A Powerful Information Database & Gateway Service for the Texas Hill Country
HILL COUNTRY PARKS, LAKES & RIVERS
This resource page focuses on national parks, state parks, LCRA parks, large county parks, city parks, privately owned parks, and other major parks, natural areas, preserves, lakes, rivers, fish hatcheries, caves, forts and related resources in the Texas Hill Country. We are indeed blessed with an unusual wealth of natural resources in our beautiful Texas Hill Country. Enjoy and preserve them.
See clickable city and county Portal profiles for information about the area where the parks are located, and for smaller municipal, county and privately owned parks in the Texas Hill Country.
This park tells the story of our 36th President beginning with his ancestors until his final resting place on his beloved LBJ Ranch in nearby Stonewall. This entire "circle of life" gives the visitor a unique perspective into one of America's most noteworthy citizens by providing the most complete picture of an American president. Facilities: NPS-JC headquarters, video viewing, artifacts, gift/book store, LBJ's Boyhood Home, the "Johnson Settlement" (historic buildings from LBJ's forefather's period), nature trails, horses and longhorns, a meeting/conference event center with full amenities. Guided, unguided and group tours are available.
The restored Withers & Spauldings building (Visitor Center, with LBJ memorabilia) is in the format of a general store exhibit area spanning several time periods from 1915-1973 and is located on the corner of Main Street (U.S. Highway 290) and Nugent Avenue in Johnson City.
Guided and unguided tours of this park facility, the birthplace of LBJ and location of the "Texas White House" at the LBJ Ranch, which is now open to the public. LBJ National and State Parks celebrate the holidays with special book signing events and the annual tree lighting and LBJ Ranch Christmas lights tour. The State of Texas manages a Visitor Center near Stonewall where the visitor can obtain a free driving permit to the LBJ Ranch, which is managed by the National Park Service. This national park is on the N side of the Pedernales River and directly across from the LBJ State Historical Park on the S side (see below in state parks). The rural Junction School House is also here and tours can be arranged.
Location: National Park Service: In Gillespie County, 14 mi W of Johnson City, at 1048 State Hwy 49 (off US Hwy 290), Stonewall, TX 78671. See Johnson City contact and web/email information above.
On N shore of Canyon Lake near Hancock. Features: 150 campsites, 2 overnight shelters and 1 day use shelter.
Location: In Comal County at Canyon Lake. From IH 35 take Exit 191 N of New Braunfels. Drive W on FM 306 20 mi, turn L on Canyon Park Road or from US 281 turn E on FM 306, travel E 12 miles, turn R on Canyon Park Road. Coordinates: N 29° 53.872', W 098° 14.005'
CANYON BEACH PARK:
On the N shore of Canyon Lake near Hancock.
Location: From IH 35, take Exit 191 N of New Braunfels. Drive W on FM 306 going 18 mi, turn L on Canyon Park Road. Or from US Hwy 281 turn E on FM 306, travel 12 mi; turn R on Canyon Park Rd. Canyon Beach is located about 1 mi on L of Canyon Park Road. Canyon Swim Beach is located to the L before entering Canyon Park. Coordinates: N 29° 54.339', W 098° 13.526'
On the S shore of Canyon Lake near Startzville. Open daily Mar 1-Sep 30 from 7a to sunset. Facilities: 2 double-lane boat ramps, 65 shady picnic sites, a large swim beach, children's playground, and horseshoe pits.
Location: In Comal County at Canyon Lake. From IH 35, take FM 306 Exit 191 just N of New Braunfels; travel W on FM 306 for 14 mi to FM 2673 and turn L. Continue W on FM 2673 for 8 mi to the Dairy Queen in Startzville and turn R on Canyon Bend Street. Follow signs to park for additional 2 mi. Or from US Hwy 281 take Hwy 46 E past Smithson Valley High School and turn L on FM 3159. Continue on FM 3159 for 6.7 mi, then turn L at the traffic light on FM 2673 in Startzville. Continue on FM 2673 for 1 mi. Turn R at the Dairy Queen on Canyon Bend Street. Follow signs to the park for an additional 2 mi. Coordinates: N 29° 51.760', W 098° 15.143'
CRANES MILL PARK:
On the SW shore of Canyon Lake off FM 2673, just past village of Startzville. Open year-round, 7a to 10p daily. Facilities: 46 campsites with tables cookers only (no RV hookups).
Location: In Comal County at Canyon Lake. From IH 35 take Canyon Lake exit W on FM 306; about 14 mi. Turn L on FM 2673 just after Guadalupe River crossing. Cranes Mill Park is located at westernmost end of FM 2673 and South Cranes Mill Road. Coordinates: N 29° 53.340', W 098° 17.561'
Located below Canyon Dam along the first mile of the Guadalupe River. It's minimal developments include fishing access from 2 river trails. Public fishing pier on L bank below Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) hydropower plant. This stretch of river is very popular as the State's premier trout fishing stream. The Guadalupe River is the Southernmost sustainable trout fishery in the nation. No camping or picnic facilities available. A restroom facility is located at nearby Overlook Park near the southern end of Canyon Dam. Overlook Park closes at sunset daily. No fees.
