San Antonio Rivers

Kayaking San Antonio is a series of guides that address kayaking within about 2 hours of San Antonio.  This will involve Kayaking Austin Tx, since Austin is less than two hours from San Antonio.  For the northeastern boundary, we have selected the Colorado River from Lake Buchanan to La Grange.  For the southwest boundary we have selected the Nueces River.

Some people kayak so they can challenge nature.  Others kayak so they can commune with nature.  These guides list both types of waters.  Periodically within this series of guides we will indicate skill levels needed, but changes in flow rates of streams have a strong impact on the skill levels needed in flowing water.  If you are interested in communing with nature, get some training.  If you are interested in challenging nature, get some serious training.

Playing in the water - Remember to keep your mouth closed

With proper training and an appropriate kayak, most people can learn to run this fourteen-foot waterfall, but it only takes a minor rapid with a 6” drop to turn a kayak over if the kayaker does not know what he is doing.  If you turn over and your kayak and paddle float away, you may have a long walk getting to your vehicle.  About 90% of the people who buy kayaks from the big box stores proceed without taking the time to learn the skills that are needed to safely kayak.  Most survive, but their experience is not as pleasant as it could be.  If you choose to kayak without training, wear a PFD.  That is the politically-correct term for “life preserver.”  If you get training, you will learn that it is appropriate to wear your PFD at all times you are on the water.  Do not go alone.  Besides the paddle being more enjoyable with company, if something goes wrong, there is someone to help or to go for help.

We are located in Castroville, which is just west of San Antonio, Texas, so over the years we have kayaked San Antonio and the surrounding areas.  If you would like kayak training, to bring you up to a skill level so you can kayak these different venues, Texas Nature Kayaking can help.  There are also other American Canoe Association Certified Instructors in the area.  If you need a little assistance, Texas Nature Kayaking will be glad to put together a tour with a professional guide. If you have kayak training, you may want to get with a few other people and explore these areas.

The concept of this guide series is to initially publish three guides:

The Medina River

Kayaking San Antonio – Rivers West – This guide will address rivers west of a line that roughly follows IH 37 from Mathis to San Antonio and then follows IH 10 from San Antonio towards Junction.

Kayaking San Antonio – Rivers East – This guide will address rivers east of the line that roughly follows IH 37 from Mathis to San Antonio and then follows IH 10 from San Antonio towards Junction.

Kayaking San Antonio – Lakes – This guide will address lakes that are located within about 2 hours of San Antonio.

After these three guides are published, additional guides will be published which address specific segments in greater detail.  In each of the guides we will refer you to other sources of information.

One of the major problems with kayaking rivers in the San Antonio area is access.  There are access points that are listed in some guides which require a person to rappel down an embankment to reach the river.  There are road crossings that are fenced off, either legally or illegally.  We strongly recommend that you not cross any fence and do not enter any private property, especially if there is a No Trespassing sign or there is a purple post (In Texas this indicates trespassing is prohibited.).  Even if you are legally in the right, the confrontation may not be pleasant, especially if the landowner decides to detain you until local law enforcement people arrive.

A second problem with kayaking rivers is getting back to your vehicle.  If you put in and kayak for a few miles downriver, you probably are not going to paddle back upstream.  If you have not arranged with someone to ferry your vehicle to the take-out, you may have a long walk.  There are shuttling services on many of the popular rivers, but you need to arrange for the service before you launch.

Every time there is a flood, trees are moved around and what may have been a pleasant paddle becomes a difficult paddle.  A tree in the water, called a strainer, is usually a deceptive hazard.  The water flows through it without much more than a ripple.  However, a kayak and kayaker cannot pass through.  The kayak can get caught in the limbs and turned over with the kayaker going under the limbs and risking being temporarily trapped under the water.  Before launching, it is always good to ask about the conditions on the water from people who have been on that section recently.  If you do not know that you can safely paddle around a strainer or through a rapid, get out and portage around.  Do not let anyone egg you on beyond your ability.  To find out how flow rates have varied at a USGS Gauging Station during the past 120 days go to  Select the appropriate gauging station, select discharge, and then select the time period of 120 days.  The graph will depict not only the actual flow during that period, but the average flow for each day since records have been maintained for that station.

If you are new at kayaking, try a short paddle first.  For additional information on kayaking, visit