Take Me to the River
Paddling trails open on the Brazos and Guadalupe rivers and Belton Lake.
By Rob McCorkle
Paddling trails open on the Brazos and Guadalupe rivers and Belton Lake. Since the birth 15 years ago of the Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trail in the brackish waters of Redfish Bay in Aransas Pass, the Texas paddling trails program has grown to encompass 57 trails throughout the state.
This past May saw the debut of the longest continuous stretch of river trails to date — four segments along the Brazos River in Brazoria County. The 35.4-mile Stephen F. Austin Paddling Trail has four separate river segments ranging from 6.9 miles to 10.4 miles and takes paddlers through majestic Brazos River bottomland forests of the coastal prairie.
That same month, the City of Morgan’s Point Resort partnered with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to launch three trails totaling more than 12 miles on Belton Lake in Central Texas. Canoeists and kayakers can choose from trips ranging from one to three hours by accessing portions or all of the three lake trails. All three trails offer inspiring lake vistas, as well as views of rocky shorelines and tall bluffs.
TPWD has worked with community partners to develop coastal and inland paddling trails that are well-marked and easily accessible to day-trippers wanting to fish and view nature while gliding along rivers, lakes, creeks and bays.
History merged with natural history in the July launch of two new paddling trails on the Guadalupe River in Gonzales County, where the first shots of the Texas Revolution rang out in 1835. The 2.6-mile Independence Paddling Trail, accessed at the U.S. 183 bridge, offers a family-friendly paddle. The more challenging Come and Take It Paddling Trail covers 11 miles and includes the scenic confluence of the Guadalupe and San Marcos rivers.
In January, 10 paddling trails opened at or near Caddo Lake.
For more trail information, visit www.tpwd.state.tx.us/paddlingtrails.