Located off FM 306 near the Canyon Lake dam. Open from 7a to 10p. Facilities: 19 campsites (no RV hookups), vault toilets, no showers, no boat ramp. This is a popular scuba diving area.
Location: In Comal County; Canyon Lake. From IH 35 take FM 306 Exit 191 located just W of New Braunfels, travel W on FM 306 for 18.5 mi, or from US 281 take FM 306 E 16.5 mi. Coordinates: N 29° 52.507', W 098° 12.074'
On a hilltop near the S end of Canyon Dam. Open daily from 7a until sunset and is the access to the Corps of Engineers headquarters at Canyon Lake Visitor office. Offers a scenic view to the lake and dam. Access to Verada Real walking trail across the Dam. Restrooms and visitor parking are available. There are no camping or picnic facilities. No fees.
Location: In Comal County at Canyon Lake. From FM Hwy 306 follow South Access Road to C.O.E. Road and turn R and proceed up the hill. Or, from FM 2673 at Sattler, go NW on South Access Road for 2 mi, turn L on C.O.E. Road and proceed up the hill. Coordinates: N 29° 51.663', W 098° 11.891'
POTTER'S CREEK PARK:
On NW side of Canyon Lake. Features: 114 campsites, 1 group shelter, 5 multi-family campsites (for 2-3 RV's), and 7 screened shelters. Additional amenities include restrooms with showers, 2 dump stations, 2 boat ramps, and a beach area. All sites have water and electric hookups, a covered picnic table, stand up grill, and fire ring. Activities include bird watching, hiking, biking, fishing, swimming, wildlife viewing and interpretive programs. Open year round. Reservations must be made at least 4 days in advance.
BALCONES CANYONLANDS NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE: 512-339-9432; Cow Creek Rd, Lago Vista, TX 78645. HQ located off FM 1431. The refuge is made up of limestone hills and spring fed canyons. The purpose of the refuge is to conserve the nesting habitat of the endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler and Black-capped Vireo. Open daylight hours, and on most days. Observation deck. Ranch trails open most days. Maintained by US Fish & Wildlife Service. www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/texas/balcones
ADMIRAL NIMITZ STATE HISTORIC SITE & NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE PACIFIC WAR: The only institution in the continental United States dedicated exclusively to the story of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz and World War II in the Pacific Theater, located on a 9-acre site in Fredericksburg, Texas. The complex includes The National Museum of the Pacific War-George Bush Gallery, the Admiral Nimitz Museum, the Japanese Garden of Peace, the Pacific Combat Zone, the Plaza of the Presidents, the Surface Warfare Plaza, the Memorial Wall, the Veterans Walk of Honor and the Center for Pacific War Studies. In addition to nearly 45,000 sf of indoor exhibit space, the museum boasts an impressive display of Allied and Japanese aircraft, tanks, guns and other large artifacts made famous during the Pacific War campaigns.
BLANCO STATE PARK: This 105-acre park has camping, swimming, hiking, camping, fishing, swimming, pedal boats and rentals, children's play area, rest rooms and showers. Opened in 1934. Elevation 1350 ft. Facilities include
restrooms with and without showers; campsites with water and electricity; campsites with water, electricity, and sewer; screened shelters; picnic areas, dump station; playgrounds; a store; a 3/4-mile nature trail. Open year around.
COLORADO BEND STATE PARK:
5,328 acres above Lake Buchanan, at 1025 ft elevation, opened in 1987. Offers a wide spectrum of outdoor recreational opportunities including fishing, boating, hiking, mountain biking, guided nature and caving tours, bird watching, mineral study and photography. Among the park's "specialty items," are its crystal-clear creeks dammed along their length with striking growths of travertine, a mineral precipitate from calcium-carbonate rich waters.
Primitive tent camping and "drive-in" camping. Park has 16 mi of hiking trails and 14 mi of mountain bike trails. When Lake Buchanan is near normal levels, the river is navigable from the park's boat ramp all the way to the lake (10 mi). This is a trip on slow moving water through the beautiful canyon lands of the Colorado. Also available: guided, walking, wild-cave tours and self-guided crawling cave explorations.
The Park offers a diversity of activities everyday, including:
Crawling Cave Tours: Colorado Bend is known for having caves! Cave tours offered, each tour can accommodate up to 10 people. Call to reserve a spot. Due to hazards in the caves, such as low oxygen levels and poisonous gases and the fact that the caves are a non-renewable natural resource, all caves in the park are closed except through tour or special permit.
Hike to Gorman Spring and Gorman Falls: See where the falls begin with a hike to Gorman Spring. Then hike down to see Gorman Falls, one of the most photographed places in Texas! Saturdays. Accessible by a day-use hiking trail, a 4 mi round trip.
Hike Spicewood Springs Trail: This is a very scenic hiking trail with small waterfalls, travertine, and several creek crossings.
