Nestled within the south west fringes of Texas Hill Country lies the gorgeous South Llano River State Park.
Best known for the two mile waterway which lends the park its name, the park is a haven for swimming, paddling and fishing.
Attracting plenty of visitors from San Antonio and Austin – which are between a two to three hour drive away – it is also a popular destination for hiking, mountain biking and birding. While having been designated as an International Dark Sky Park, it is also a terrific spot for stargazing too.
Set within a breathtaking landscape of steep, rugged ridges and hardwood forest, this is the perfect place to reconnect with nature.
For those who really want to take their time to explore it, this Texas state park also has a modern campground with several sites for RVs, trailers and tent campers, which they can stay at.
The park provides guests with plenty of opportunities to enjoy a wide selection of outdoor recreational pursuits.
Here is a brief overview of some of the many activities you can do while you are there.
Water Activities at South Llano River State Park
Whether you want to paddle or float, if you are into kayaking, canoeing or SUP, the scenic river provides lots of opportunities to engage in this activity. Don’t worry if you don’t own any of these watercraft, as you can rent them out at the park.
Swimming, and especially tubing, are also popular activities along the water too and there are several spots where you can put-in or take-out along the way.
Again you can rent tubes from the park. But please note, as the water is not lifeguarded you will be entering it at your own risk. So be sure to exercise caution.
Fishing at South Llano River State Park
As you might expect, fishing is also a well practiced activity at the park with anglers coming from miles around for the chance to cast a line there.
Providing a natural habitat for Guadalupe bass, (the Texas state fish) you should be able to catch them in abundance, either from the shore or from your watercraft.
As with all state parks in Texas you do not need a licence for shore fishing. Although you should double check with the main office to see if you need one if you intend to fish from watercraft.
Hiking at South Llano River State Park
Throughout the park there are 22.7 miles of trails that are open to hikers and mountain bikers.
These trails range from the easy 0.4-mile Interpretive Trail, which is shaded by hardwood trees, to the more challenging Frontera Trail which extends for 4 miles and is considered to be difficult.
While on these trails you will be able to take in the parks spectacular flora, which includes stunning Texan wildflowers, as well as plenty of butterflies and several other species of fauna including deer.
Stargazing at South Llano River State Park
Regardless of what you do during the day, at night you simply have to take the unique opportunity the park gives you for stargazing.
As an International Dark Sky Park, the skies are crystal clear here. So you will get wonderful views of stars, constellations and even the Milky Way.
If you have a telescope it is well worth bringing one to the park, as you are sure to be wowed by what you see.
Birding at South Llano River State Park
Home to more than 250 species, the park is a birders paradise.
Should you want to indulge in birdwatching, there are four bird blinds you can use for observations. The park even runs a birding field checklist of its own as well, which details what you can expect to see and when.
Some of the birds reside at the park year round, while others are migratory in the spring or fall.
Depending on when you visit the park you may get to see the likes of sandhill crane, great blue heron, spotted sandpiper, golden-crowned kinglet, black-bellied whistling-duck and cedar waxwing.
Pets at South Llano River State Park
Domestic pets are allowed in the park although they need to be kept on a leash at all times.
Some other restrictions may apply, so to determine what they are, it might be worth contacting the park’s main office.
Camping at South Llano River State Park
For those who are interested in staying overnight at the park, the main campground offers 58 RV sites with hookups for water and 30-amp electricity.
Each of these sites can sleep up to eight people and also comes with their own covered picnic table. They do not have sewer hookups, but there is a dump station guests can use near the campground’s entrance.
This campground also has restrooms with showers and provides easy access to both the Overlook Trail and Buck Lake Trail.
If you do not have an RV or trailer with you there, six walk-in campsites are available at the park. Providing tent campers with a bit of space and solitude, these sites are between a 30 to 70 yard walk from the parking area and can sleep a maximum of eight people.
They also come with their own picnic table and fire ring and are situated near restrooms and water.
Should you prefer a more primitive camping experience, you’ll find five sites located about 1.5 miles in from the trailhead.
To access them you will have to walk part of the Golden-cheeked Warbler Trail. Best suited to self-sufficient campers, there is little in the way of amenities there, other than individual picnic tables and a composting vault toilet.
South Llano River State Park
1927 Park Rd 73
Junction, TX 76849
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at South Llano River State Park:
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