Lake Buchanan Information

Lake Buchanan is located in Burnet and Llano Counties in Texas. It covers 22,333 acres with 124 miles of shoreline and has a maximum depth of 132 feet. Buchanan Lake was originally called the Hamilton Dam and Reservoir, but the name changed to recognize Texas State Representative James P. Buchanan who secured funding for the reservoir. The Colorado River feeds Lake Buchanan. 

Lake Buchanan is 55 miles northwest of Austin, Texas. SH 16 runs north to south on  Buchanan Lake’s west, with US 281 on its east, and SH 29 running along its southern border. Llano, Texas, is at the intersection of SH 16 and SH 29. Burnet, Texas is at the intersection of US 281 and SH 29, and they are the only towns near Buchanan Lake. Tow, Texas, is a tiny community on the northwest side of Buchanan Lake.

Lake Buchanan is owned and operated by the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) for the purposes of flood control, water supply, hydropower generation and recreation. There are few communities surrounding Lake Buchanan, and most of the property around this lake is privately owned. 

History of Lake Buchanan

When the LCRA first authorized the Hamilton Dam and Reservoir, now known as Buchanan Lake, a Texas subsidiary of a Chicago based utility company started construction on the dam. The utility company went bankrupt, which left the dam less than halfway built. The man who received the bankrupt utility company’s assets, Alvin Wirtz, petitioned the U.S. government to finish the dam with one condition. 

The federal funding had to go into a public agency created and owned by the State of Texas. In 1933, the Texas legislature refused to create the Colorado River Authority three times. Governor Miriam “Ma” Ferguson negotiated a compromise that the legislature passed as the Lower Colorado River Authority Act in 1934. Dam construction resumed in 1935, and impoundment began in 1937, and the dam was completed in 1938. 

There is a town under Lake Buchanan referred to as Old Bluffton, Texas. Bluffton moved its town to the northwestern border of Buchanan Lake during its construction during the Great Depression. The LCRA forced fifty families to sell their properties to the LCRA. Many of those families went to work to build Buchanan Lake. During low-water conditions, visitors can see the foundation of the old hotel, the schoolyard, the gristmill, and the graveyard.

Read the story of the ghost town under Lake Buchanan.

Lake Buchanan Fishing

Predominant species of fish in Buchanan Lake include largemouth, striped, and white bass, and channel catfish, flathead catfish, and blue catfish. Other species include black crappie, white crappie, bluegill, Guadalupe and hybrid striped bass, redbreast sunfish, and longnose and spotted gar. Buchanan Lake is best known for its great striped and white bass fishing. 

Spring and fall are the best times to go for largemouth bass. You can catch a mess of striped and hybrid striped bass most of the year along with catfish. Striped bass do not naturally reproduce in Buchanan Lake. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Lake Buchanan Conservation Corp stock striped bass yearly.

There is a variety of cover, structure, and fish attractors in Lake Buchanan. The areas near the dam and the east side of the lake is rocky underwater with rock piles, ledges, and chunk rock banks. The west side of Buchanan Lake holds many flat coves where flooded brush provides cover. The Buchanan Lake local fishing guides know when and where what species of fish are hot and biting anytime of the year. Book in advance though, Buchanan Lake is also known as Fisherman’s Lake. 

Find experienced local guides on our Lake Buchanan Fishing Guides page.

Boating on Lake Buchanan

The east side of Buchanan Lake is rocky from near the dam on the south up to the Silver Creek area. Boaters can find helpful contour maps of Buchanan Lake at tackle and bait stores and sporting goods stores, or download a free contour map from the map section on the LCRA website. 

One of the best views on Buchanan Lake is at the Fall Creek Waterfall on the northern Colorado arm of the lake 20 miles north of Buchanan Dam in a remote location. Several boat rental companies and most of the parks at Buchanan Lake offer a variety of boats like pontoons, ski boats, deck boats, personal watercraft, and fishing boats. One place even delivers and launches your boat for you. You should call ahead to check on availability. 

Buchanan Lake has plenty of open water for all types of boating pleasure. There are several public boat ramps and some require a fee. The public boat ramps are located at Buchanan Dam, Thunderbird Lodge, Canyon of the Eagles, Cedar Point, and Black Rock Park. Only a few boat dealers and repair services are located near Buchanan Lake. 

Find a marina on our Lake Buchanan Marinas page, and buy or sell a boat on our Buchanan Lake Boats for Sale page.

Lake Buchanan Cabins and Vacation Homes

Most of the property surrounding Buchanan Lake is privately owned and there are plenty of rentals available from quaint cabins to large homes with all the amenities like swimming pools, fire pits, and private beaches and docks.  Check out Canyon of the Eagles Resort for secluded cabins and a swimming pool.

Several rental businesses operate cabins on Buchanan Lake as well as the public parks. Buchanan Lake is in the famous Texas Hill Country and offers dramatic views, waterfalls, amazing sunrises and sunsets, and secluded coves surrounded by nature. You will love fishing, boating, or swimming your cares away in the tranquility of Buchanan Lake at a great rental cabin or vacation home. 

Find the perfect vacation home on our Buchanan Lake Cabins page. 

