Rising in central Sutton County, the North Llano River flows easterly for about 40 miles to the confluence of the South Llano River, forming the mainstream Llano River. The North Llano is a typical Texas pool-and-drop river of about 20-60 feet in width that is mostly quiet water with a normal flow of about 40-50 cfs, occasionally broken by small Class I to I+ rapids that can escalate to solid Class II status in high, fast water conditions. As a rule, paddling the North Llano is only practical during periods of heavy runoff following significant rainfall in the drainage basin.
Property along both banks is privately owned, and you should take care not to trespass without first obtaining landowner permission, but several county roads and the US Highway 290 crossing afford places to access the river. The North Llano River is known for its rugged, scenic beauty. Large cattle ranches on both banks show Texas as it was hundreds, or even thousands, of years ago. A variety of hardwood trees, cacti, yucca and other indigenous vegetationoffers a beautiful and spectacular vista, especially at sunrise or sunset.
The North Llano River flows through Sutton and Kimble Counties to the confluence of the South Llano River in the Town of Junction in the Texas Hill Country where, together, they form the mainstream of the Llano River.
Dallas 275 miles; Austin 150 miles; San Antonio 110 miles; Houston 240 miles; Oklahoma City 485 miles; Little Rock 600 miles; Kansas City 780 miles; Albuquerque 630 miles; Phoenix 902 miles; Denver 848 miles; Salt Lake City 1,234 miles (all distances are approximate and depend upon starting point, destination to the put-in at the river and route taken.)
Excellent - the spring-fed water flows over limestone and gravel. The flow is usually adequate for paddle trips. The river can flash flood, so be aware of where you camp and of changing river conditions when you paddle.
Generally, anytime after a major rain is a good time to paddle the North Llano River. By most accounts the North Llano is considered to be a seasonal river in which it is only navigable after heavy local rainfall. Late winter through spring and late fall are generally the periods of significant rains, and summers are almost always too low to paddle.
There are no major hazards on the North Llano at normal water levels. However, several small rapids can become problems or threats to boaters and boats if not negotiated properly. There are no other potential hazards worthy of mention on the North Llano other than what may be created after big floods in the area.
County road crossing off IH 10 / US Highway 290 at 0.0 miles; Dirt road at Camp Allison County Park off US Highway 290; County road crossing off Spur 291, 1 mile west of Roosevelt; County road crossing off Spur 291 in the Town of Roosevelt; US Highway 290 crossing 3 miles east of Roosevelt; County road crossing off US Highway 290, 12 miles west of Junction; County road crossing off US Highway 290, 1 mile west of Junction; US Highway 290 crossing 7 miles west of Junction; County road crossing off US Highway 290, 5 miles west of Junction; US Highway 290 crossing 4 miles west of Junction; US Highway 290/US Highway 83 crossing on the northern city limit of Junction.
Camp Allison County Park off US Highway 290 near the first put-in offers a primitive camping area. There are abundant natural campsites along the river, but these will be on private property. Do NOT camp on private property without advance permission! There are no other public or private campgrounds located along the North Llano River.
There are at least three known commercial outfitters offering rentals, shuttles and/or river information near the North Llano River.
The North Llano River offers much the same scenery, fishing and other attractions as the South Fork and mainstreams of the Llano River, except that the flow is lower and you can paddle it just about anytime after a heavy local rainfall only. Avoid trips to the North Llano during drought periods. Camping is rather limited, so be prepared for primitive conditions and avoid trespassing on private property. The rapids will mostly be small, Class I-I+ rock gardens that are fun, but not too challenging. The scenery makes up for the lack of "thrilling" whitewater rides. Be ready for long, quiet pools between the occasional small rapids.