The Texas Highland Lakes is a chain of six fresh water lakes in Central Texas formed by six dams on the Colorado River. There’s no doubt the water, including some near constant-level lakes, draws people to the region as full-time residents or regular visitors. The four lakes in the Highland Lakes area of Burnet and Llano counties from upstream to downstream include:
- Lake Buchanan is the largest of the Highland Lakes Chain, and was formed by the construction of Buchanan Dam in 1939 by the Lower Colorado River Authority to provide a water supply for the region and hydroelectric power. It was the first of the Texas Highland Lakes to be formed. Lake Buchanan, like other nearby lakes is stocked with fish, and much of the land surrounding it is privately owned and used for vacation and retirement homes, as well as full-time residents.
- Inks Lake is a popular venue for recreation, including fishing, boating, swimming, camping, and picnicking. It was formed in 1938 by the construction of Inks Dam by the Lower Colorado River Authority. The lake is stocked with several species of fish intended to improve recreational fishing. Species include largemouth bass, white bass, catfish, crappie and sunfish. Inks Lake is a level-controlled reservoir with less than one foot variation in water level annually. In addition to privately owned residential homes and lots, it is the home of Camp Longhorn, as a summer camp for youth, and Inks State Park, the state’s most visited state park.
- Lake Lyndon B. Johnson is a near-constant-level lake on the Colorado that was formed in 1950 by the construction of Granite Shoals Dam by the Lower Colorado River Authority. The lake was renamed Lake Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965 in honor of U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson, who owned a ranch on the lake and was instrumental in the construction of the dams and the extension of electrical service to the areas. He and Mrs. Johnson entertained national and foreign dignitaries on the lake during his vice presidency and presidency. The towns of Granite Shoals, Kingsland, Horseshoe Bay, Highland Haven and Sunrise Beach are located on the lake, which is used for recreation, and provides water for the Thomas J. Ferguson power plant operated by the LCRA.
- Lake Marble Falls greets visitors as they enter Marble Falls from the south. It´s the site of the annual Lakefest and drag boat races. A large city park provides access for boating and fishing. You can enjoy the scenery from lakeside restaurants or one of the local hotels built along the lake or in prime locations to take advantage of the views. Lake Marble Falls is also noteworthy for doubling the beauty of Christmas lights displayed yearly at the city´s Walk of Lights.
- The Llano River is a tributary of the Colorado River and is approximately 105 miles long. It provides a picturesque backdrop for the City of Llano and many recreational activities. Residents and visitors can enjoy golfing and camping near the river, or get the full river experience by fishing, canoeing and kayaking. It is one of the few popular fly fishing destinations in the State of Texas. The river joins the Colorado as an arm of Lake LBJ.