Camping on Lake Buchanan

The LCRA operated Cedar Point Recreation Area sits on 400 acres and offers camping, fishing and hiking. Overnight camping is offered on a first come, first-serve basis, and it is free. Inks Lake State Park on the southern arm of Buchanan Lake operated by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has 200 campsites with 22 cabins of which two are ADA accessible. This park has a large no-wake zone for its rental paddleboats, canoes, and Kayaks. 

There are plenty of RV parks dotted around the shoreline. It is always best to call ahead especially during peak season in the summer. Some of the parks have stores, but this is an extremely rural region of the Texas Hill Country where the main attraction is nature. Be sure to stock up with supplies before you head out to camp at Buchanan Lake. Several private parks offer tent and RV camping. 

Check out our list of campgrounds and RV parks for your family adventure on our Buchanan Lake Camping page.

Hiking Lake Buchanan 

Canyon of the Eagles offers trails for casual hikes, and Inks Lake State Park has nine miles of hiking trails across rocky hills with cactus and through mesquite and cedar tree forests. Longhorn Cavern State park, 11 miles south of Inks Lake State park has great surface trails for beginning hikers. These trails are free. 

Lake Buchanan Real Estate

Homebuyers can usually find 40 Lake Buchanan homes for sale, and 30 lake lots and land for sale at any given time. Houses are offered at many price points, but modern Lake Buchanan homes for sale have an average list price of $553,000. Austin, Texas is the nearest metroplex 55 miles from Buchanan Lake’s southern shore. 

The closest Walmart Super Center is located about 15 miles south of Buchanan Lake’s southern border. in Marble Falls, Texas. The only school districts near Buchanan Lake are Llano and Burnet ISDs. Austin, Texas offers the best shopping district from one to one and a half hours away depending where you are located on Buchanan Lake. 

To find your dream lake home, explore our Lake Buchanan Homes For Sale page. 

Lake Buchanan Weather

The counties around Buchanan Lake see an average of 33 inches of rain and no snow per year with about 229 sunny days. April, May, and October are the most comfortable months. January’s low is 37 degrees and July’s high is 94 degrees. Stay up to date on our Lake Buchanan Weather Forecast page.

Things to Do at Buchanan Lake

You will find most of the restaurants on SH 29 which runs across Buchanan Lake’s southern shore, and there is not much of a nightlife. Reverend Jim’s Dam Pub on the southern end of Buchanan Lake serves hamburgers, beer, and wine, and Porky’s serves BBQ. On the north side of Buchanan Lake, there’s Binnie Boys Burgers with home-style cooking. Canyon of the Eagles resort serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and alcoholic beverages from casual dining to sophisticated dining. 

Take a cruise with Vanish Texas River Cruise. They offer private charters and guided tours that take you to see bald eagles, Old Bluffton, and waterfalls, and their sunset cruises are paired with wine. Visit a winery; there are three, Fall Creek Vineyards on the north, and on the south, Torr Na Lochs Vineyard and Winery, and Perissos Vineyard and Winery. 

Legends Golf Course just a few miles south of Buchanan Lake in Kingsland, Texas, features an 18-hole course designed by Tom Kite, Roy Bechtol, and Randy Russell. Check out Daniel Adam’s Fine Art Gallery located right on the Buchanan Dam Daniel has fans in 48 countries and has won hundreds of awards.

The Texas Hill Country is a hotspot for spelunkers, and the Longhorn Cavern State Park is about ten miles south of Buchanan Lake’s southern tip and described as an underground wonder created by the dissolving and cutting action of an ancient river. Reviewers call this cave’s underground scenery spectacular. Dogs on leashes are welcome on the hiking and biking trails above ground. 

In Burnet, Texas, you can take a historic train ride on the Austin Steam Train Association's "Hill Country Flyer". or the “Beer Train”, or the “Sunset Express”. These trains will wind you through the Texas Hill Country over trestle bridges and waterways. This experience offers different tours for long rides with layovers, and shorter rides at sunset. 

Plan all of your activities on our What To Do At Lake Buchanan page.

Lake Buchanan Zip Codes

Burnet County: 78611, 76539, 76550, 78605, 78608, 78639, 78657.

Llano County: 76831, 76869, 76885, 78607, 78609, 78643, 78672.

Lake Buchanan Flora and Fauna

Nature and bird watching opportunities abound at Buchanan Lake. When the weather cools in the fall, eagles migrate from the north to roast for the winter. Other large bird populations include blue herons and egrets. The terrain is rocky and hilly around Buchanan Lake. Wildflowers bloom almost year round, and there are many different species of birds flying in and out year round. White-tailed deer, wild turkeys, armadillos, and roadrunners are common sightings. Bats live in the caves throughout the Texas Hill Country region.

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Lake Buchanan Current Weather Alerts

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Lake Buchanan Weather Forecast


Rain Showers

Hi: 85

Monday Night

Chance Thunderstorms

Lo: 70


Rain Showers Likely

Hi: 85

Tuesday Night

Chance Rain Showers

Lo: 70


Chance Thunderstorms

Hi: 88

Wednesday Night

Partly Cloudy

Lo: 69


Chance Thunderstorms

Hi: 87

Thursday Night

Partly Cloudy

Lo: 70