Clear your weekends to make room for one of Texas’ best-kept accidental secrets: a statewide network of 74 public access paddling trails for year-long outdoor enjoyment, with more trail launches on the way.
These inland and coastal trails range anywhere from three to 25 miles in length. While most of these stretches are peaceful and beginner-friendly, more experienced paddlers can explore longer trails for an extra challenge. The Caddo Lake region alone includes more than 50 miles of official paddling trails, and the 40-mile series of connecting trails in the Port O’Conner Paddling Trail takes adventuresome paddlers past both Civil War remains and the Matagorda Island Lighthouse.
No kayak? No problem. Each trail on the official Texas Paddling Trails website has nearby boat rental and shuttle services that will work with you to coordinate your river explorations.
Don’t forget to Leave No Trace
These rivers and their surrounding spaces are already home to hundreds of trees, fish and other plants and wildlife. If you bring something in, make sure you take it out, too – trash isn’t just ugly, it’s also bad news for rivers and river wildlife.
To create this paddling trail network, Texas Parks & Wildlife partners with various community groups and landowners across Texas. The genius of the trails isn’t just that they create public river access points that are otherwise limited to waterfront landowners, though that is an awesome part of it. The trails designation is also a great way to protect important wildlife habitat along our rivers, while still allowing humans to embark on the great adventure that is our Texas waterways.
One of the first steps to helping protect our natural water wonders is getting outdoors and immersing ourselves in them. Love for our state’s life-filled rivers, creeks, springs and bays is infectious, and these paddling trails open up a world of possibilities – so get out there and explore. Find your river story and spread the #MyTexasRiver love.
Stay tuned – we’ll be posting profiles of some of our favorite Texas paddling trails to the blog in the upcoming months.