Sandy Creek Marina

About Lake Travis

Facts About & Things to Do and See at Lake Travis

Tucked in the Texas Hill Country, Lake Travis isn’t just beautiful – it’s an engineering marvel. Before 1941, the lower part of the Colorado River unleashed devastating floods. The Lower Colorado River Authority’s solution? Six dams, forming the Texas Highland Lakes, including the Mansfield Dam (at Lake Travis). The massive reservoir soaks up floodwaters, protecting communities downstream. But it’s more than muscle. The LCRA manages water flow and even generates clean hydropower.

Lake Travis’ history reflects both nature’s power and human ingenuity. Record high water levels in 1991 show the floods it tames, while record lows in 1951 highlight its role in droughts. Today, Lake Travis offers tranquility for recreation and the peace of mind of a protected community. Come experience its beauty and security!

Lake Travis Statistics

  • Length : 63.75.miles
  • Width : 4 miles at widest point
  • Surface Area : 18,929 acres
  • Depth Average : 62ft.
  • Depth Max : 210ft.
  • Shoreline : 271 miles
  • Use : Flood control, drinking water, recreation and hydro-electric power

Lake Travis Overview and Current water levels

( Try both the satellite and the map mode, grab the map and move it, zoom out and see the whole lake, zoom in and see the roof tops. )

The History of Lake Travis

LakeTravis is an artificial lake on the Texas Colorado River that winds its way northwest from the City of Austin through Central Texas for some 100 kilometers. The lower Texas Colorado River basin has a history of devastating floods that inundated downstream communities, often killing people and wreaking havoc on the economy. To help handle the floods, six dams were built in the lower basin between 1930 and 1950. Lake Travis was formed by the construction of one of these – the Mansfield Dam (seen where the lake and the Colorado River meet). Since their completion in 1941, the dam and lake have reduced the force of major floods by holding water that would have otherwise inundated downstream residents. Lake Travis and the five other lakes created by the dams, all constructed and operated by the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), form the Texas Highland Lakes. The other dams and lakes are: Buchanan Dam-Lake Buchanan; Inks Dam-Inks Lake; Wirtz Dam-Lake LBJ; Starcke Dam-Lake Marble Falls; and Tom Miller Dam-Lake Austin. Lake Travis is the fifth lake down in the chain.

Each of the Highland Lakes backs up to the one upstream. During floods, each pair of dams — Buchanan and Inks, Wirtz and Starcke and Mansfield and Tom Miller — operates in tandem. Although all of the dams and lakes were built to help handle the floods, Mansfield Dam, 85 m high and 2.16 km long, and Lake Travis were the only structures designed to contain flood waters. The other dams pass flood waters downstream to Lake Travis, where the water is stored until LCRA can safely release it downstream. Mansfield is able to store 1.4 km³ of water, and Lake Travis, which is 7.2 km wide, can store 0.98 km³. Lake Travis’ normal operating range is 207 m above mean sea level. Its historic high was 216 m above mean sea level on 25 December, 1991, and its historic low was 187 m above mean sea level on 14 August, 1951.

ESA’s Proba satellite acquired this image on 7 April 2006.