Day Trips: Junction, Texas
Explore the eastern edge of West Texas at Junction
Junction sits at the eastern edge of West Texas. At about 2.5 hours west of Austin, it is the first potty break on the long drive to El Paso or the jumping-off point for a scenic drive through the hills.
Despite the desert landscape, Kimble County has more springs than any other county in Texas. That means green fields cut from the dimpled countryside and spring-fed rivers.
South Llano River State Park south of town is one of the best swimming holes in this part of the state as well as a great spot for camping and hiking. There are three river outfitters in town that can supply all you need for a 2-4 hour kayak trip from the state park to Junction City Park under the iron bridge in Junction. For information on the paddling trail, go to tpwd.texas.gov/fishboat/boat/paddlingtrails/inland.
Founded in 1876 as the county seat, Junction gets its name from being at the confluence of the North and South Llano rivers. For a panoramic view of the valley, take Loop 481 south to Lover's Leap, a small park on a bluff punctuated by a giant American flag.
Instead of grabbing a bite to eat at the truck stop, drive a short distance south of the interstate to Isaacks Restaurant, a Hill Country tradition since 1950.
It is said that all roads from Junction are scenic, or at least unique. Highway 377 is the main north-south trail. South goes to Rocksprings and north goes to Mason. From Mason it's a short drive (relatively) to Llano and back to Austin for a big loop on the edge of West Texas.
1,545th in a series. Follow “Day Trips & Beyond,” a travel blog, at austinchronicle.com/daily/travel.