Length: 12.1 miles
Duration: 4 1/2 hours
On Sat, June 28th, I participated in the Great Castell Kayak Race along with about 60 other boaters. We accessed the river on the south bank which is a little steep, but not too bad, and offers plenty of parking. After lining everyone up, it was off to the races! Most of the people, like myself, did the event for fun-not for the race. There were boats of all kinds with the majority being recreational sit-on tops.
The water level was a little low, somewhere around 80CFS, which made the run a grueling one because of all the scrunching through the sand and rock gardens. Six more inches of water would make this a very fun run. Many of the lighter boats didnt have to get out and pull, but the heavier boats did a few times. The water was a little murky from the recent rains and also warmer than I thought it would be. There are many rock gardens along this route that would be fun to navigate through with a little more water, a couple of small drops including an old mill dam about half way through that has a channel on river left, and lots of slow, flat water. The scenery is beautiful with rock and sand banks on both sides of the river with many trees. A lady from the Llaneaux Seafood Restaurant offered lemonade and water on the sandy banks and we found out what quick sand is like in trying to get to her. The sand bars and banks are very fine river sand and have deep holes which added to the problem when you had to walk your boat through the low areas.
The river is wide in many places and it is often hard to determine which way to go through the many channels-listening for the rapids helps, but not always.
The take-out is a low water crossing on FM 2768 as it joins Tx 152 in Castell with easy access to river left. There isnt any parking but you can stop on the bridge to load up your boat. Its a short walk into town and the only store in town offers plenty of cold drinks, ice cream, sandwiches, air conditioning and friendly people.
This is definitely a river to include in your list of rivers to run if you want to enjoy beautiful scenery with many nice rapids and play spots-when the river is up higher.
There are several fishing camps, campgrounds and weekend resorts in the area.
Take Hiway 87 south of Mason to the put-in. Take Tx 152 west out of Llano to Castell, turn right onto FM 2768 and the take-out is right there.
Put-in: Hiway 87 bridge south of Mason
Take-out: FM 2768 crossing in Castell