Blanco State Recreation Area is just off U.S. Highway 281 on the south side of Blanco in Blanco County. The 105-acre park covers about a mile-long strip of land on both sides of the Blanco River. Private landowners deeded the land to the state in 1933. On June 20, 1933, Company 854 of the Civilian Conservation Corps made improvements on the land. Capt. John L. Hill was commander of the camp, which included 177 CCC workers and a corps of engineers. The men built two seven-foot-high dams of stone from the riverbed, roads, two concrete bridges, and a concession house with eighteen-inch stone walls and pine timbers and shingles. Facilities also included a bathhouse, seven campsites, and a seventy-foot table. The work group included a tree army responsible for pruning trees and shrubs and planting shade and fruit trees. The workmen completed their job in May 1934, and Blanco State Park (as it was called then) became one of the earliest parks in the Texas park system.
Glenrose limestone in the park gives the terrain a stairstep appearance. The riverbed contains layers of limestone and softer marl formed since prehistoric times, when a shallow sea covered the area that is now the Hill Country; outcroppings of a fossil zone with ancient clams and oysters can be seen. Dinosaur tracks have been preserved in the streambed a mile upriver from the park and three miles downstream from the park, on private property. Local vegetation includes juniper, live oak, mesquite, and grasses that grow from dark calcareous stony clays and clay loams. Some water-tolerant hardwoods and conifers are present along the streambed. Area wildlife includes deer, armadillos, squirrels, and a variety of birds.
In 1982 renovations began in the park with the addition of more facilities and the first solar-heated water system in a Texas state park. The system included 240 gallons of thermal storage for showers and restrooms and resulted in savings in the cost of electricity. The renovated park opened on July 30, 1983. Its facilities included thirty-seven picnic sites, twenty-one campsites, ten trailer hookups, and a trailer dump station. The park is used by local citizens and tourists, many from Austin and San Antonio. Fishing, swimming, boating, and camping are popular park activities.
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Ross A. Maxwell, Geologic and Historic Guide to the Texas State Parks (Bureau of Economic Geology, University of Texas at Austin, 1970). John Moursund, Blanco County History (Burnet, Texas: Nortex, 1979). James Wright Steely, The Civilian Conservation Corps in Texas State Parks (Austin: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 1986). Texas Parks and Wildlife, March 1985.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Laurie E. Jasinski,
“Blanco State Recreation Area,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed July 02, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
November 1, 1994