Monday, June 27, 2011

Review: South Llano State Park

I am in love with this state park. My husband and i have visited and camped in many of Texas's state parks, and have enjoyed most. But i think this particular site may be our new favorite.

Just outside of Junction, TX South Llano isn't very close to any large cities, and so feels a lot wilder than some of the parks we've stayed. There are no oil rig drones, no highway noises, no summer camp screams. There's just lots and lots of bird song. South Llano SP is home to a Winter turkey roosting area, and has many bird blinds all over the park for observing the amazing bird population. In the short time we were there (and we never made it to a blind, sadly) we saw wrens, a painted bunting, hawks and some very tiny and very cute little warbler looking thing. Our morning was started to a chorus of birdsong and our evening ended with sights of swallows snacking on stray insects. I highly recommend this park to any birder or person keen to see plenty of wildlife. We also saw bunnies and a few whiptail lizards who took advantage of our on sight water spigot.

Random photo of me posing as a gypsy with my hanging onions

South Llano is also great for recreation. There are really excellent trails which we utilized on an earlier visit later (and cooler) in the year. They would be good for bikes as well as hiking and meander under some tall trees. All Texas state parks enforce a 6 foot leash for your dogs, so be ready to practice your walking on-lead. We took Pocket here when she was just learning, so the trails were slow going. She'd have great fun winding around the trails now though.  There's a sweet day use area at the beginning of the park as well which is great for swimming or tubing down a little shoot. We fully utilized this area on this particular visit, as it was 100 degrees out! Floating in the light current was just divine and the perfect end to our first day on the hot road. There were quite a few folks playing in the water in the early afternoon, but it cleared out nicely and was certainly nothing compared to the river areas close to Austin.

South Llano SP seems to draw folks from all over the state. Every time we've been there, we've engaged someone in conversation, and they've all declared their love for the park, and their willingness to drive as far as necessary just to relax in the river's waters. If you're looking for a camping destination to take the family before school's back in, or just wanting to take a day getaway - i recommend making the drive out to Junction and getting your fill of the waters, trails, and birds of this state park.

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