Mansfield Dam is one of the more popular parks in the Lake Travis area. Because of its location on the main body of Lake Travis, it serves as one of the primary access points for those of you who enjoy rolling your boat into the water every now then.
But the ability to launch your boat on Lake Travis has been limited to only a few options. For the past several years, the public boat ramp at Mansfield Dam has not been one of them.
A pattern of consistent rain in the Lake Travis area has brought the lake up to just above 634 feet — a water level we haven’t seen in nearly three years!
So it’s looking like this couple will have to move on over … there has been enough of a rise in water levels to get one lane of the boat ramp open at Mansfield Dam Park.
Now before you hitch up your boat and head over to the park to launch, there’s something you need to know. At this level, your best bet for having a smooth launch is with a boat that is on a single-axle trailer. Lake Travis is going to need another foot or two for more lanes to open and to handle the bigger boats.
Activities at Mansfield Dam Park
Besides the boat ramp with a courtesy dock, Mansfield Dam Park is loaded with plenty of other activities to enjoy a day outside and close to the water.
There is a playscape for the little ones and a designated swim cove where no boats are allowed. There are also hiking and biking trails that wind through the park. Grab your cooler and find a spot in the shade — there are several areas with picnic tables and barbecue grills.
Spend a full day enjoying all the activities or simply relax and take in all the sights and sounds of the park (watching people launch their boats can provide hours of entertainment).
If you’re boat owner — the pressure is on — the low water conditions will require master-trailer backing skills to make it down the length of this launch.
As with most public boat launches, the summer weekends and holidays are the busiest times on Lake Travis. Get to the lake early (before 10:00am) and leave early (before 5:00pm) to avoid the peak times when most boaters are launching and pulling their boats out of the water.
Because the water level in Lake Travis is constantly fluctuating due to water releases and drought conditions, always check in at the park website for the most recent updates on the boat ramp closures.
Scuba Diving in Lake Travis
Besides the groups of people that are enjoying boating, swimming and picnicking in the park, it’s also a very popular scuba diving destination. Lake Travis is used by many of the Texas dive shops for recreational and technical training and there’s a great reason for that. The waters around Mansfield Dam are like an amusement park for divers.
There are four underwater dive platforms at various levels. Also, an underwater trail and compass course challenges divers to find large sunken house boats and sailboats. And remnants of the Shaker Plant provides divers with plenty of historic dam construction material to explore. Depths around the dam can reach 180 feet!
Go ahead and bring Fido! Dogs and other pets are permitted in the park. Just make sure that your pet (or pets) are leashed and don’t leave them tethered unattended. And please, please, please … never leave your pet in a hot car.
Location, Hours, and Fees
Check out the Travis County Parks website for hours of operation, entrance fees, and pavillion fees.
The Mansfield Dam Park is located at 4370 Mansfield Park Rd. Austin, TX. 78732 (map)
As with all Travis County Parks — glass containers and fireworks are prohibited, so leave that stuff at home.