5 reasons to stay at Lake Travis – The Picayune | Gmx Pharm

A view of Lake Travis from Pace Bend Park in Spicewood shows the dramatic natural stonework that encompasses its southern end. Enjoy miles of hiking and endless water sports while exploring the cliffs and streams that line the lake. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

Lake Travis may be the most famous of the Highland Lakes as a cool-off hotspot outside of Austin, but that’s only half of this body of water. The Colorado River spills over the Max Starcke Dam just outside of Marble Falls, and that’s where Lake Travis really begins.

The lake’s early meanders and turns are indistinguishable from the Colorado River, creating miles of winding waterways waiting to be explored. We draw a line at Pace Bend Park in Spicewood and claim the north end of the lake; Austin can have the rest.

When planning your trip to the Highland Lakes, don’t forget the wilder waters of Lake Travis.

Here are 5 reasons to stay — and play — at Lake Travis


When it comes to outdoor adventures, the shores and surrounding area of ​​Lake Travis is hard to beat. Krause springs, Canyon country balconiesand Pace Bend Park are among the top contenders for places to pedal while visiting the lake.

Krause Springs is a spring-fed swimming hole that gushes just outside of Spicewood. This pristine pond stays a cool 68 degrees year-round and does not dry up even in extreme droughts. visitors can Stay for the day or camp outside. While the springs are closed in the winter, the cool, clear waters are hard to beat during a scorching Texas summer.

Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge is just a few miles north of Lake Travis and offers some of the best – and most natural – hiking trails in the Highland Lakes. Hike through miles of pristine rolling hills, ancient cedar stands and crystal clear streams as you navigate lime-crusted hills overlooking Lake Travis.

Pace Bend Park offers everything from lounging by the lake to rugged mountain biking. Hike over 15 miles of trails, camp, bird watch or watch the sunset on the bluffs of the Colorado River.

If you’re looking to get off the beaten path, visit one of the many Lower Colorado River Authority recreation areas along the lake, including Muleshoe Bend, glare, Turkey curve, constricted, Shaffer Bendand Gloster Bend.


The north end of Lake Travis looks more like a river than a lake. This winding part of the lake is relatively remote and tranquil. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

With a sizable portion of Lake Travis just a stone’s throw from Austin, you’d think the shoreline would be dominated by lakefront homes, and you’d be mostly right. The southwest end of Lake Travis is surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the city, but once you head up the river it gets a little wild.

The waters between Marble Falls and Pace Bend Park are relatively uninhabited, creating an unexpected natural sanctuary.

Kayak, paddleboard, or canoe through the streams and canyons that flow into the lake, or cruise up the Pedernales River, which enters Travis from the southwest Milton Reimer’s Ranch Parkor Hamilton pools preserve.

With over 30 miles of lake between Max Starcke Dam and Pace Bend Park there is plenty of room to boat, explore and relax.


Choosing the north end of Lake Travis will give you a taste of the true Highland Lakes and the communities that thrive here. Bustling downtown marble falls and the scattered gems around spice wood are not far from the shores of northern Lake Travis.

Get a beer at king of bears, save the worldor double horn and explore Marble Falls. Try wine at Spicewood Vineyards, Steinhaus Vineyardor Flat Creek Estate. For something stronger, sip spirits Iron Wolf Ranch & Distillery just outside of Spicewood.

If you’re hungry, Marble Falls has a lot of options from which to choose fresh sushi to traditional Italian. Texas barbecue is not in short supply, and Opie’s BBQ in Spicewood has some of the best around.

Refuel in the morning with a coffee or tea out Numinous coffee roasters in Marble Falls or Yellow Dog Coffee Co. at Spicewood.

A secluded stay among the cedars can still have the comforts of home, so take advantage of all that the surrounding Highland Lakes communities have to offer.


If you want to cast a line, Lake Travis offers ample opportunity for fishing around meandering curves, sheer cliffs and shady shores. Spring and fall are the best times of year to target largemouth bass and this coincides with the biannual white bass runs.

Blue cats dominate the lake’s catfish population. Use stink baits and cut baits to attract them. Flathead and Channel cat populations also exist, but they are caught less frequently. Target flatheads and channels with live bait with the same stink/cut bait you use on the blues.

The lake’s terrain and structure changes drastically from one end to the other, with the north characterized by murky waters and shady shores, and the south being fringed with towering cliffs and containing clearer water. Make sure you have one Texas Parks and Wildlife Department fishing license if you want to fish anywhere in Lake Travis.

Escape from Austin

Austin might be calling you to the Texas Hill Country, and that’s understandable. A thriving capital full of possibilities, opportunities and endless entertainment is hard to beat. But along with the excitement of a big city comes big headaches like traffic, outrageous spending, and unbridled noise at all hours of the day and night.

Lake Travis has long been a haven for Austin locals and visitors looking for lakeside relaxation, but if you’re planning a Hill Country trip, make your base camp on the lake’s north shore.

Avoid the noise of Austin and enjoy the tranquility of Lake Travis and the true Highland Lakes. Take on the city on your own terms.

After making north Lake Travis your vacation destination, check out our List of places to stay in the Highland Lakes.


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