Mountain Bike up to 20 Miles of Trail! The trail building project is in its 4th year! Bring your bike (or your feet!) and check out what has been built.
Fishing: Colorado Bend is on the Colorado River and fishing is a favorite pastime for visitors.
Kayaking: Rent a kayak for a donation and check out the views from the river!
ENCHANTED ROCK STATE NATURAL AREA:
Located on the SE margin of the large Enchanted Rock Batholith, the granite exposed is one of the Town Mountain Granite suite and is of Precambrian age (6 million years old). Part of the Llano Uplift. There are several large exfoliation domes and castle tops in the park. The largest top (Enchanted Rock itself) rises 122 m. above the surrounding landscape. This is the best place to look at granite in Texas. 1644 acres, opened 1984.
The Rock is a huge, pink granite exfoliation dome, that rises 425 feet above ground, 1825 feet above sea level, and covers 640 acres. It is one of the largest batholiths (underground rock formation uncovered by erosion) in the United States.
Activities include primitive backpacking, camping, hiking, technical and rock climbing, picnicking, geological study, bird watching, and star gazing (minimal light pollution). No vehicular camping. Facilities include Park Store.
GARNER STATE PARK:
1420 acres (10 water acres of the Frio River) of recreational facilities. Many thousands of visitors flock here each year to enjoy its matchless vacation facilities. They swim in the clear waters of the Frio River, scoot its rapids on inner tubes, rent pedal boats, and hike its fascinating nature trails. On long summer evenings, young folks (and the young at heart) meet at the concession building for jukebox dancing every night during the summer season. Nearby is a miniature golf course, which is lighted for nighttime playing. Meals and snacks are served in the concession building, though many families prefer to take advantage of the many camping sites and do their own cooking. Limited number of cabins available for rent. Park offers camping, hiking, nature study, picnicking, canoeing, fishing, swimming in the Frio River (unsupervised), seasonal miniature golf, paddle boat and kayak rentals (mid-March through Labor Day weekend), bike riding (surfaced).
GOVERNMENT CANYON STATE NATURAL AREA:
One of the nation's largest urban preserves protecting thousands of acres of karst (recharge zone) for the Edwards Aquifer. 40 miles of trails, stone buildings, and visitor center/park store with exhibit hall and classrooms. Camping, group facilities, picnicking, wildlife viewing, interpretive programs.
GUADALUPE RIVER STATE PARK:
1,939-acre scenic park is bisected by the beautiful, cypress-edged river that flows over natural rapids in the park. Limestone bluffs and huge bald cypress trees cling to the banks, the focal point of this park. Wildlife includes white-tail deer, coyotes, foxes, and armadillos; juniper thickets offer nesting habitat for rare golden-cheeked warbler. Tent and RV camping, rest rooms, showers, picnic sites, plus fishing, canoeing, swimming, and hiking are available.
This park has 4 mi of river frontage and is located in the middle of a 9 mi stretch of the Guadalupe River. Activities include canoeing, fishing, swimming, tubing, picnicking, hiking, camping, bird watching and nature study. Park has a 5 mi equestrian and mountain biking trail. No equestrian camping. Adjacent to Honey Creek State Natural Area.
HILL COUNTRY STATE NATURAL AREA:
Opened in 1983, this remains as an undeveloped and secluded retreat. Approximately 40 mi of multi-use trails wind up grassy valleys, cross spring-fed streams, and climb steep limestone hills. Backcountry setting for activities such as primitive camping, backpacking, mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, flora and fauna observation, and limited swimming (3 designated swimming areas are on West Verde Creek). Moderate fishing opportunities. Various adjacent ranches offer horse rentals, tours and other accommodations through this Natural Area. For information call Bandera County Convention and Visitors bureau: 800-364-3883; www.banderacowboycapital.com
See TPWD Video on horseback riding & camping at Hill Country State Natural Area:
HONEY CREEK STATE NATURAL AREA:
2294 acres, opened 1985. Entry into Honey Creek is for guided tours only. The diverse geology, flora, and fauna make Honey Creek a special place for all visitors using 2 mi of nature/interpretive trails. Saturday morning walking tour begins at 9a. Reservations required. No facilities except for trails.
INKS LAKE STATE PARK:
A 1,200 acre panorama of cedar and oak woodlands, wildflowers, and pink granite outcroppings. The park borders Inks Lake, and recreational opportunities include swimming, boating, canoeing, water skiing, scuba diving, sailing, and fishing. Deer, turkey, quail, numerous songbirds, and other species of wildlife are abundant here.
RV camping, tent campsites and shelters accommodate up to 8 persons, with a combination of motor vehicles and trailers not to exceed two. Picnic table, BBQ grill and restrooms with hot showers are nearby. There is no lifeguard on duty for swimming. 2 fishing piers, 2 fish cleaning shelters, a 2-lane boat ramp, wi-fi internet access, playground and concession store offers groceries, picnic supplies, canoe, boat, and paddleboat rentals. Constant level lake, elevation 900 ft.
