Pedernales River
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Totaling approximately 106 miles in length, the Pedernales River rises in Kimble County and flows southeast through Gillespie, Blanco, Hays, and Travis Counties where it meets the Colorado River. The backwaters of Lake Travis are formed on the last few miles of the Pedernales. The river is spring-fed, free-flowing, and has many outstanding scenic qualities. The upper Pedernales at normal water levels has an insufficient flow for recreational use. However, the lower section contains the greatest volume of water at normal levels, and contains suitable conditions for recreational use.

HARPER TO US 281 
(Not Mapped) 
66 miles 


The Pedernales River is a scenic Hill Country stream, flowing through rocky, rugged country. Water levels are usually insufficient for normal recreational use of the upper reaches during most of the year. However, during periods of runoff, portions of the upper Pedernales have the potential to become an exciting white water recreational waterway. However, these high water conditions can be very dangerous to inexperienced waterway recreationists. The river above US 281 is extremely narrow and shallow, while the stretch below US 281 is feasible for recreational use if the river is on a slight rise. Waterway features are as follows: 

Country road crossing off FM 2093 - 6 miles southeast of Harper. 
County road crossing off FM 2093 - 17 miles west of Fredericksburg. 
County road crossing off FM 2093 - 16 miles west of Fredericksburg. 
County road crossing off FM 2093 - 11 miles west of Fredericksburg. 
County road crossing between FM 203 and SH 16 - 9 miles south of Fredericksburg. 
SH 16 crossing - 7 miles southwest of Fredericksburg. 
County road crossing off US 16 - 5 miles southeast of Fredericksburg. 
County road crossing off US 16 - 4 miles southeast of Fredericksburg. 
County road crossing off US 16 - 3 miles southwest of Fredericksburg. 
US 87 crossing - 3 miles south of Fredericksburg. 
County road crossing off US 290 - 3 miles south of Fredericksburg. 
County road crossing off US 290 - 4 miles southeast of Fredericksburg. 
County road crossing off US 290 - 7 miles southeast of Fredericksburg. 
County road crossing off US 290 - 10 miles southwest of Fredericksburg. 
County road crossing off US 290 - 11 miles west of Fredericksburg. 
County road crossing off US 290 - 12 miles west of Fredericksburg. 
County road crossing off US 290 - 14 miles west of Fredericksburg. 
FM 1320 crossing - 8 miles west of Johnson City. 
US 281 crossing - one mile northeast of Johnson City. 

US 281 TO SH 71 
39 miles 


This 39-mile section of the Pedernales River in Blanco, Hays, and Travis Counties is an isolated section of waterway flowing through the rugged Hill Country. There are only three road crossings on the entire section, and the Pedernales Falls State Park provides the only other public access point. The river varies in width from 30 to 60 feet and remains relatively shallow for the entire distance. At normal water levels, a minimum amount of water for recreational activities is available. The best water level exists when the river is on a 1 to 2 foot rise. Several exciting rapids are found during these periods, with one excellent rapid being located immediately upstream from Hammett's Crossing. Pedernales Falls, located at the State Park always is a potential hazard to navigation. Because of the difficulty in portaging the Falls, recreational usage from Pedernales Falls State Park to Hammett's Crossing appears most feasible. Also, better water conditions are more common along this stretch. The river is a typical Hill Country river and is well known for its outstanding scenic qualities. Large limestone outcroppings, cedar-covered hills and bluffs, and stately bald cypress trees are present along with abundant wildlife. 

Pedernales River, US 281 to SH 71
Here, the river generally has a wide flood plain and the land opens out for a distance before the hill and bluffs begin. Several sand and gravel bars, in addition to the State Park, are often available for camping and day use. In general, this section of the Pedernales combines outstanding scenic qualities and some exciting rapids (when the river is on a slight rise) to create a quality recreational waterway. Waterway features and distance between each are as follows: 

US 281 crossing - 1 mile northeast of Johnson City. About 100 feet of shoreline are available on the highway right-of-way.
Cottonwood Creek - enters on the left. (6 miles) 
Pedernales Falls State Park - located at the end of A. Robinson Road, 12 miles north-east of Johnson City. Facilities for camping and picnicking are available. Access to the river is limited, and a portage of about 150 to 200 yards down a steep hill is required. (11 miles) 
Calohan Creek - enters on the right. (5 miles) 
Hammett's Crossing - County road crossing, off SH 71, 25 miles west of Austin. Access is poor at this low water crossing. (10 miles) 
Cypress Creek - enters on the left. This is a small but beautiful creek that contains crystal clear waters. (1 mile)
Fall Creek - enters on the left. (6 miles) 
SH 71 crossing - 20 miles west of Austin. The high bridge provides poor access. (0.1 mile) 
Private camp - located just below SH 71. Immediately downstream from SH 71 is Lake Travis.

Austin Outside Guide - Texas State Parks - Bavarian Hill Country

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