Sitting on the southwestern edge of Texas Hill Country, South Llano River State Park is best known for its title feature: the spring-fed, slow-moving South Llano River, which offers opportunities for swimming, floating, paddling, and fishing. While the park’s two miles of river frontage are enough to attract any water-loving visitor, South Llano River State Park is also a haven for birdwatchers, stargazers, hikers, and mountain bikers—making it an obvious addition to your growing list of RV adventures.
In addition to its many water activities on the South Llano River, this Texas state park is also proudly home to one of the largest turkey roosts in Central Texas and more than 250 species of birds. It has also been designated as an International Dark Sky Park, which means visitors can enjoy stellar views of the night sky, including the Milky Way. Those looking to explore the park by foot or on two wheels can then take advantage of the park’s 22.7 miles of trails, which wind through steep ridges and bottomland hardwood forest, and offer possible sightings of the diverse wildlife in the park, including nine-banded armadillos, axis deer, gray fox, and the endangered golden-cheeked warbler. Visitors who want to feel connected to the park’s history can simply stop by the park’s headquarters, which used to be the home of Walter White Buck, Jr., who donated this land to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 1977.
The park offers 58 RV sites with water and electric hookups, and is open mostly year-round, except for selected winter dates for drawn public hunts. Peak season runs from March through October, but the park enjoys mild winters, with average lows of 32 degrees in January, and very hot summers, with average highs of 94 degrees in July, so there is something unique to enjoy every time of year.
RV Rentals in South Llano River State Park
Transportation in South Llano River State Park
Getting to and around South Llano River State Park in an RV is relatively easy, as the park is located just a few miles off Interstate 10, right off of US Highway 377. While the park offers many miles of trails, there is not too much driving to do within the park, which makes navigating in your rig fairly simple: the campground is located just a short walk from the park headquarters and only about two miles from US-377.
Once inside the park, parking is available at each campsite and in designated areas throughout the park, including near the entrance of the campground, at the park headquarters, around the turkey roost area, and near the tube and canoe put-in point.
Visitors in search of gifts, food, and other supplies can stop by the Texas State Parks Store located in the headquarters building, or drive the six miles north to Junction, which has several restaurants, shops, and a grocery store. The park is fairly remote, at about two hours from San Antonio and two and a half hours from Austin—but visitors will find it is worth the trip.
Campgrounds and parking in South Llano River State Park
Campsites in South Llano River State Park
Electric and Water Campsites
South Llano River State Park has 58 RV sites with water and electric hookups. These sites can accommodate up to eight people per site, and each have a picnic table. There are no sewer hookups, but guests can make use of the dump station located near the entrance to the campground. The campground also offers restrooms with showers. These sites—sites 1-58—are located in one big loop just steps from the park headquarters, and offer easy access to Buck Lake Trail and Overlook Trail, which means you can stretch your legs and enjoy a scenic view just a short walk from your site.
Seasonal activities in South Llano River State Park
In addition to its great tubing and paddling opportunities, the South Llano River is also home to the state fish of Texas, the Guadalupe bass. The Guadalupe bass is a popular game fish, as it puts up a big fight when anglers hook it, so if you are looking for an exciting day of fishing, head straight to the South Llano River and try your luck at catching this challenging fish. Anglers can also take advantage of the paddling opportunities on the South Llano and fish from their boat.
Those looking for a more active way to enjoy the South Llano River can bring their canoe or kayak—or rent one locally—and paddle it. The park has one designated spot for paddlers to park and put-in, and shuttle services are also available locally, so if you would prefer to get your heart rate up and paddle along this scenic stretch of river, rather than just float along it, gear up and plan to paddle to your heart’s content.
One of the most popular ways to enjoy the South Llano River while visiting South Llano River State Park is to float the river in a tube. If you visit the park in the warmer months, plan to set aside some time to float along in the spring-fed South Llano, taking advantage of the park’s multiple put-in and take-out points for tubers along its two miles of river frontage. The park even makes it easy and offers tube rentals, though you are also welcome to bring your own.
Hiking & Biking
Visitors looking to do something active any time of year can take advantage of South Llano River State Park’s 22.7 miles of trails, available for hiking and biking use. The park has a trail to suit every level of hiker and mountain biker, with trails ranging from an easy 0.4 mile stroll on the Interpretive Trail, to a moderate 2.6 mile hike or bike along Fawn Trail, up to a difficult 4.0 mile trek on Frontera Trail.
South Llano River State Park is a birdwatcher’s paradise: the park is home to one of the largest winter Rio Grande wild turkey roosts in Central Texas, as well as more than 250 species of birds. The park offers four bird blinds and even has its own birding field checklist available, detailing how common each bird is during each season of the year, which birdwatchers can use to track their sightings. Look out for golden-crowned kinglet, great blue heron, cedar waxwing, spotted sandpiper, black-bellied whistling-duck, sandhill crane, and the endangered golden-cheeked warbler, among others. Those eager to watch the turkeys, though, should make sure to visit between October and late March, as this is when the turkeys roost.
No matter how you choose to spend your days at South Llano River State Park, consider reserving some time at night to take in the stars above during your visit. This Texas state park is an International Dark Sky Park, which means you can expect an exceptional view of the night sky—you can even glimpse the Milky Way. For the stargazing experts, South Llano’s Bortle Scale rating is Class 3 on a scale of one to nine—where Class 1 is the darkest skies available on Earth, and Class 9 is inner-city skies.