This huge cave once was a favorite roosting cave for bats. Now, there are only about a dozen Eastern Pipistrelle bats in Longhorn Cavern. They do not hang out together, they are loners. Cave staff now report they get to see one every now and then during the winter months when the bats are hibernating. For more information on the bats that live inside Longhorn Cavern, visit their Gift Shop and request a book named "Hey! I've Got Feelings Too!". Longhorn Cavern State Park is a 646 acre scenic park, featuring Longhorn Cavern, formed in prehistoric times by water flow. Activities include hiking; a 1.5 hour cave tour covering 1.25 miles of caves; and a geology program. Facilities include a gift shop, a full service deli and snack counter, gift shop, a picnic area, and 2 mi of hiking trails. Open for day-use only. Elevation: 779 to 1585 ft. Admission fee for cave tours.
By reservation, PRIVATELY GUIDED TOUR OF LONGHORN CAVERN: 512-809-8057; Park Rd 4, near Kingsland & Burnet. Choice A: For groups, min $200 fee, 4.5 hour program; Choice B: 2 hour program, standard individual ticket price plus gratuity.
LOST MAPLES STATE NATURAL AREA:
While they aren't actually "lost," the bigtooth maples for which the park is named are selective in their habitat. Because of their shallow roots, the trees are susceptible to damage by soil compaction and visitors are cautioned to stay on prescribed paths to ensure continued vigor of the maple stands. Fall color is usually at its peak in early November.
Visitors enjoy picnicking, camping, backpacking, sightseeing, hiking, photography, birdwatching, fishing, swimming, and nature study. Many natural hazards exist due to the steep/rugged errain. Facilities include restrooms with showers, picnic sites, primitive camping areas, a comfort station, campsites with water and electricity, and a trailer dump station, Park Store, 1/2-mi of nature trails, and 11 mi of hiking trails.
This Area covers 2174 scenic acres in Bandera and Real Counties, N of Vanderpool on the Sabinal River.
Elevation ranges from 1800 to 2250 feet. Opened to the public in 1979. The annual visitation is approximately 200,000 visitors.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON STATE PARK & HISTORIC SITE:
Located between Fredericksburg and Johnson City in Stonewall, and contains 733 acres. Park honors a native Texan who achieved the nation's highest office. (Note, also see national parks above for the adjacent LBJ National Park).
Open daily from 8a-5p in the summer and offers picnic facilities, swimming pool, tennis courts and nature trails. Wildlife displays include Texas Longhorns, white-tailed deer and buffalo. Historic buildings include two restored dog-run cabins of area pioneers, furnished in frontier style, and the Sauer-Beckmann Farmstead (open daily 8a-4:30p) where rural life of the early 1918 is interpreted by living history demonstrations. Visitors to this day-use park can enjoy historical study, picnicking, nature study, fishing, swimming. The abundant wildlife of the Hill Country is highlighted by enclosures containing buffalo, longhorn, and white-tailed deer. The park is famous for its spring wildflower display. The Visitor Center is the focal point and contains memorabilia from LBJ's presidency and interactive displays about the Land and People that shaped a president. Attached to the Visitors Center is the Behrens Cabin, a 2-room dogtrot cabin built by German immigrant H. C. Behrens during the 1870s. The furnishings are typical of such homes in that period. Visitors can further explore the history of these immigrants by viewing the 1860s Danz family log cabin located just W of the Visitor Center. An auditorium in the visitor center complex will accommodate 234 persons for state performances or films. An outdoor amphitheater is used for a variety of programs. A nature trail, including a Hill Country botanical exhibit, winds past wildlife enclosures stocked with bison, white-tailed deer other native wildlife and longhorn cattle.
PEDERNALES FALLS STATE PARK:
5212 acres located along the banks of scenic Pedernales River and features picturesque waterfalls, abundant animal and bird life, fishing, swimming, tubing, camping, picnicking, hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Main attraction is the set of waterfalls carved out of the limestone terrain that can be viewed from a scenic overlook at the north end of the park. In this area, the elevation of the river drops about 50 feet over a distance of 3000 feet, and the cascading falls are formed by the flow of water over the tilted, stair-step effect of layered limestone.
SOUTH LLANO RIVER STATE PARK:
Cool clear water, shady trees, and abundant wildlife all make this an ideal camping spot. The winding South Llano River forms the northern park boundary with 1.5 miles of river frontage. The 507-acre wooded bottomland is home to the white-tail deer and Rio Grande turkey. Campsites accommodate up to 8 persons each, with a combination of motor vehicles and trailers not to exceed 2; sites have picnic table and BBQ grill. In addition to primitive campsites there are walk-in campsites with picnic tables and fire rings, campsites with water and electricity which include back-in parking; and a restroom with hot showers nearby. A spring-fed scenic stream has sufficient flow for canoeing, tubing, and swimming. Several hiking trails leading into the adjoining 2,123-acre Walter Buck Wildlife Management Area are available.
