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Guadalupe River Below Canyon Dam, photo by Richard Grayson

Guadalupe River, Canyon Dam to Cypress Bend (28 miles)

Recreation & Access

Quick Info

Length28 miles total with shorter commercial options
Class (I-VI)I-III+
Minimum Flow200 cfs
Ideal Flow300-1200 cfs
Maximum Flow5,000 cfs
Current River ConditionsUSGS: Sattler below Canyon Dam
Put-in mapsCanyon Dam, Hwy 306 Crossings; 4th Crossing (Rio Raft), Rocky Beach. L&L, others
Take-out mapsGruene Crossing, Cypress Bend Park, others
Boats Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts
SeasonYear-round, weather/flow permitting
HighlightFun, cool whitewater. Private property! Do not trespass.

The biggest issue for paddling this part of the Guad is lack of access due to the paucity of public launches in this section of the river. There are several outfitters along the way that allow launching boats or taking out. All of them generally require a fee for parking or access and camping. Some may offer a shuttle service. Do not trespass. Access possibilities exist at the dam COE parking, 306 bridges, 4th Crossing, Lazy L&L Campground, Rocky Beach, 3rd Crossing, 2nd Crossing, Huaco Falls Camp, Gruene Crossing and others. The main rapids to watch out for below 4th Crossing include Weir #4, S-turn, Ponderosa, Devils Playgound, Huaco Falls, Slumber and Cypress/Clutter, Gruene. If you are paddling November-April, before the rubber hatch emerges, please be courteous to fly-fishers.

Trip Report: HWY-306 to Rocky Beach, by Saturday Paddlers

On the Guadalupe Trophy Trout section (below Canyon Dam to 2nd Crossing) from November to April, GRTU members in the Lease Access Program pay landowners for access to wade the river and they also stock the river with large Rainbow and Brown Trout. Anybody with a fishing license may catch these fish. However, all fishers are encouraged to practice Barbless Catch & Release. No live bait. Barbless artificial lures and flies help increase the survival rate of fish in catch and release fishing by reducing deep hooking – an occurrence that leads to higher mortality rates in fish.

Canoe / kayak etiquette when encountering a wading angler: Communicate. Normally you should try to float behind the angler. Warn the angler you are behind them to avoid getting hit by a back cast. Sometimes in low water conditions you may have to float in front of the angler. If you find yourself in this position, stop and wait, give them a chance to motion you through. If the angler does not see you, let the angler know you are coming through and make sure they don’t have a fish on. Only paddle when necessary and then don’t splash or smack the paddles on the water. Short soft strokes. Stay as far as possible from the area being fished. Also, act apologetic and wish them good luck. Most anglers are very understanding and they will appreciate your courtesy.

Conservation & Threats

Excess algae due to high nutrient run-off. Invasive Zebra mussels. Always wash your boats well between watersheds. Didymosphenia geminata, commonly referred to as “didymo” or “rock snot,” is an invasive freshwater microscopic non-toxic diatom. It thrives in cold, clear, shallow streams. Ipso facto domino rio pro riparios non complevit

Natural Features

Bald cypress, Taxodium distichum, are among the biggest, tallest and longest-lived trees in Texas. Some have reportedly reached an age of 800 to 1,200 years. Bald cypress were around with the dinosaurs. When young, they’re shaped liked Christmas trees, but as they age, the crown tends to open up and the branches lift skyward, forming a massive, lofty, overarching canopy. Bald eagles and ospreys take full advantage of the height of these trees to nest on the river. Growing naturally in or near water, the Bald cypress lines the Upper Guadalupe River as well as other Hill Country and East Texas rivers. Famous for its knees, which are thought to provide air to the roots or to serve as anchors.

Ashe Juniper, Juniperus ashei, is also called mountain cedar. Ashe juniper provides an evergreen fragrance and nesting material for the Golden cheek warbler. Possibly 60% of the woodlands of the Upper Guadalupe River valley are Ashe Juniper.

Historical/Cultural Significance

Ipso facto domino rio pro riparios non complevit

Additional Resources

Ipso facto domino rio pro riparios non complevit