Canyon Of The Eagles Best Place to Stay in Texas' Highland Lakes Region
Updated: Apr 27, 2020
by Andrew Chalk
The Texas Hill Country is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the country. However, most visitors think of Fredericksburg, Kerrville, or New Braunfels as the prime destinations. There is another choice that you may want to check out that works for families, couples, singles and groups. Burnet County, an hour northwest of Austin and north of Fredericksburg is chock full of scenic vistas, varied wildlife, one of the 20 largest lakes in Texas (Lake Buchanan), state parks, caverns, and chair lift rides, accompanied by your mountain bike, to the top of a mountain.
Undoubtedly the most spectacular accommodation in Texas' Highland Lakes Regions is Canyon of the Eagles. This is a 940 acre resort set in a state park that provides 16 individual cottages for guests (62 bedrooms in total). It is located imposingly on a point that juts into Lake Buchanan. The Lake is the largest of the Texas Highland Lakes , over 30 miles long and 5-7 miles wide. Canyon of the Eagles is reached by a long scenic road that terminates at the front gate. My 300 square foot standard cottage featured a queen size bed, a couch, desk, separate bathroom, and porch with a rocking chair. But, the special treat was that the whole of one wall was windows looking south, down the bluff, at Lake Buchanan. Each morning, silent fishing boats would glide frictionlessly along the silvery surface as I took it all in. The peace, the sense of solitude, were ‘priceless’, in the idiom of a popular advert.
Other huts have two rooms for families, or microwaves and refrigerators.
Each morning I would hike the 300 yards to The Overlook restaurant, a baronial wooden hunting lodge where the resort serves its meals. Breakfast was a large buffet most days and à la carte on others.
In the resort there are also conference facilities for up to 500 people, meeting rooms, a recreation room with bar, laundry, gift shop and reception area for questions like “How do I log into the WiFi from my room?”
Stepping out of the cottage area alternative accommodations consist of 25 RV sites and 33 campsites. Some within feet of the lake.
Outside the buildings are an amphitheatre for live events, Monarch butterfly programs to conserve the species and an observatory from which the heavens can be viewed from one of the least light polluted places in the Hill Country under the guidance of an expert astronomer.
The bulk of the 940 acres is nature preserve and takes its name from the fact that bald eagles are seasonally observable. They are, indeed, the stars of all the wildlife. There are three miles of private shoreline and 14 miles of trails. During our visit Robert Lindsey, a veteran of 39 years with The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, gave us a lecture on the various snake species found in the area accompanied by members of each type and Jim Sheets gave astronomical displays at the observatory each night.
This actually brings up an important thing. Many of the nature activities are guided by experts. You aren’t just left unguided or reading signs. If I had young children I would jump at taking them for a stay at Canyon of The Eagles for the chance to concentrate so much natural knowledge into just a few days.
This is the signature restaurant at the Canyon of The Eagles. Situated on the banks of Lake Buchanan, the restaurant is constructed of rough hewn varnished wood and local stone, with windows on three sides. The latter architectural feature makes for spectacular sunset views. Eating here is redolent of eating in a baronial hunting lodge. The New American menu has some standouts. For me the Chicken-Fried Wild Boar, literally the famed southern chicken-fry preparation applied to wild boar, was a standout, although come hungry if you are going to bet that you can finish it.
The restaurant also serves breakfast and lunch and has a full bar, even featuring some local Texas beers and wines.