Llano, Texas, US
|Usual Difficulty||II-III(IV) (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||7 fpm|
|Max Gradient||20 fpm|
|Llano Rv at Llano, TX|
|usgs-08151500||2000 - 50000 cfs||II-III(IV)||01h09m||2510 cfs (running)|
|Upper limit on best flows for this reach unknown. Please contribute a comment or report. Gauge is just downstream of the put-in.|
Pink granite is a sight not often seen in Texas, which is why the rivers and creeks that cut through the Llano Uplift, a granite vein running roughly from Fredericksburg to Burnet, are a rare prize. The Llano, in particular, is a very wide river, but because granite doesn't erode as quickly as limestone, some of the rapids on it are surprisingly technical. Above 10,000 cfs, the river starts to behave like a big water run, generating some Grand Canyon-sized features.
Since whitewater paddlers most often put in at Long's Fish Camp to run the falls, beta is needed on the stretch above this. Difficulty rating for that stretch is taken from Texas Whitewater. Distances and gradient measured using GIS tools in 2015.
The following drone footage shows The Slab, Eagle Rock, and Long Falls at thousands of cfs (exact level unknown, but probably between 3000-7000 cfs, based on the gauge readings on the day it was shot):
For scale, the river is well over 100 yards wide at Eagle Rock.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|0.0||Grenwelge Park (Llano)||N/A|
|17.5||Long's Fish Camp||N/A|
|18.0||Eagle Rock / Long Falls||IV|
|19.1||FM 3404/Slab Rd (Low-Water Crossing)||N/A|
Public parking and access on river right
Alternate put-in for running just the falls (fee required)
A large granite butte at river right (Eagle Rock) signals the beginning of Long Falls. Long Falls is a river-wide feature formed by granite outcroppings that "constrict" the river. "Constrict" is in quotes, because the river is still more than 100 yards wide here, so the sheer size and power of it at high flows are nothing short of spectacular. At medium flows (thousands of cfs), a grabby hole forms at river right at the bottom of the rapid and seems to be at its grabbiest at around 2000-4000 cfs. It has caused more than one experienced whitewater kayaker to swim. At higher flows, it starts to flush out and becomes more of a wave-hole (visible on the left in the above video at around 4:09) with a wave train behind it (at 10,000+ cfs, the waves become huge.) Another hole forms at river right at the top of the rapid (visible on the left in the above video at around 4:18.) This hole has been known to flip and surf playboats at above 10,000 cfs, but it is generally easy to side-surf out of. The best play feature is the wave between those two holes.
At high water, river-wide exposed granite shoals create an almost continuous wave field between here and the takeout, with some catch-on-the-fly play waves.
Will be fully submerged at high water. Parking available at river left on the highway easement.