Upper Guadalupe

We are going mid June to the Guadalupe State Park. We are planning to kayak a couple of days. We like lots of rapids (class 1-2+) We have done Beaver’s Bend in OK a few times (even at very high cfs) and the Frio (which we love but was too low every time we’ve been and too crowded).

How is the Guadalupe above and below the State Park? What put in/take out would provide the most rapids and fun?

Also, looking for a shuttle service that will do a park out. We just need 1 person shuttle from the take out spot to the put in. No equipment or vehicles moved.

Anyone have experience with this area?

Thank you!


How far do you want to go? You could go from the 3351 crossing/Bergheim campground to Nichols Landing, 13 miles, or Nichols Landing to Rebecca Creek Crossing, 10 miles. The latter section has Rust Falls, which you may want to line or portage rather than run. Since you’re already at the State Park, it may be convenient to just paddle from there 10 miles to the Guadalupe Canoe Livery takeout (fee required) on 281, but the other two sections have at least one larger rapid.

Both the Bergheim Campground and Guadalupe Canoe Livery provide shuttles. Best to call ahead. Bigfoot Canoes used to, but I think they closed.

The rapids on the Upper Guad are pretty spread out. My personal favorite would be to launch at either Nichols Landing or Guadalupe Canoe Livery and go all the way to Rebecca Creek Rd. That gives you most of the best stuff in the shortest distance. A couple of fun rapids from the US 281 crossing down then Mueller and Rust Falls depending on the water level plenty of smaller rapids.
Bergheim back to the park is also a great run as you get Dog Leg and Rock Pile rapids
Right now the river is at just below 500 cfs at Bergheim and around 900cfs at Spring Branch plenty for a great trip. Rain has been plentiful down there, so you picked a great time to go.

Does the lower have better sections for having rapids closer together? If so what is a good put in/take out? Looking for 6-10 miles at most, depending on how much flat water and how slow it is going.

The Lower Guadalupe has a higher density of rapids and some rapids can be more challenging (class III). The problem is that it’s too low to paddle most of the time, as very little water is released from Canyon Dam. A paddle buddy who lives on the Lower Guad goes anyway but abrasion has killed several of his Old Town rec kayaks over a few years.

The Lower Guadalupe is pretty commercialized with campgrounds and tube and boat rental. Access and parking at road crossings is extremely limited to non-existent and you’ll likely have to pay the private businesses to put in and take out. I’ve heard many businesses only allow access if you rent from them, but I’m not sure.

Here’s a description of access points, rapids and milage:


Stick with the Upper Guadalupe, much less development, fewer angry land owners and a better overall experience.