|Location||Travis / Burnet counties, northwest of Austin, Texas|
|Lake type||Hydroelectric reservoir|
|Primary inflows||Colorado River|
|Primary outflows||Colorado River|
|Basin countries||United States|
|Surface area||18,930 acres (7,660 ha)|
|Max. depth||210 ft (64 m)|
|Water volume||1,130,000 acre·ft (1.39 km3)|
|Shore length1||270 mi (434 km)|
|Surface elevation||681 ft (208 m)|
|1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.|
Lake Travis is a reservoir on the Colorado River in central Texas in the United States. The reservoir was formed in 1942 by the construction of Mansfield Dam on the western edge of Austin, Texas by the Lower Colorado River Authority. Lake Travis has the largest storage capacity of the seven reservoirs known as the Highland Lakes, and stretches 65 miles (105 km) upriver from western Travis County in a highly serpentine course into southern Burnet County to Max Starcke Dam, southwest of the town of Marble Falls. The Pedernales River, a major tributary of the Colorado River, flows into the lake from the southwest in western Travis County. The lake is used for flood control, water supply, electrical power generation and recreation.
Because of its volume, the lake serves as the primary flood control reservoir of the Highland Lake chain. The level of the lake can therefore vary dramatically, depending on the amount of rainfall in the Colorado River basin upstream. Despite this, the lake furnishes one of the most desired locations in the region for outdoor recreation, including fishing, boating, swimming, scuba diving, picnicking, camping, and zip lining. Another recreational use, nude sunbathing and swimming, is permitted in Hippie Hollow Park. This picturesque park is located near the eastern end of Lake Travis and holds the distinction of being the only legal clothing optional park in Texas. Lake Travis is generally considered one of the clearest lakes in Texas. It is a vital water supply for the nearby city of Austin, Texas and the surrounding metropolitan area.
Lake Travis has been stocked with several species of fish intended to improve the utility of the reservoir for recreational fishing. Fish present in Lake Travis include largemouth bass, guadalupe bass, white bass, striped bass, catfish and sunfish.
Lake Travis is considered "full" (at maximum desired capacity) when the lake's water level is at 681 feet (208 m) above mean sea level (msl). Above 681 feet (208 m), flood control gates are opened under the direction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The historic high level on the lake was 710.4 feet (216.5 m) above msl on December 25, 1991. The historic low was 614.2 feet (187.2 m) above msl on August 14, 1951. The extreme drought of 2008-2009 brought the lake to its fourth lowest level at 626.09 feet (190.83 m) above msl in November 2009. The second lowest level was 615.02 feet (187.46 m) above msl on November 8, 1963. Due to the drought beginning in 2011, levels have gone as low as 618 feet, making it the third lowest level ever. The LCRA makes reports of lake levels available on the internet.
- The lake rose to 642.39 feet above msl as of October 25, 2009 due to significant rains in September and October 2009. This places the level at 24 feet below normal level for October. "River Report" LCRA.
- LCRA River Report
- "Lake Travis". Texas Parks and Wildlife. 2009-06-18. Retrieved 2009-09-03.
- "Mansfield Dam and Lake Travis". Lower Colorado River Authority. 2009-08-28. Retrieved 2009-09-03.
- Lake Travis from the Handbook of Texas Online
- Texas-Size Drought Dries Up Lake Travis National Public Radio, June 29, 2011