Discovering the Highland Lakes

Published in the Wilson County News on September 6, 2017

Discovering the Highland Lakes                                            


Story and Photos by Harry and Linda Perez                                                                                            Exclusive to the Wilson County News   

     The Highland Lakes, part of the beautiful Texas Hill Country, is a chain of six fresh water lakes fed by the lower Colorado River and includes Lake Buchanan, Inks Lake, Lake LBJ, Lake Marble Falls, Lake Travis and Lake Austin. Each lake offers unprecedented opportunities for camping, fishing, boating, water sports, hiking, wildlife viewing and family fun. A great place to start discovering the Highland Lakes is Burnet County, founded in 1852 and named for the first president of the Republic of Texas. 



        Canyon of the Eagles Nature Park & Resort is a 940-acre cooperative effort between the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) and a private company. The park is incredible; bordering Lake Buchanan it offers lakeside camping, RV hookups, trails, educational programs and even an observatory with an experienced astronomer to guide you through the night sky. The Resort offers cozy lakeside cottages and the Overlook, a first-class restaurant that is open to anyone in the park. Other activities offered are live music, guided and themed nature walks, and bingo.  

       Vanishing Texas River Cruise is a fully narrative two-hour scenic cruise on Lake Buchanan. The best time to see eagles is November through March, but if you go at other times, you can still enjoy a relaxing cruise, passing beautiful waterfalls and other interesting rock formations and magnificent water birds. Also offered are Sunset, Wildlife, Dinner and Wine Cruises. Tickets.

Family Fun-1

         Cypress Valley Canopy Tours is an adrenalin pumping, exhilarating experience. Fly from platform to platform through giant cypress trees while safely tethered by steel cables. This is an experience of a lifetime. 

     Longhorn Cavern State Park.  This river-formed cavern offers tours including a guided walking tour, Wild Cave Tour, Photography Tour and a Geology Program. Most tours last about 1½ hours. 

   Fort Croghan Grounds and Museum. Fort Croghan was established in 1849 as one of the original forts set up to the U.S. Government to protect settlers in the area from the Comanche and Apache warriors. Along with many artifacts, there are several original buildings that were erected by soldiers at the Fort including the hospital, officers' quarters, enlisted men's huts, commissary, bakery and horse and mule lots. Allow one hour to see the museum and grounds; there is no admission fee, but donations are appreciated.


Taste it

        Wineries:  There are over 50 wineries along the Texas Wine Trail from Austin to Fredericksburg and Lampasas to New Braunfels. We visited two in Burnet County, Pilot Knob and Kfire.  We arrived at Pilot Knob, named for the prominent volcanic formation on the property, just minutes after they finished harvesting grapes (by hand, of course). The tasting-room manager took a picture of one of the last clusters of grapes she was picking and shared it with us.  Kfire Winery is owned by a 29-year veteran of the Austin Fire Department, and named his special wines to reflect that, such as Engine 12, Ladder 19 and Spotted Dog. These two wineries are side by side, so it makes it easy to visit both the same day, and both offer wine tastings. 

Ft. Groghan


       Accommodations:  There is a wide variety of overnight accommodations available. We stayed at the Painted Sky Inn; our back door open up to Lake Buchanan and the sunsets were absolutely incredible. Each evening, the owner, Denise Lewis, had a fire going down by the shore for anyone who wanted to sit and enjoy the ambience.  We were there in late July and there were deer everywhere: in the park, neighborhoods and on main roads.

       Where to Eat:  There is no shortage of great eateries in the area. Also many of the resorts have full kitchens in their units and there is an HEB store in the city of Burnet, in case you need supplies. 

        There is so much to see and so much to do that you could spend a month at the Highland Lakes and never even scratch the surface. You could rough it in the many campgrounds and RV parks available, or you could experience a special and romantic evening out, dining in elegance, then spend a night in the lap of luxury in a number of high-end accommodations.  And, you must top off the day with the dark night sky at the observatory.  


Canyon of the Eagles Nature Park & Resort                                                                                                                                        16942 RR 2341, Brunet  (512) 334-2070 or (800) 977-0081                                                                                                                                                             

Painted Sky Inn                                                                                                                                                                                           1-400 CR 128, Burnet (512) 715-9896

Thunderbird Resort                                                                                                                                                                                      200 Greenwood Hill Trail, Burnet (512) 756-1878

Log Country Cove                                                                                                                                                                                     617 Log Country Cove, Burnet  (512) 756-9132


Longhorn Caverns                                                                                                                                                                                      6211 Park Road 45.Burnet  (512) 715-9000

Pilot Knob Vineyard                                                                                                                                                                                   3125 CR 212, Bertram, (512) 489-2999

Kfire Winery & Vineyard                                                                                                                                                                       3059 County Rd. 212, Bertram, (512) 489-2929

Cypress Valley Canopy Tours                                                                                                                                                                   1223 S. Paleface Ranch Rd. Spicewood, (512) 264-8880

Vanishing Texas River Cruise                                                                                                                                                                       443 Waterway Ln, Burnet (512) 756-6986

Fort Croghan Grounds & Museum                                                                                                                                                              703 Buchanan Dr., Burnet (512) 756-8281

Park Sign
Family Fun-2


   © Harry Perez 2012