Llano River

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: June 19, 2020

The Llano River rises in two spring-fed branches, the North and South Llano rivers. The North Llano rises in west central Sutton County (at 30°37' N, 100°26' W) and runs generally east for about forty miles to its confluence (at 30°30' N, 99°45' W) with the South Llano, just east of Junction in Kimble County. The South Llano rises in northwestern Edwards County (at 30°13' N, 100°29' W) and runs northeast for fifty-five miles to meet the North Llano. The Llano River proper flows east for about 100 miles, crossing Kimble, Mason, and Llano counties on its way to its mouth on the Colorado River, at Lake Lyndon B. Johnson near Kingsland (at 30°39' N, 98°26' W). Spanish explorers, such as Domingo Ramón in 1711, Pedro de Rábago y Terán in 1754, and José Mares in 1787 and 1788, called the water course Río de los Chanes or Río de los Sanas, possibly after the Sana Indians, a Tonkawa tribe who lived in Central Texas. The name Llano, Spanish for "plain," came into use in the nineteenth century. Settlement of the Llano River valley began in the mid-to-late 1840s, when German Americans from Fredericksburg moved north. The communities of Castell, Hedwigs Hill, and Llano had been established by the mid-1850s, and the arrival of the railroad in the 1870s led to the flourishing of Kingsland and Junction. The Telegraph and Roosevelt communities, in the river's upper reaches, were not established until the 1880s, when the threat of Indian raids had been eliminated. In the early 1990s most of the land along the Llano River was undeveloped. The river runs through rolling terrain and over limestone formations characteristic of the Hill Country. The local soils, which are predominantly clay and sandy loams, support a variety of vegetation, including oak, juniper, pecan, mesquite, and grasses. The river has a constant flow and provides excellent opportunities for canoeing. The South Llano River State Park offers camping and other recreation facilities.

Bexar Archives, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Frederick Webb Hodge, ed., Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1907, 1910; rpt., New York: Pageant, 1959). Gilbert J. Jordan, Yesterday in the Texas Hill Country (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1979). Ann P. White, "The South Llano," Texas Parks and Wildlife, May 1990.

Time Periods:

  • Spanish Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Anonymous, “Llano River,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 17, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/llano-river.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 19, 2020

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