Things to Do

Lake Medina, a Hill Country Oasis You’ll Want to Visit Often

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Tony Maples Photography


Lake Medina is a crescent-shaped reservoir running west to east on the Medina River in the Texas Hill Country. The Medina Dam, a privately financed project, was constructed in 1913 to supply irrigation water for local agricultural use. Located in northeastern Medina County and southeastern Bandera County, Lake Medina is 18 miles long and three miles wide at its broadest point. Medina Dam, at the lake’s south end, was at the time the largest concrete dam in the country as well as the fourth largest dam overall and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Photo: Flickr/MauryEggen

During the 2010-2013 southern United States drought, the lake water levels dropped considerably. Many cracks, oil drums, and even a Jeep were visible as a result of low water with only one public boat ramp remaining open. The summer showers of 2013 helped the lake rise, but the dam was reopened in September for the people on the south side of San Antonio to use as a water source. Many businesses closed, many residents left, and Lakehills became somewhat of a ghost town. But in May of 2015, heavy rainfall brought the water level to twenty-eight feet up from the ninety foot low just mere months before. Thanks to the heavy rains on the river basin and the lake proper, as of May 2016, Medina Lake is 100 percent full.

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