Llano River, Texas, US
|Usual Difficulty||I-II+(III) (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||8 fpm|
|Max Gradient||30 fpm|
|Llano Rv at Llano, TX|
|usgs-08151500||120 - 50000 cfs||I-II+(III)||00h41m||7950 cfs (running)|
This 8 mile stretch of the Llano River is arguably the most diverse kayak run of the 100+ mile Llano River system. It has the steepest descent along with a wide basin and provides multiple lines, technical segments, and various feature options.
It is generally a low flow shallow rocky river made of granite and some sandy deeper flatwater sections. It's easy to bottom out with a deeper draft boat and navigating the correct channel or stream is paramount to preventing a portage.
This recorded kayaking activity on Stava (https://www.strava.com/activities/683009214) is a generally good navigation path at 230 cfs unless you want to avoid the uncomfortably overgrown "Spider Branch Alley" segment and miss Finley Dam. In that case it's best to keep staying left after the "Stay Left Before Splits" segment to make the northern most braid.
Without the aid of real-time map navigation or a guide, you're most enjoyable kayaking strategy at lower flows is to generally stay left and read the water. A more specific strategy is "If you see rocks stay left. If you see sand stay right."
But with higher flows from rainfall, previously inaccessible segments open up, while other areas conceal more underwater rock hazards. This makes navigation challenging but is all part of the fun in choosing your own adventure!
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
If you make it to this river segment, Finley Dam is the second biggest feature on the route. It's a century old mill that has slowly eroded. Best to shoot the middle but you may scrape bottom at lower flows. Class 2 - 2+
Big Kahuna is the biggest rapid on the route. Somewhere between a Class 2 and 3 at flows 150-350 cfs.