At the crossroads of history and the highway, you'll find Bastrop. For miles around, there’s nothing but rolling hills and plains until a green thicket rises over the Central Texas horizon. The Lost Pines Forest is a 13-mile stretch of over 6,000 acres of loblolly pine trees with a unique characteristic: it grows over 100 miles from the East Texas Piney Woods that are its genetic match.
Native legends tell how these trees, much like all our visitors, found a home away from home here in Bastrop County. When a Native-American bride from East Texas became homesick after leaving her family, her groom went back for seeds to grow the trees she grew up with. Scientifically, geologists describe the mystery of the trees as the effect of a massive prehistoric glacier that separated the Central Texas loblollies from their East Texas counterparts. The separation so curiously described in both the legend and scientific data ultimately led to the name “Lost Pines Forest.”
Bastrop gained a rich heritage through being a disputed territory with boundaries drawn and redrawn by Native Americans, Mexicans, Europeans, Tejanos and Texians. The region was first discovered and mapped by Spanish explorers Dom Domingo Terán de Los Ríos and Father Manzanet, and later colonized by Stephen F. Austin, who named the settlement Mina after the Spanish revolutionist Francisco Xavier Mina. Bastrop became the capital, and at its largest, Mina Municipality encompassed 19 present-day Central Texas counties before it was divided to shape the newly independent State of Texas.
Today, the fertile Colorado River Valley where the loblollies grow is dotted with charming small towns, including Bastrop, Elgin and Smithville, that together make Bastrop's beautiful county. It’s a growing community united through heritage, geography, nature and pride. Explore it and find that, whether you’re an outdoorsman, a history buff, an art enthusiast, a foodie, a golfer or a luxury lover, there’s a warm welcome and a rich history waiting for you here in these storied woods.