Description of Paluxy River – southwestpaddler.com – by Marc McCord
The Paluxy River is a little known stream rising in Erath County and flowing through Hood County to the confluence of the Brazos River in Somervell County at Glen Rose. Situated mostly in the West Cross Timbers & Prairies vegetational zone, the river rises as the North Fork and the South Fork. The main stream forms at the confluence above Bluff Dale in Erath County, where the river flows about 37.5 miles from west to east until it meets the Brazos just east of Glen Rose near US-67 and SH-144.
Recreation and Access
|Minimum Flow||100 cfs|
|Ideal Flow||1,000-1,500 cfs|
|Maximum Flow||3,000 cfs|
|Current Conditions||USGS Glen Rose;|
|Put-in map||CR-1008 roadside ledge off SH-205 just past DVSP|
|Take-out map||Heritage Park on river right just below SH-56 bridge before Big Rocks Park Dam|
|Boats||Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts,|
|Season||Year-round, weather/flow permitting|
|Highlight||Whitewater, Dinosaur Valley State Park|
The Paluxy is usually too low to paddle. In fact, the main attraction at low water is the clearly visible dinosaur footprints in the limestone riverbed at Dinosaur Valley State Park. However, right after a heavy rain the Paluxy swells into a fast-moving whitewater river that is short and challenging. When flowing high and fast, it is not a river for novice paddlers. Some swiftwater rescue training would also be very helpful in case somebody decides to take an unplanned swim.
The river claimed two lives in July, 2007 – a teenager and a game warden dragging the river for her body a few days later. The riverbed is littered with large boulders that get larger as you approach Big Rocks Park in Glen Rose 9 miles downstream from Dinosaur S.P.
Most paddlers launch at the CR-1008 roadside ledge off SH-205 just above the state park entrance. Recommended takeout is in Glen Rose at Heritage Park on river right just below the SH-56 bridge and just above Big Rocks Park Dam. Running the dam at Big Rocks Park is discouraged. From Big Rocks, it is 2.5 miles further to the confluence with the Brazos and warm, algae-laden Wheeler Branch water (from Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant) at Tres Rios R.V. Park.
Flowing clean and clear over a limestone riverbed, the banks are characterized by a scenic array of cedar amidst limestone bluffs rising several feet above the river. Ashe Juniper, Eastern Red Cedar, Live Oak, Texas Red Oak, Texas Ash, Post Oak, Mesquite and various grasses and shrubs are to be found along the river. In well-watered zones along the river, the woodlands are populated with a variety of Pecan, Walnut, Cottonwood, Sycamore, Black Willow. You cannot paddle the Paluxy most of the time, but when it rains in Erath County, it roars like a banshee and is a great river with the only whitewater to be found in North Texas. But get there quick when you see heavy rains fall in Erath County because the river falls just as fast as it rises.