TEXAS HIGHLAND LAKES

TEXAS REGIONS

HILL COUNTRY

Inks Lake of the Texas Highland Lakes SystemThe Colorado River is over 900 miles long. Many miles of the Colorado River run through the Hill Country of Texas. This is not the same Colorado River that flows out of the state of Colorado to eventually form Lake Powell and the Grand Canyon.

The Colorado River in Texas ran wild and free for the earliest inhabitants of Texas, like the Apache and the Karankawa and Spanish. It was early Spanish explorers who named the river. But it was not supposed to be Colorado. That name had been given to the Brazos River which has red-colored clay banks. But the name switch stuck. With no concern paid to the fact that there was another Colorado River flowing out of Colorado.

After the Texans took over Texas and began to populate the Hill Country the unpredictable lower Colorado River became an issue. Eventually the Highland Lakes system of a series of dams was built to harness the prone to flooding river.

Seven dams were built creating seven reservoirs. Also known as lakes. Those 7 lakes have become very popular recreational venues for Texas, each with their own attributes.

From West to East, upstream to downstream, there is Buchanan Dam making Lake Buchanan, Inks Dam making Inks Lake, Wirtz Dam making Lake LBJ, Max Starcke Dam making Lake Marble Falls, Mansfield Dam making Lake Travis, Tom Miller Dam making Lake Austin and Longhorn Dam making Lady Bird Lake.

LAKE BUCHANAN
When Buchanan Dam was built it was the longest multiple arch dam in the U.S., at over 2 miles long. Eight miles at its widest, Lake Buchanan supports all water sports known to man. This lake is where you will find the Vanishing Texas River Cruise.

INKS LAKE
Inks Lake is the shortest of the Highland Lakes. It is popular with water skiers due to its calm waters, due to there being fewer wake producing boats in the water. Many consider this the most beautiful lake in the Highland Lakes System. You will find Inks Lake State Park and the Inks Lake National Fish Hatchery here.

LAKE LBJ
Lake LBJ is similar to Lake Travis in that it is big and wide at its southern end with the lake narrowing and winding at its northern end. Lake LBJ has become a popular retirement zone, as well as a recreational destination with weekend resorts and condominiums along its shore.

LAKE MARBLE FALLS
Lake Marble Falls is almost as small as Inks Lake. The annual Cigarette Boat Races are the biggest tourist attraction.

LAKE TRAVIS
Lake Travis is where many believe you can view the most spectacular sunsets in Texas. You can join the nightly crowd at Oasis Cantina del Lago and join in the nightly ritual of ooh and awing as the sun makes its final dip over the horizon. Lake Travis is the most popular of the Highland Lakes, both due to its proximity to Austin and its size. You will find many marinas to dock your boat. Or rent one. You'll find Bob Wentz Park and Windy Point Park. And you will find Hippie Hollow were wearing clothes is optional.

LAKE AUSTIN
The water of Lake Austin comes from the bottom of Lake Travis, making it the coolest of the Highland Lakes. Lake Austin is so named because it is in Austin with the skyline of downtown at the east end of the lake. There are a lot of boats on Lake Austin. And scenery, with steep cliffs rising from the lake's edge. Emma Long Metropolitan Park, known to locals as City Park, give what is probably the best access to Lake Austin. You will find several marinas with boat rentals on the lake

LADY BIRD LAKE
In 1960 Austin built Longhorn Dam, making the 7th of the Highland Lakes, Lady Bird Lake. The lake was built as a cooling pond for a power plant, no longer used. And as a city beautification project.


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