives in Texas, a loop through Texas Hill Country from Wimberley to Blanco. The route along State Highway 32 runs for 122 miles on a winding ridge that originally made it difficult for wagons to pass each other.
The expressive name “Devil’s Backbone” is cited in print from at least 1910 and appears to date from the 19th century, when a nearby creek was named “Purgatory” and a place was named “Hell’s Half Acre.”
Handbook of Texas Online
DEVIL’S BACKBONE (Comal County). The Devil’s Backbone, a ridge in northeastern Comal County, is on the Hays county line thirteen miles north of New Braunfels (at 29°56’ N, 98°10’ W). The ridge runs east to west, rising to an elevation of 1,274 feet at a roadside park on State Highway 32. It lies in an area of the Balcones Escarpment characterized by flat to rolling terrain with locally deep and dense dissection and generally shallow to deep loamy soil with rock outcrops. Local vegetation consists mainly of live oak and Ashe juniper woods.
Texas Motorcycle Roads & Routes
Wimberley - Devil’s Backbone - Blanco - Luckenbach - Fredericksburg Loop
Submitted by: GroundPounder
Approximate Distance: 122 miles / 196.34 km
Time to Allow: Got a free afternoon? This ride will take 2-4 hours.
Best Time to Go: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
One of Texas most scenic drives, officially R.M. 32, the “Devil’s Backbone” is a winding, razor-backed ridge overlooking Hill Country vistas. Extends from R.R. 12 just south of Wimberley, west some 24
miles to near Blanco.
1 November 1910, San Antonio (TX) Light and Gazette, “San Marcos Hunters Get Away Early,” pg. 4, col. 1:
George Donalson, Steve Minot and E. M. Salley left yesterday for the Devil’s Backbone country to be on the ground the very first day.
6 June 1915, San Antonio (TX) Light, “Experiences of Pioneer Settlers in Blanco County” by Captain A. J. Sowell, Retired Ranger, pg. 20, col. 2:
From San Marcos we turned west on a road that had been made through the mountains by Germans who were settling a colony at Fredericksburg and some Americans who had preceded us to the Blanco. Our men folks had already been to the valley and built houses. We went up a creek called Purgatory, passed a place called “Hell’s Half Acre,” and then went across the “Devil’s Back Bone.” The latter place was the divide between the Guadalupe river and the Blanco and was very narrow, two wagons barely having room to pass each other should they happen to meet there. One could stand on this divide with a rock in each hand and throw one into the Guadalupe valley and the other into that of the Blanco. There was a great deal of isinglass on this divide, and I can remember looking over the side of the wagon bed and watching the heavy wheels crush it.
(Account of 1851?—ed.)
9 September 1952, San Antonio (TX) Express, “How Did You Spend Your Vacation?,” pg. 6, col. 3:
WILLARD WOODRING, 410 Halliday Ave.:
“With my wife and little girl, Diane, at Wimberley in the Devil’s Backbone country.”
24 May 1964, Del Rio (TX) News-Herald, pg. 7B, col. 2:
The hill country west of San Marcos is noted for its beauty, with the Devil’s Backbone a noted scenic attraction. The village of Wimberley, at the base of the Devil’s Backbone, is a popular resort.
7 June 1964, San Antonio (TX) Express and News, “Sunday Tours: Simple, Scenic Beauty” by Clarence LaRoche, pg. 3H, col. 5:
WIMBERLEY—They call it the Devil’s Backbone, but a drive through this spectacular, high country certainly reflects no evil, as the name might imply.
If anything, this scenic tour offers the motorist a moving box seat right next to heaven.
High, wooded hills roll away, tier behind tier, fading off into the distance. What begins as rows of high, green mounds gradually change and deepen in color until they’re deep blue and purple standing misty against a smoky sky far away.
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (1) Comments • Tuesday, May 20, 2008 • Permalink
This is a wonderful drive. We especially like it around Christmas time. The Lights are beautiful in Wimberly and there are other things to do there. I would recommend staying there on a Friday or Saturday night. The next day, make the Devils Backbone drive to Blanco. Blanco usually has an extensive Christmas light display. After spending a while in Blanco, head north to Johnson City and see the lights at the local electric COOP building. You can tell that the get cheap electricity. Thanks for the article