Canyon of the Eagles in Texas Hill Country is all about nature

Sunsets, scenery, and stargazing. That’s just scratching the surface of a visit to Canyon of the Eagles in the heart of Texas Hill Country. This 940-acre nature preserve is owned by Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), a non-profit utility company.  The park is located where scenic Highway 2341 dead ends, 15 minutes from Burnet, 30 minutes from Llano, and just over an hour from Austin or Fredericksburg.

Named for the bald eagles that nest in the Upper Highland Lakes Region from November through March, the park showcases flora and fauna of Lake Buchanan and provides a home for the endangered black-capped vireo and golden-cheeked warbler.  Other wildlife living in the preserve includes bobcat, mountain lion, snakes, deer, armadillo, raccoon, and hawks.

But it’s not all wild. In October 2009, Calibre Hospitality took over management of the resort at Canyon of the Eagles, and it’s been all good since then.  The resort has 62 full-service guest rooms in 16 buildings, many with outside porches overlooking the lake (We sat on our rocking chairs, listening to the birds cheep and chirp, and breathing in fresh air that drifted over the lake). There’s no television, but hopefully you’ll be too busy appreciating all the natural beauty to miss it (Wi-fi is available).

The resort includes an outdoor circular swimming pool with hot tub, flowing stream, and rock waterfall.  Meeting facilities that can accommodate up to 500 people, an outdoor amphitheater on one of the trails, three miles of private lakefront, gift shop, and park store are also available.

The fabulous Overlook Restaurant (named for outstanding sunset-on-the-lake-views) prepares dishes with local ingredients and accompanied by Hill Country wines.  Fourteen miles of designated nature trails provide myriad outdoor opportunities to suit all ages and fitness levels. Fishing, kayaking, and canoeing are available from the boat dock.

For folks not staying at the lodge, there are 23 campsites with potable water, fire rings, and picnic tables at Chimney Slough. At Tanner Point 10 primitive campsites, including one large group campsite for up to 100 people, feature serene lake scenes.  Set among cedar elm, a variety of oaks, and mesquite trees are 25 full-hookup RV sites, each 40 feet long, with newly renovated shower and restroom facility.

“This place is like a mini national park,” says Cindy Bower, president and CEO of Calibre. Having worked at Yellowstone and Yosemite previously, she knows what she’s talking about. “We’re all about education and nature here,” she adds.

Special interpretive and educational programs are scheduled on the main patio, amphitheater, and Eagle Eye Observatory. Led by a certified naturalist or member of Austin Astrological Society, these programs are complimentary for guests and may include a cowboy poet and story-teller or a movie under the stars.

Lake Buchanan, a man-made lake established for flood control, irrigation, and electric power, is a focal point of the park. But you won’t think about those technicalities on your relaxing getaway. Canyon of the Eagles is the perfect place to simply enjoy nature’s beauty—with special spots such as The Perch and Sunset Point (gorgeous place for a wedding) providing incredible views.

Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier

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