Lakes in Austin

Austin skyline from the hike and bike trail


Austin, Texas sits on both sides of the Colorado River and is known for its beautiful man-made lakes.  The river originally posed a great flood danger and a dam system was planned to control it.  Over the years, dams have been built to form seven reservoirs on the river;  these lakes are known as Lady Bird Lake (Town Lake), Lake Austin, Lake Travis, Lake LBJ, Inks Lake, Buchanan Lake, and Lake Marble Falls. Collectively, the seven reservoirs are known as the Highland Lakes.

Lake Austin, Lady Bird Lake, and Lake Travis are considered Austin Lakes since all of them are at least partially within the city borders.  Lady Bird Lake, which still called Town Lake by locals, is in the heart of the city and was the last lake to be formed.    Lake Austin was formed in 1939 when the Miller Dam was built and is overlooked by Mount Bonnell. Lake Travis took shape in 1942 when Mansfield Dam was constructed.  Town Lake, later renamed for Lady Bird Johnson, was formed in 1960 when the Longhorn Dam was erected.

The Austin lakes offer great recreational opportunities.  They have been stocked with a variety of fish and fishing is a favorite activity on all three lakes.  Motor vessels are restricted on Lady Bird Lake, making it safe for all types of paddle boating.  

Lake Travis is the largest of these lakes and many recreation centers are found on its banks.  The city of Lakeway, Texas was begun so that people can enjoy this lake.

The Austin, Texas lake system provides flood control and adds to the region’s character.  Generations of Texans treasure memories made on these lakes. 

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Updated 7/3/2016


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