ARKANSAS BEND PARK:
Owned by LCRA and operated and maintained by Travis County. One of the most isolated and untouched parks in Travis County, this peaceful 323-acre park lies on the N shore of Lake Travis near the community of Lago Vista and combines many of the best qualities of other Lake Travis parks. The parks' 2 miles of shoreline offer opportunities for hiking, fishing, camping, picnicking and lake access via an excellent boat ramp. Several inviting, shaded picnic and camping areas are situated along a bluff above a gently sloping, rocky waterfront.
BLACK ROCK LCRA PARK ON LAKE BUCHANAN:
On SW shore of the lake. Popular with campers, swimmers and boaters. Boaters may launch from a free public ramp at Llano County Park next door. Ample shoreline provides excellent opportunities for bank fishing and swimming from the sandy beach. Recreation field and playground. Campers can choose from 25 tent sites, 15 RV sites, or 12 heated and air-conditioned cabins. Boat ramp (available at Llano County Park next door for free). Dump station. Fees are charged. Reservations via Texas Parks and Wildlife Reservation Center at 512-389-8900 more than 48 hours in advance.
BOB WENTZ-WINDY POINT PARK:
Located in the basin area on the N side of Lake Travis with 211 acres, this is a favorite location for water sports. The park's facilities and close proximity to Austin (approximately one-half hour's drive from downtown) make it attractive for picnicking, swimming, windsurfing, sailing, and scuba diving. The shoreline areas (including a sandy peninsula known as "The Point") are heavily used, while an adjacent 150-acre tract is maintained as a natural area. The park includes 2 sand volleyball courts, a shoreline walking path, a boat dock, and a pavilion available for rent, sailing, windsurfing, swimming, boating, scuba diving, picnicking. Park fees required.
CAMP CREEK LCRA PARK:
Owned by LCRA and operated and maintained by Burnet County Precinct 3. Contact the Burnet County Clerk's office at 512-756-5406 or email: email@example.com. On the N shore of Lake Travis, this park is popular with anglers, especially those in search of white bass. Boats can be launched from the free boat ramp. A grove of pecan trees gives campers great places to set up tents or picnic. Picnic tables and fire rings are available. Overnight camping is allowed, but there are no restrooms, potable water nor electricity at the park. No charge to use the park, but camping groups of 20 or more need a land-use permit from LCRA Parks. Reservations not required.
CANYON OF THE EAGLES LCRA NATURE PARK:
On the shores of Lake Buchanan in Burnet County, about 75 mi NW of Austin. Home to endangered birds. Roughly 800 of the 940 acres are a nature preserve that is home to a variety of wildlife, including three threatened or endangered birds: the American bald eagle, the black-capped vireo and golden-cheeked warbler. Features: multiple fishing docks and piers along 3 mi of lakefront, an outdoor amphitheater, a 64-unit lodge, swimming pool, restaurant, meeting rooms, campgrounds, RV sites, group camping area for groups up to 100 people, hiking trails and lights-out observatory area for stargazing. Camping Reservations: 512-389-8900. To reserve cottages, lodge rooms, conference facilities, and observatory, contact the lodge at 800-977-0081.
CEDAR POINT LCRA RECREATION AREA:
One of the largest public tracts of land on Lake Buchanan with 400 acres and 3 mi of shoreline. The park is suited for walking, boating access, bank fishing, camping allowed (but no services provided), horseback riding, picnicking and wildlife observation. Free boat ramp has a paved parking lot. No fees. Reservations not needed.
GLOSTER BEND RECREATION AREA:
On N shore of Lake Travis. Most visitors to the 586-acre recreation area come to use the boat ramp, which is open 24 hours a day. Park is day-use only. More than a mile of grassy shoreline. Features: horseback riding, hiking, fishing, swimming, boat ramp accessible 24 hours a day, picnic tables and grills, waterless toilets. $5 per vehicle. Reservations not required.
GRANITE BEACH RECREATION AREA:
LCRA owned but privately operated as Lake LBJ Yacht Club & Marina. On the S shore of Lake LBJ, and includes a boat ramp. Next door is Granite Beach, which has a boat club and marina, boat rentals, cabins, a restaurant, water park and sail and ski rentals, and lighted fishing pier.
GRELLE RECREATION AREA:
400-acre area wraps around an isolated cove on the S shore of Lake Travis. The cove's grassy beach is a good swimming spot. A 2 mi hiking trail winds through the area's hills to a plateau with a spectacular view of Lake Travis. Overnight camping is allowed but no facilities are provided. It has one outdoor toilet and no drinking water. Features: fishing, swimming, horseback riding, 2-mile hiking trail, picnic tables, fire rings, waterless toilet. Fees: $5 per vehicle. Reservations not required.
HIPPIE HOLLOW PARK:
Owned by LCRA and managed by Travis County. 109 acres. Lies in the basin area of Lake Travis, a half hour's drive from downtown Austin, The Park features a steep, rocky shoreline and provides some spectacular views of Lake Travis. This heavily-used park, the only "clothing optional" public park in Texas, is popular for sunbathing and swimming. Features: hiking, birdwatching, swimming, concession stand. Fees required. Also the site of Splash Day, a festive, semiannual event celebrating the beginning of spring and the end of summer, hosted by the Gay and Lesbian community.
