Nature

On The Road Less Traveled: South Llano River State Park

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There is a place where time seems to stand still. A place where the water flows up out of the earth and bubbles to life as it twists and turns. It’s here in the shallow waters of the South Llano River, crystal clear and refreshing as a raindrop on a hot summer day. This is where rocks and water meet, creating eddies and bubbling like the brooks of our childhood days. It’s here where a float on the water leaves your soul as refreshed as the showers of September after the rain.

The South Llano River bends along FM 1871.

On The Road Less Traveled: South Llano River State Park

Photo: lizaandbob.wixsite.com

It’s along these windy country lanes that we found what we had been looking for; Texas reclaimed for future generations. Unlikely as it might have seemed, we had been searching for it. We had set out to see the far-flung and scattered places that someone way back had determined were worth preserving. We bought our guide and committed to seeing all of Texas before setting off to visit the national treasures.

We had looked forward to the ones that were much discussed, like Big Bend, Palo Duro, and Garner. But Texas holds the unexpected. Places that capture your heart not for the grandeur but for raw and unspoiled beauty. Places off the road well-traveled and on the unbeaten path.

The South Llano River captured our hearts. It was about Indian summer when we headed down that road, and September rains had filled the narrow and shallow river. Bright blue skies shone overhead, reflecting in the shallow pools below.

Waters cascades into the swimming hole at the entrance bridge of South Llano River State Park. 

On The Road Less Traveled: South Llano River State Park

Photo: lizaandbob.wixsite.com

We followed FM 1871 without seeing another living soul for what felt like forever. Just past the blink-of-an-eye town of Junction, we entered the park. Immediately dropping toward the riverbed lined by tall trees, we crossed the bridge over the river. On the left was a series of rapids flowing crystal clear into a tranquil pool below. It was there that kayaks, canoes, and tubes gathered beside the brave swimmers to set out on a float trip down the South Llano River. After signing in and meandering up the lane, we passed camping areas and trailheads dotted with wildlife blinds and miles of hiking and biking trails.

We ended up at a picnic spot where tubes exited under a canopy of trees before a series of rapids and shallows led the river up towards Junction. Whether to fish, picnic or float, you felt a world away from the hustle of any metropolitan area. Just the occasional sound of a car on the highway perched above the park broke the noise of the trickling waters.

At night, the lack of any cities nearby made the skies explode with stars. It was so clear that under the right conditions, I am certain you could touch them and dip your finger in the milky way.

Calm Waters make for excellent fishing and kayaking above the bridge.

On The Road Less Traveled: South Llano River State Park
Photo: lizaandbob.wixsite.com

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