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Eagle’s-eye View

South Llano River’s Overlook Trail 

Distance: 0.9 miles (one-way) • Difficulty Level: 3/5 • Approximate Time: 45 minutes (one-way)

At South Llano River State Park, people come for the river. For good reason — it’s a spring-fed, Hill Country river with small rapids for playing and deeper pools for swimming and floating. The fishing’s good, too.

Regular visitors know, however, that there’s plenty to appreciate beyond the river. The park is home to one of the largest Rio Grande turkey roosts in Central Texas. It also boasts almost 23 miles of trails, and many of the backcountry trails provide solitude even on busy weekends.

If you want an eagle’s-eye perspective of the area, the Overlook Trail provides great views of the park and river valley.

Most of the park’s trails are old roads, but the Overlook Trail, which opened in 2020, was built as a trail with hikers in mind.

The trail starts near the walk-in camping area. If you want, begin with a short detour to the Juniper Bird Blind, an excellent place to see species such as painted bunting, black-throated sparrow and spotted towhee.

Back on the trail, hikers will experience a short walk (almost 1 mile) with gradual elevation increases to one of the highest points in the park (no bikes allowed due to the steep grade). The relatively flat beginning leads to a series of switchbacks up the side of a rocky hill covered with oak-juniper woodlands.

The trail’s end point on top of the hill provides an expansive look at the river valley, a corridor of hills, canyons and limestone bluffs. The South Llano gurgles to life from headwaters in the “Land of 1,100 Springs” to the south and flows north through the park to meet the North Llano River at Junction.

“You can hike up and watch the sunrise or sunset or just hang out and be amazed at what the Hill Country has to offer,” says park natural resource specialist Lorissa Digiacomo.

 Russell Roe  Maegan Lanham | TPWD; Bench: Sonja Sommerfeld | TPWD

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