MANSFIELD DAM PARK:
Owned by LCRA and managed by Travis County. On S shore of Lake Travis, adjacent to Mansfield Dam on the main body of Lake Travis and serves as one of the primary access points for boaters. 71 acres. This popular area offers a wide array of amenities to accommodate scuba divers, swimmers, boaters, picnickers, and nature enthusiasts. Set back from the water's edge, a central recreation area offers picnic sites, a playground, horseshoe pits, chess tables, and a panoramic view of the Lake basin. Concession facility in the heart of the Mansfield courtyard provides food, beverages, and lake
gear. Offers the deepest, most accessible boat ramp on Lake Travis that has four lanes, with an adjoining wheelchair-accessible courtesy dock to make lake launching easy. The day use area offers picnic tables with barbecue grills, including several with covered shelters, tucked amid the canopies of native trees. Picnic sites and lake access are
easily reachable by strolling along the meandering hike and bike trail to the location of your choice. Scuba diving, with dive stairs, a wheelchair-accessible ramp, and a courtesy dive lift to ease the trek from hillside to lakeside. Underwater amusement has been enhanced by the addition of four underwater dive platforms at various lake levels. An underwater trail and compass course connects dive attractions such as sunken boats, historic dam construction materials, and geological points of interest. The western peninsula of Mansfield Dam park enjoys some of the most beautiful views of Lake Travis. Hike and bike trail to a peaceful pavilion surrounded by trees and vines. This is an excellent spot to appreciate the view, watch the wildlife, or read a book. Tent camping. Fees required.
MULESHOE BEND RECREATION AREA:
On upper S side of Lake Travis. Has a 6.5 mi mountain bike trail. Riders of all experience levels can enjoy the trail. Horseback riding is permitted in other areas of the park. Plenty of sites for tent camping, picnic tables with views of the lake and a gentle shoreline. Features: fishing, swimming, camping is allowed but minimal facilities are provided, picnic tables, fire rings, waterless toilets, Fees: $5 per vehicle. Reservations not required.
Location: In Travis County. From Austin, take Hwy 71 W. Turn R at Spicewood onto Paleface Ranch Road and go about 4.5 mi to Burnet County Road 414. Turn R and go about 1.5 mi, then take another R just before the entrance to Ridge Harbor. Continue until you reach the park entrance at the end of CR 414. Muleshoe Park. See Portal Highland Lakes Profile.
NARROWS RECREATION AREA:
On S side of Lake Travis, and has the only public boat ramp on the lake's upper south side. Closed at night except for the boat ramp. The park has an outdoor restroom, but no other amenities. Features: Day use only, boat, ramp, bank fishing, waterless toilet. No fees. Reservations not required.
Location: In Travis County. From Austin, take Hwy 71 W and turn R on Spur 191. Continue approximately 1 mi to the community of Spicewood. Continue straight through the intersection, you will be on County Road 410. At intersection of County Road 411 continue straight through. You will now be on County Road 411. Follow CR411 to the entrance. Note: The access road to the Narrows crosses Alligator Creek at a low-water crossing. During heavy rainstorms, the creek may be impassible. This location may not always be barricaded during unpredictable weather. Visitors should use extreme caution or avoid the area at those times. Narrows Park. See Portal Highland Lakes Profile.
NIGHTENGALE ARCHAEOLOGICAL CENTER AT KINGSLAND:
On 10 acres on the banks of Lake LBJ, this prehistoric site was discovered in 1988 when looters were caught stealing artifacts from LCRA-owned land. LCRA soon determined this site to be a major archaeological discovery. 171,000+ recovered flint tools, spear points, arrowheads and other artifacts are evidence that the site has been continuously inhabited for 6,500 years and possibly as far back as 10,000 years. The Texas Historical Commission has declared the site a State Archeological Landmark. Learning Center and tours available. Free admission.
PACE BEND PARK:
Owned by LCRA and managed by Travis County. With 9+ mi of shoreline along scenic Lake Travis, One of the most popular areas in the Highland Lakes region, offering a wide range of recreational opportunities. The W side features high, limestone cliffs and numerous rocky coves with some of the most impressive views available of Lake Travis, especially at sunset.
Most of park is easily accessible by vehicle from the 7 mi paved roadway that loops the park. However, the interior of the park is managed as a wildlife preserve and can be reached by foot, bicycle, or horseback only. Numerous trails lead into the hills and provide excellent views of the lake and the Hill Country. Home to a large number of whitetail deer, raccoon, fox, ringtail cat, and dozens of bird species. Features: boat ramp, hiking and equestrian trails, fishing, swimming, picnic tables, fire rings, unimproved camping, tent camping, RV hookups. Fees required.
