Loving the Llano River

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It is easy to imagine that you are in the wild west of the 1800s floating this Hill Country river. It floods so wide and deep that few structures are built close to the banks, and the country it flows through is thinly populated. The fish population is not large enough to attract many fishermen, and kayaks, canoes, even john boats are not often seen on its water. It winds around Mason and through Llano and flows into Lake LBJ after only 100 miles.

Llano Hosts a Unique River Contest: Rock Stacking

Llano Rock Stacking

Photo: Robert C. Deming

Rock stacking? Go by the Llano City Park (just north of the bridge) and give it a try, you might surprise yourself.  All you need for a rock stacking contest are water and rocks, and the Llano River has plenty of both. This annual event is held in Llano in March and attracts stackers from all over the world.

Kayaking Rapids Between Yates and White’s Crossings North of Junction

Llano between Yates and Whites Crossings

Photo: Robert C. Deming

North of Junction there are long stretches of river with limited access. This section, between FM 385 north of Junction and FM 1871 west of Mason, is 19 miles with no public access. However, it is a stretch in which the boater will see little in the way of homes, ranches, or people. There are lots of fun, small rapids, but nothing treacherous, and the water is seldom more than a couple of feet deep.

These Tall, Scenic Cliffs Form a90-degreee Bend in the River

Llano Below Cliffs

Photo: Robert C. Deming

This beach, below dark red sandstone cliffs, is dramatic and easily accessed by canoes or kayaks in a day trip. Put in on the James River Island on FM 2389 south of Mason and take out at Simonsville Road for a three-hour float. This is about half way and a great place to have a picnic lunch. The river flow gauge at the US Hwy 87 bridge downstream is an indication if there is enough (or too much!) water to float. I have floated it with as little as 38 CFS, but there was a lot of walking in the river pulling the kayak; at 300 CFS you float over all the rocks. Normal is 180. Floating 12 months per year is possible; I don’t float if an air temperature less than 70 degrees. They do cold water kayaking up north, but they also wear wet-suits.

These Border Collies Love the River

Border collies love the Llano
Photo: Robert C. Deming

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