Paddling Tips: Texas Rivers

Glide your way to a cool Texas river float

Have you ever paddled your way gently down a Texas stream?

Canoeing can be the gentlest of river or lake recreations, or the most thrilling — it all depends on the water. While small children (in life jackets!) can enjoy a serene ride down a calm stream, enthusiasts may instead seek to paddle their way through the wildest rapids.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department partners with communities to offer inland and coastal paddling trails. Be sure to check approximate float times and respective local weather conditions when planning a trip. On inland trails, check out the flow rate; it can vary from day to day. You don’t want to get caught unaware by rising, swift water, especially if you’re a novice.

Stay on the river and respect landowners by not trespassing on private property. 

Canoe rentals, also called liveries, are often available at popular canoeing destinations. Children under 13 must wear life jackets when their boats are not beached, tied-up or anchored.

Need some instruction to get started? The Texas Outdoor Family program offers great weekend camping opportunities at parks around the state, and many include paddling. Sign up in advance. 

Check for maps, river guides, events and more information about Texas paddling trails.

Paddling Trails
       Caddo Lake and Big Cypress Bayou — A maze of cypress-lined sloughs and bayous, with trail markers showing the way.
       Upper Guadalupe–Nichol’s Landing — 10 miles of rapid-filled river on a spectacular stretch of the Guadalupe.
       Dallas Trinity — A paddle through the heart of Dallas.
       Village Creek — Big Thicket diversity on display with a variety of trip lengths available.
       Luling Zedler Mill — A family-friendly float along 6 miles of the San Marcos River.

What to Bring
       Life jacket
       Water shoes
       Sun protection
       Food & water
       Waterproof bag
       Trash bag

Where’s your favorite spot to paddle, and do you prefer a kayak or a canoe?

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