PEDERNALES RIVER NATURE PARK:
Owned and managed by LCRA, this new 222 acre river-front park is located in Johnson City. Offers public recreational day use, including fishing and picnicking. Plans are underway for more extensive development of outdoor facilities and activities. During this interim period, LCRA access and facility use fees are temporarily waived. See www.lcra.org/pedernalesnaturepark
Location: In Johnson City in mid-Blanco County. On E side of Hwy 281 at the Pedernales river bridge. Entrance on Davis Dr. just S of Town Creek and a few blocks N of the Hwy 281/290 intersection.
SAN SABA RIVER NATURE PARK:
Owned by LCRA, and to be managed by the City of San Saba, this new river-front park is in the planning and development phases, with opening scheduled for fall 2011. The 40-acre park will includes camping, fishing, hike and bike trails, and wildlife viewing and archaeological interpretive areas. See www.lcra.org//newsstory/2010/construction_start_sansabarnp.html
SANDY CREEK PARK:
Owned by LCRA and managed by Travis County. Located on N shore on one of the quieter coves of Lake Travis. This 25-acre park is an ideal spot for swimming, nature walks, birding, camping, and fishing. Boaters and overnight campers will appreciate the park's easy accessibility to the basin area of Lake Travis. Park offers a serene, wooded environment away from the heavier boat traffic found on other sections of the lake. Home to several rare bird and plant species, including the endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler. A hike along the wooded bluff and shoreline provides a good view of the lake. Features: boat ramp, hiking, swimming, fishing, unimproved camping. Fees required.
Location: In Travis County. From the intersection of RR 620 and FM 2222, take FM 2222 (Bullick Hollow Road) west 2 1/2 mi to FM 2769. Turn L onto FM 2769 and travel 4 mi to the town of Volente. In Volente, turn right onto Lime Creek Road and follow Lime Creek Road 6 mi to the park entrance on the L. Sandy Creek Park; Travis County Sandy Creek Park. Google Map. See Portal Highland Lakes Profile.
SHAFFER BEND RECREATION AREA:
With 523 acres on the N shore of Lake Travis, this is one of LCRA's largest recreation areas on Lake Travis. The undeveloped recreation area is good for camping, but campers should come prepared because there are no toilets, potable water or electricity. Camping groups of 20 or more need a land-use permit. For permit information, e-mail LCRA Parks. The terrain, ranging from bottomlands to bluffs and hills, makes for good hiking. Features: Camping, Horseback riding. No Fees. Reservations not required.
SUNSET POINT PARK ON LAKE LBJ:
LCRA owned but privately operated RV resort on N shore of Lake LBJ at Wirtz Dam, 60 mi NW of Austin. On 20 acres, with 1 mi of shoreline. Previously a military recreation area, this beautiful property has been re-developed as a high-end RV resort that is big-rig friendly with full hook-ups and amenities (swimming, fishing, boat ramp, meeting facilities). Also see Highland Lakes for a detailed profile of the lake.
TURKEY BEND RECREATION AREA:
400 acres on N shore of Lake Travis, has prime camping and fishing spots with great views of the lake. Some sites along the shore offer views of picturesque cliffs across the lake. No boat ramp, but it is a good place to put canoes and kayaks into the lake. Features: Horseback riding permitted, fishing, swimming, unimproved camping, hiking trails, picnic tables, fire rings, waterless toilet. Fees: $5 per vehicle. Reservations not required.
LCRA owned but privately operated (non-profit) 31 acre area that includes a lush, green, limestone-walled canyon with many rare and endangered plants, canopied by giant cypress trees and a 40-foot waterfall tumbling over fern-covered travertine columns into an emerald pool. Dedicated to sustaining this unique ecological treasure and offering it as a scientific and educational resource to the community. Guided trail tours, adult & school programs, birding, star watching, and other programs help to inspire greater environmental conservation and awareness.
CYPRESS CREEK PARK:
Travis County owned and operated. On NE arm of Lake Travis, with 15 acres. A favorite spot for camping, boating, swimming, fishing, picnicking. Main body of the park has a gently sloping waterfront. Boat ramp and cove provide easy access to the popular basin area of Lake Travis and other parks on Lake Travis.
Location: From the intersection of RR 620 and FM 2222 in Travis County, take FM 2222 (Bullick Hollow Road) W for 2 mi toward Volente. Park entrance on L, just before the intersection of Bullick Hollow Rd and FM 2769 (Old Anderson Mill Rd). Travis County Profile. See Portal Highland Lakes Profile.
DINK PEARSON PARK:
Travis County owned and operated. On N shore of Lake Travis with 14 acres. Features: swimming, picnicking, boating, fishing, nature study, picnic tables, grills, unimproved boat ramp
HAMILTON POOL NATURE PRESERVE:
Travis County owned and operated. This 232-acre preserve is managed as a natural area (preserve) with emphasis on habitat protection and restoration, environmental education for public and private groups, and ongoing research. Offers limited, day-use only, with recreational opportunities such as picnicking, hiking, biking, swimming and nature study. The preserve's pool and grotto were formed when the dome of an underground river collapsed due to massive erosion thousands of years ago. There is a 45 foot water fall creating a great swimming hole. Nature trails along the creek. Swimming allowed only when the water quality meets safe standards. Water quality is monitored regularly. Updated information is posted at the entrance booth and provided on the park's telephone recorder message. Drinking water and concessions not available in the preserve.
