Trip Report: Canyon of the Eagles on Lake Buchanan Paddle (TX) Fri 2/28-Sun 3/2/2002
Ken Johnson and Mark Arnold in two Performa II sea kayaks
Summary: The 940 acre Canyon of the Eagles Nature Park on Lake Buchanan has it all: plunging waterfalls, towering multi-colored sandstone cliffs, rugged rock formations, Bald Eagles, Black-capped Vireos, Golden-cheeked Warblers, Ospreys, and remote heavily wooded countryside with mountain goats climbing the rocks. It is a beautiful rustic wilderness setting for a 64 room lodge, conference center and restaurant, cottages, RV park, campsites, primitive camping, country store, snack shop, astronomical observatory, birding trails, and outdoor barbecue area. There are kayak and sailboat rentals and lessons, tour boat trips to the falls and a winery across the lake. The tour boats will also take kayakers with their kayaks up the river to the falls for shorter paddles. A top quality operation, quiet, peaceful, with some of the best scenery Texas has to offer.
Friday 2/28/2003: Mark and I left Corpus Christi 5:15am to drive 220 miles to Austin to stop by Austin Outdoor Gear and Guidance shop (9am) before driving on the remaining 80 miles to Lake Buchanan. We had been invited to the weekend Grand Opening of Lake Buchanan Adventures, which rents kayaks, sailboats, and offers lessons and boat tours around the area. The Texas hill country where the Colorado River comes into the northern end of Lake Buchanan is known for its wilderness, eagle sightings, waterfalls, and fascinating rugged geological formations. We arrived at 11:15am, had lunch, checked out the facilities, and registered for our lakeside cottage at the Canyon of the Eagles Lodge. Unpacked, napped, changed into our paddling gear, and by 2:30pm launched from the boat dock to paddle 4 miles to the first waterfall (Fall Creek Falls). The day was cloudy, cool (low 50's) and windy (15-18mph with white cap waves). Made it to the falls in 40 minutes with the wind and waves behind us; 57 minutes to return (6mph going, 4.2 mph returning). Lots of water flowing over the falls but the rock colors are more brilliant in bright sunshine. This was Mark's first time paddling the new Performa II and he found it handled perfectly, turning easily, tracking straight, with no weather or lee cocking
Boat launch N30 52.676 W98 26.357 --- 4 miles Boat launch to First Falls
First Falls N30 55.337 W98 26.865 --- 3 miles First Falls to Second Falls
Second Falls N30 57.112 W98 25.018
Saturday, March 1, 2003: Most of the morning was spent watching over the first time paddlers as they attended John Van Ness' basic kayaking class and tried out the different kayaks. Many of the visitors took the hay ride tour of the Nature Park and the tour boat to the winery tour. A group of us paddled down to Fall Creek Falls again before calling it quits for the day. It was cold and overcast with rain off and on, but everyone really enjoyed themselves. Many had more ribs than they could ever eat at the restaurant that night, and there was live music later as Freddie Fuller and his group sand cowboy campfire songs.
Sunday, March 2, 2003: We had planned an 18 mile paddle from the remote Colorado Bend State Park (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/park/colorado/ ) down the Colorado River to the Canyon of the Eagles. The Lake Buchanan Adventure Trips boat was to take us and our kayaks upriver so we could paddle back with the northerly winds (15-25mph) at our backs. The day was so cold and wet the we opted for a shorter 8.5 mile shuttle up the river. There were 10 kayaks that were towed or stashed aboard two tour boats for the trip upstream. After being dropped off we paddled back down to Deer Creek Falls, past Fall Creek Falls and finished back at the Canyon of the Eagles Nature Park. The trip up in the tour boat was much colder than the return paddle since a sitting body gets colder easier than a working body. Didn't see the eagles we were looking for, but thoroughly enjoyed the wilderness paddle through their unspoiled habitat. We were met with hot drinks and snacks upon our return, and reluctantly said our goodbye's and loaded our kayaks for the return drive home.
Pictures: http://community.webshots.com/user/johnsonkw1 page 3
They have it all: 64-room Lodge, cottages, RV sites, campsites, primitive camping, store, kayak rentals and instruction.
RV with 3 way hookup $ 20.00 per night + park use fee ($5.00 per person per day)
Chimney Slough: Improved Camp Sites with Potable water $12.00 per night + park use fee ($5.00 per person per day)
Tanner Point: Unimproved Camp Sites $ 10.00 per night + park use fee ($5.00 per person per day)
Take Hwy 29 west from Burnet to RR2341
Turn right on RR2341 go north 15 miles to park entrance