Hill Country
Lady Bird Lake
Lady Bird Lake (Formerly Town Lake) Information:
The 468 surface acre Lady Bird Lake (formerly Town Lake) was created by the construction of the Longhorn Dam on the Colorado River. The lake was impounded in 1960. Picnic tables and overlooks are located at the dam. The Tom Miller Dam forming Lake Austin is located on the northern end of the lake. This constant level lake has a maximum depth of 18 feet. Both Barton Springs and Cold Springs discharge into the lake. Cold Springs, the springs that originally created the Deep Eddy Pool, are now covered by Lady Bird Lake, but can be viewed on the south shore of the lake near Deep Eddy Pool, approximately 0.25 miles upstream from Mopac. A small rock wall has been built around the springs forming a mini-hot tub. During the winter months, Barton Springs provides much of the water flow to the lake. The lake is located in the City of Austin. In 2007, Town Lake was renamed Lady Bird Lake after Lady Bird Johnson. During the 1970s, Lady Bird was instrumental in forming the Town Lake Beautification Project that cleaned up and landscaped the Town Lake Hike and Bike Trail and the lakeside parks. Sailing, kayaking and canoeing are permitted on the lake. Gas powered motor boats are prohibited on the lake. Swimming in also prohibited, so unless you participate in the annual May Howdy Honda Cap 2K Open Water Race & Pledge Swim or some other special event, you will not be legally swimming in the lake. The Money Box race begins at Red Bud Isle and finishes at the Texas Rowing Center on the east side of the Mopac Bridge. Proceeds benefit Deep Eddie Pool and the Swim Safe for Austin Kids program which offers swimming lessons to underprivileged children. The lake facilities are managed by the City of Austin. The lake is patrolled by the Austin Police Department’s Lake Patrol Unit. Public Access Facilities Map
Colorado River:
The Colorado River is the largest of the rivers that exist wholly in Texas. The river rises in intermittent draws in northeastern Dawson County and flows generally southeastward for 600 miles before it bends to the east across southern Burnet County and continues its southeastern course across Travis, Bastrop, Payette, Colorado, Wharton, and Matagorda Counties to its mouth on Matagorda Bay near Palacios, Texas. Major towns on its route include Austin, Lamesa, Colorado City, Robert Lee, Ballinger, Paint Rock, Marble Falls, Bastrop, Smithville, La Grange, Columbus, Wharton, Bay City and Matagorda. Important reservoirs (lakes) on the Colorado include Lake J.B. Thomas, E.V. Spence Reservoir, Buchanan Lake, Inks Lake, Lake LBJ, Lake Marble Falls, Lake Travis, Lake Austin, and Lady Bird Lake (Town Lake) in Austin; the latter 7 lakes are known as the Highland Lakes. Early in the 19th century the river’s slow current caused the formation of a raft, or a log jam, which gradually grew upstream so that the river was navigable in 1839 for only ten miles above its mouth. By 1858 the situation in Matagorda and Wharton counties had become so bad that the state appropriated funds for the construction of a new channel around the raft; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened the channel in the mid-1800s, but it was not maintained so the raft filled it up. After the Civil War the Colorado ceased to be a factor in transportation. The delta that developed after removal of the log jam in 1925, reached across Matagorda Bay as far as Matagorda Peninsula by 1936. In 1936 a channel was dredged through the new delta from the Gulf of Mexico to the town of Matagorda, thus forcing the river to deposit its flotsam and sediment directly into the Gulf. With the removal of the raft, the seaport town of Matagorda gradually became landlocked. The present Caney Creek channel was the original channel of the Colorado River until approximately a thousand years ago. The Lower, Central, and Upper Colorado River Authorities are the three agencies that oversee the conservation of and use of the Colorado River. Fish Stocking History