#TXAway: Glamor Meets Nature at Newly Opened Walden Retreats in Johnson City

by Gracie Watt on June 21, 2022 in Travels,

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” -Henry David Thoreau


Each of the seven suites features a 400 square foot wrap-around deck, private outdoor shower, king size bed, kitchen, bathroom with a cast iron clawfoot tub, and living room with leather lounge chairs and a cast iron wood stove. Photo Gracie Watt

This quote welcomes guests as they drive down the long dirt road to the recently opened glamping site, Walden Retreats. Named after Thoreau’s novel, “Walden and Civil Disobedience,” (a copy can be found in each room), Walden Retreats is a wonderful way to escape the stresses of modern life and truly retreat in the hills of Johnson City. 

A multitude of cows will also greet you as you drive up to this glamping haven, but just keep driving patiently because you are almost there. 

Comfort Meets Nature

Each of the eight studios features a 300 square foot wrap-around deck, private outdoor shower, king size bed, kitchen, and bathroom with a cast iron clawfoot tub. Photo Gracie Watt

Walden Retreats has luxury amenities that still feel connected to nature, a 96-acre property located alongside the Pedernales River, plenty of hiking experiences and more. This glamping retreat just had their grand opening in May, and unveiled 15 lodging options of either suites or studios. The studios sleep 2 while the suites sleep 2-4. I stayed in the Cypress Suite and it was perfect. It had everything we needed from the wrap-around deck with the Hill Country view to the quaint kitchen and woodfire stove.

Walden features a variety of spaces with both indoor and alfresco settings, as well as 15 rooms that can accommodate up to 44 guests on-site. Photo Gracie Watt

There is also a relaxing bathtub, a bluetooth speaker, an outdoor fire pit under the stars, and wine for sale in the lobby– making this the perfect romantic getaway, if that’s what you’re looking for. 

Discover comfort amidst the outdoors in luxurious safari style canvas tents set in the Texas Hill Country overlooking the Pedernales river, each designed to blend the comforts of a luxury hotel with the adventure of the outdoors. Photo Gracie Watt
Near Walden Retreats you can hike around, explore Fredericksburg wineries along the Texas Wine Trail, fish the Pedernales, catch a concert in Luckenbach, or just relax and unplug. Photo Gracie Watt

Johnson City Style

Another great thing about this new spot is its location. The Hill Country is known for views, wine, and has recently been gaining popularity for its glamping options as well. Just a quick drive from the retreat center is downtown Johnson City. It’s fun to explore on the weekends when most businesses are open, which is also when we recommend you book your stay.

Walden Retreats is offering a Father’s Day special when you use DAD15 for 15% off his stay. Photo Gracie Watt

Main Street in Johnson City has a small-town feel with vintage shops, specialty museums, and some great dining options like Bryan’s on 290. For essentials and a classic feel, Hye Market is a short trip away as well. Upon visiting Walden Retreats, it will seem like there are countless experiences nearby for you to enjoy.

From fine art on the streets of Nugent Avenue and fresh farm fare at Hye Market to a glimmering swimming hole on the Pedernales, there’s a multitude of surprises to be found in even the smallest towns. Photo Gracie Watt

Pedernales Perfection

As previously mentioned, this glamping site is along the Pedernales River. The best part is that there is walkable water access. The hike down to the river is a bit steep, but there is a rope to guide you down to the rocks, shade, and beautiful blue water. 

The staff at Walden Retreats is so helpful, and will readily drive you to and from wherever you need to go onsite with their golf carts, and get you whatever you need. There is a lovely gift shop near the lobby for any memorabilia or necessities as well. 

A Perfect Day At Walden Retreats: Our Suggested Itineraries

Indulge in tasty menu options at Bryan’s on 290 like the “Crispy Brussels Sprouts,” the “Shredded Kale Salad” and more. Photo Gracie Watt
  • Start your day with a cup of coffee from the french press provided in your room or head to Johnson City Coffee
  • Pair your coffee with fresh eggs from Hye Market or grab a treat from the adorable Home Town Donuts
  • Walk around Walden Retreats to take in all the beautiful paths and browse the gift shop or go on a drive to one of the many natural wonders nearby such as Pedernales Falls or Enchanted Rock
  • Explore the water access to Pedernales River from Walden Retreats or go on a wine tasting at Augusta Vin in Fredericksburg
  • Tour a whiskey distillery such as Garrison Brothers or explore and shop around Johnson City’s Main Street 
  • Enjoy a classy meal at Bryan’s on 290 or Proof and Cooper. You could even plan a night out at Luckenbach Dance Hall
  • End your night at Walden Retreats with s’mores by the outdoor firepit

1388 Gipson Rd, Johnson City, TX 78636

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Cover photo Gracie Watt

Gracie Watt is the Editorial Assistant at Texas Lifestyle Magazine and a graduate of St. Edward’s University in Austin, with a degree in Journalism. Watt is also a Lifestyle Producer at NBC-affiliate KXAN’s Studio 512. When she’s not writing, Watt enjoys singing, playing the guitar and doing volunteer work.