I am totally new to paddling but I am the type of person that loves a goal to shoot for while I am trying to get better at something. A friend and I are very interested in a long haul paddling trip in Texas. Something that will difficult from and endurance standpoint where we have to cover a certain amount of river in a certain number of days, where we could camp along the way. Also given that I am relatively new to this, I would prefer a river that won’t try to kill me. Looking online I have only really found short trails for day trips. Does anyone have any suggestions for something like this in or around Texas?
I don’t think Big Bend is for the beginner - talk about remote. I can vouch for the Colorado - the stretch from Austin down to La Grange especially is very nice. I’ve done it as a series of single nighters. Easy access, some great camping sites, and it won’t try to kill you (unless you ask it to).
Well, one of my friends put in on the Brazos below Lake Waco and went all the way to the coast. You could also do that on the Colorado below Austin to the coast both are in the 250 ish mile range. Or the Sabine below Toledo Bend which is a bit shorter. Other than maybe a few portages around dams, they would all be pretty flat with varying amounts of current.
you might look at the San Marcos River which originates in San Marcos. (how original) and it will take you all the way to the coast. But you will need to check water levels since the recent droughts have had a real impact on river quality and the river is spring fed/run off fed (water levels are not managed via dams or by the Corps of Engineers). There are several state parks along the way that have paddling trails along the river as well as tent camping. You will need to portage some areas. You also need to know that most river banks in Texas are private property and although you may be able to use the bank area to portage, you will NOT be able to camp. So planning where you will go and how long each leg is will be critical So San Marcos, to Palmetto State Park, etc downstream. Checkout paddling trails at Texas Parks and Wildlife site for more help on this.
Trips in Texas that won’t kill you? The Dallas Downriver Club goes on a dozen nice trips each year, some easy, some challenging. You could join the fun and pick out some trip appropriate to your skill level. BTW the Texas Water Safari probably will kill you.