JACOB'S WELL NATURAL AREA:
This historic Trinity Aquifer natural spring known as Jacob's Well has the longest underwater cave in Texas. A favorite swimming hole. Jacob's Well flows into Cypress Creek 3 mi NW of Wimberley near Woodcreek. It flows from an inclined shaft 40 meters deep along a fault line in the Edwards Plateau. In the past the 3 meter width of the shaft and the multi-chambered cave at its bottom attracted scuba divers. The well claimed several lives and has been closed to diving. In 1948 Woodcreek Properties made the well pond a part of its resort development. Jacob's Well and its watery cave figure as an important locale in Stephen Harrigan's 1984 novel of that name. Hays County owns and is responsible for the long-term stewardship of the 81 acre JWNA site. Free Sat tours at 10a and by appointment. Hosts public and private organizations. Access permitted only during tour hours. 1/4 mi hike from parking to the site. Annual festival in Sep.
Location: In west-centeral Hays County, in Woodcreek at 221 Wood Acre Dr, Wimberley, TX 78676. Lat-Long: 30° 02' N, 98° 08' W. Info: 512 847-5999
Located on the Guadalupe River, this 517-acre park offers a host of activities including boating, fishing, camping, picnicking, unsupervised swimming in the river, bird watching, hiking, walking, and cycling. Open year-round, 8a to 10p for day use. Formerly a state park and now operated by City of Kerrrville. Elevation 1645 ft. Facilities include restrooms with hot showers; day use picnic sites; campsites with limited and full RV hook-ups; mini-cabins, dump Stations; picnic areas, dining and recreation halls, an amphitheater, laundromat, concrete boat ramp, 8 mi of hiking trails, 6 mi of mountain bike beginner/intermediate trails, lighted fishing pier, playgrounds, and a convenience store. Reservations are recommended for campsites.
LADY BIRD JOHNSON MUNICIPAL PARK:
City of Fredericksburg owned and operated. A 190-acre park featuring fully equipped RV sites, golf, swimming, tennis, badminton, picnicking plus a small lake for sailboats, canoes, and pedal boats.
MILTON REIMERS RANCH PARK:
Travis County owned and operated. This pristine 2,427 acre parkland, open space and reserve land in western Travis County with almost 3 mi of continuous frontage along the Pedernales River is the largest parkland acquisition in the history of Travis County. The sizeable Central Texas rock-climbing community views Reimers as a destination with world class rock climbing. The active local mountain biking community likewise enjoys over 18 mi of trails through the classic Central Texas landscape at Reimers. Local anglers have come to Reimers for generations to fish for white bass in the Pedernales River. The Pogue Springs Preserve/Hogge Reserve component of the land acquisition is less known but equally spectacular with Pedernales River frontage, deep canyons and panoramic views of the Texas Hill Country.
Location: In Travis County, at 23610 Hamilton Pool Rd, Bee Cave; 512-264-1923. www.co.travis.tx.us/tnr/parks/reimers_ranch.asp. See Travis County: Parks
Location: In Comal County at Canyon Lake at E end of lake below the dam. Tours start at Overlook Park, 601 COE Rd, Canyon Lake, TX. Park at the turnaround loop up by the restrooms, at the very end of COE road. GPS coordinates: N 29° 51.620', W 098° 11.877'.
CIBOLO NATURE CENTER:
A 100 acre center. The hiking trails are laid out to bring the visitor through 4 dramatically distinct eco-systems. The creek, marshland, meadow and woods each have a unique charm, and each has its owns set of plant and animal life to observe. Named one of the top ten hikes in Texas by Texas Monthly Magazine. Educational center and bookstore in a restored historic building.
MEDINA LAKE, THOUSAND TRAILS, TEXAS PARK:
This 260-acre preserve is a commercial park on the shores of Medina Lake. Hunting, boating and fishing. Golf course. Campsites: 220 full hookups, 167 power and water only.; Rentals: 7 trailers, 12 extended lease sites, 4 TT cabins, 6 Getaway cabins.
RIVERSIDE NATURE CENTER: Located in the heart of Kerrville on the Guadalupe River at the junction of Town Creek. This former small farm has been transformed into an urban wildlife and native plant sanctuary. It features a unique arboretum with over 140 species of trees as well as cacti, glorious wildflowers, shrubs, native grasses, birds, insects and other animals. Meandering walking trails lead you through the Nature Center gardens and down to the banks of the beautiful Guadalupe River. Explorer's lab for children, nature education programs, visitor center, and an historical general store.
INKS LAKE DAM NATIONAL FISH HATCHERY: Provides channel catfish and largemouth bass to Federal and Indian waters of the Southwest. Its mission has expanded to include the production of striped bass for restoration to the Texas gulf coast. Also helps restore paddlefish populations in the Mississippi River basin, and raises largemouth bass and channel catfish for sport fishing.