The Four Regions of Texas

Image courtesy of Enchanted Learning

By: Lori Roberts

Image courtesy of Enchanted Learning

Great Plains

High Plains
Edwards Plateau
Llano Basin (Hill Country) 

This region includes the Llano Estacado, the Panhandle, Edwards Plateau, Toyah Basin, and the Llano Uplift. It is bordered on the east by the Caprock Escarpment in the panhandle and by the Balcones Fault to the southeast.

Cities in this region include Austin, San Angelo, Midland, Odessa, Lubbock, and Amarillo. The Hill Country is a popular name for the area of hills along the Balcones Escarpment and is a transitional area between the Great Plains and the Coastal Plains.

With about 15 to 31 inches annual rainfall, the southern end of the Great Plains are gently rolling plains of shrub and grassland, and home to the dramatic Caprock Canyons and Palo Duro Canyon state parks.

National Parks in this area are the Lyndon b. Johnson National Historical Park and the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.


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North Central Plains

Grand Prairie
Cross Timbers
Rolling Plains
Prairie & Lakes 

This region is bound by the Caprock Escarpment to the west, the Edwards Plateau to the south, and the Eastern Cross Timbers to the east. This area includes the cities of Abilene, Wichita Falls, Fort Worth, Grand Prairie, and Dallas.

With about 35 to 50 inches annual rainfall, gently rolling to hilly forested land is part of a larger pine-hardwood forest of oaks, hickories, elm, and gum trees. Soils vary from coarse sands to tight clays or red-bed clays and shales.

The only National Park in this region is the Lake Meredith National Recreation Area.

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Mountains and Basins

West of Pecos River
Upper Rio Grande Valley 

The region is in extreme western Texas, west of the Pecos River beginning with the Davis Mountains on the east and the Rio Grande to its west and south.

The region is the only part of Texas regarded as mountainous and includes seven named peaks in elevation greater than 8,000 feet. With less than 12 inches annual rainfall, this region includes sand hills, desert valleys, wooded mountain slopes and desert grasslands.

The vegetation diversity includes at least 268 grass species and 447 species of woody plants.

National Parks include the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Rio Grand Wild and Scenic River, and Fort Davis National Historic Site.

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Coastal Plains

Piney Woods
Gulf Coastal Plains
South Texas Plain
Post Oak Belt
Blackland Prairie 

The Coastal Plains includes the barrier islands off the coast of Texas. This region stretches from Paris to San Antonio to Del Rio.

This region has about 20 to 58 inches annual rainfall making a wide variety of vegetation plentiful. The area is a nearly level, drained plain dissected by streams and rivers flowing into estuaries and marshes. Sand, dunes, grasslands and salt marshes make up the areas nearest to the sea. 

This region is home to the Big Thicket National Preserve, Padre Island National Seashore, and Palo Alto Battlefield National Historic Site.