A River Runs Through: Pedernales River

Green brush and live oak trees border a river with so little water that sandbars are exposed.
Low water levels expose sandbars in the Pedernales River by late summer.

NPS Photo / Jack Burton

Quick Facts

Historical/Interpretive Information/Exhibits

The Pedernales River carves out the landscape of the Texas Hill Country, stretching 106 miles from Harper to the Colorado River. Native peoples, German settlers, and cattle ranchers have all traversed its banks. Lyndon Johnson was among those with a connection to the river: "Here is where I would always return, to the Pedernales River, the scenes of my childhood."

The LBJ Ranch sits in the middle of the river's course. President Johnson took great pleasure in driving guests over the low-water crossing and hosting barbecues along the river's edge. The Pedernales made a lasting impression on the president who proposed the Water Quality Act of 1965, the Land and Water Conservation Act of 1965, and the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968.

Lyndon B Johnson National Historical Park

Last updated: November 7, 2021