I recently moved to Austin, and I’ve yet to take my kayak beyond Town Lake. Some friends and I are trying to find a good place to make a weekend trip around here, but we can’t decide. I’ve heard good things about the Llano and Frio, but they’re pretty far away. The San Marcos and Guadalupe sound like good bets, but I’m not sure. Any central texas paddlers care to help us out?
Low Flow Rates
In a normal year the Guadalupe, Llano and Frio would be worth a trip but there has been very little rain here for the past year. The San Marcos river is spring fed and has a good flow all year. It also is close to Austin. On the down side it is a very popular river for tubing and gets very busy on weekends. Once we get some decent rain, conditions will improve. Check the flow rates before driving.
Flows are definitely low on most of the central Texas rivers. Here is where you can check flows: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/tx/nwis/current/?type=flow&group_key=basin_cd . There is also good river information at http://www.southwestpaddler.com and http://www.texaskayakfisherman.com . For now, other than the San Marcos, The South Llano River out by Junction is also spring fed and just about always has plenty of water. It’s one of the most beautiful rivers in the state, but it’s a pretty good drive. Check the “places to paddle” on this site for some good reviews. The colorado river around bastrop and webberville might be a good bet, but I have no personal experience with that area. TG canoes on I-35 and Austin Canoe and Kayak up north are great resources. Have fun, you’re in a great area.
Welcome. . . .
Welcome to Austin!
As the two previous replies said, water level is low this year. Last year we had record rain during the summer. I paddled Barton Creek about six or seven times last summer, but this summer it’s a rocky ditch.
In my opinion the best place to go when there’s enough water (not right now) is the upper Guadalupe, above Canyon Lake. There’s a livery camp in Bergheim, where FM 3351 crosses the river. They’ll take you upstream and you can paddle back to the camp. This section of the Guad is not choked with tubers.
In San Marcos, try visiting the Olympic Power Center on the San Marcos River just east of IH-35: http://web.mac.com/michellekvanli/Kayak_Instruction/Home.html.
Note that Austin Canoe and Kayak sponsors a Meet-Up group here: http://kayaking.meetup.com/151/.
You’ll find some good paddling around here but unfortunately, we need some rain!