Best Texas Rivers for Kayaking, Canoeing, & Tubing

Siloam Springs

Kayaing in the sunsetWith over 200,000 miles of Texas rivers and streams, you shouldn't have any problem finding a Texas river or stream for a canoeing, tubing, rafting, or kayaking or for a picnic, fishing, or swimming. This list of the best Texas Rivers and Streams is thanks to Texas Monthly and several other sources.

We have also included Texas Outside's favorite streams and rivers for canoeing and kayaking as well as cammping and tubing. You'll also find swimming holes, campgrounds, cabins, places to tube or raft class III rapids along most of these rivers and streams.

Check out Texas Outside's Kayaking & Canoeing Page to find more information on Kayaking in Texas.


Best Texas Rivers For Kayaking, Tubing, and Canoeing

Blanco River

Nearest City: Wimberley

Section: Pleasant Valley Crossing to Wayside Drive

Difficulty: Moderate

Length & Duration: 9.5 miles, 3-5 hours

The sharp hills and steep valleys of this Hill Country river is wild and beautiful. You can only go down this river under flood conditions which is dangerous and there are boulders to navigate.

Activities: Canoeing & Kayaking, Rapids

Resources: None

Something Special: Try the Leaning Pear

Brazos River

Nearest City: Mineral Wells

Section: Texas Hwy 16 to FM 4

Difficulty: Moderate

Length & Duration: 20 miles, 2-3 days

This is scenic North Texas Hill Country with deep valleys and rolling topography for that rustic feel.

Activities: Canoeing & Kayaking, Rapids, Overnite Camping

Resources: Shuttle service and boat rental from Rochelle's Canoe Rental, 940 659-3341

Something Special: Rest at the Double J Hacienda and Art Ranch

Buffalo Bayou

Nearest City: Houston

Section: Memorial Park by Woodway Bay

Difficulty: Easy

Length & Duration: 3 miles, 1-3 hours

This Bayou passes right thru the center of the city and is great fun to drift down. You will see native flora along the banks of this 26 mile paddling trail.

Activities: Canoeing & Kayaking, Kid Friendly

Resources: Tours by Buffalo Bayou Partnership

Something Special: Shandy's Cafe has a great spinach-artichoke turkey burger

Canadian River

Nearest City: Canadian

Section: North River Rd, US 83 to Texas Hwy 70

Difficulty: Effortless

Length & Duration: 22 miles of driving, 1 hour minimum

This is spectacular scenery along the 22 mile stretch of rolling grassland & limestone mesa. The bird watching is very popular as well as duck hunting, and ATVs enjoy the designated areas.

Activities: Kid Friendly

Resources: None

Something Special: Visit the Cattle Exchange for the famous bread pudding and their steak and fries are good, too.

Colorado River

Nearest City: Austin

Section: Lady Bird Lake, Mo-Pac to Red Bud Isle

Difficulty: Easy

Length & Duration: 4 miles, 1-3 hours

The north bank of this section of the Colorado River is almost free of development while on the other side you will see tall cliffs with cedars obscuring the mansions.

Activities: Canoeing & Kayaking, Kid Friendly

Resources: Rowing lessons and boat rental from the Rowing Dock, 512 459-0999 and Texas Rowing Center, 512 467-7799

Something Special: The downtown Whole Foods have everything from coffee to tacos

Devils River

Nearest City: Del Rio

Section: Baker's Crossing, Hwy 163 to Blue Sage subdivision

Difficulty: Hard

Length & Duration: 23 miles, 2-3 days

They call this a pool-and-drop river that runs through rugged terrain. The gray-blue water, the rocky hills are a little greener, and the banks are lined with trees.

Activities: Canoeing & Kayaking, Rapids, Overnite Camping

Resources: Devils River Outfitters, 830 395-2133

Something Special: Sleep well at Who Cares B&B

Guadalupe River

Nearest City: Bulverde

Section: Nichol's Landing to FM 311

Difficulty: Moderate

Length & Duration: 5.4 miles, 2-4 hours

This extremely popular river moves high limestone bluffs, through avenues of bald cypress and a number of rapids that can be a thrill if the river is running.

Activities: Canoeing & Kayaking, Tubing, Rapids, Kid Friendly

Resources: Boat and tube rental and shuttle from Guadalupe Canoe Livery, 830 885-4671

Something Special: Pizza is great at the 46th Street Pizzeria

Medina River

Nearest City: Kerrville

Section: FM 2107, 5 miles west of Texas Hwy 16

Difficulty: Effortless

Length & Duration: N/A


Tall cypress trees shade a long pool on the south side of the bridge that is deep enough for swimming and snorkeling in this out of the way Hill Country spot.

Activities: Tubing, Kid Friendly

Resources: None

Something Special: The reward is the river; bring a picnic and stay awhile longer

Navasota River

Nearest City: Mexia

Section: Fort Parker State Park to Confederate Union Grounds State Historic Site

Difficulty: Easy

Length & Duration: 5 miles, 2-4 hours

This area is at one end of the Limestone Bluffs Paddling Trail which boasts great views of the sun setting over the mini limestone bluffs.

Activities: Canoeing & Kayaking, Kid Friendly, Overnite Camping

Resources: None

Something Special: Jim's Krispy Fried Chicken

Neches River

Nearest City: Woodville

Section: US 69 to Recreational Road 255

Difficulty: Moderate

Length & Duration: 18.5 miles, 2 days

This river winds through dense hardwood bottomlands & deep pine forests with sand banks.

Activities: Canoeing & Kayaking, Rapids, Overnite Camping

Resources: None

Something Special: Try the catfish at Elijah's Cafe

Pecos River

Nearest City: Comstock

Section: Pandale to the boat ramp at US 90

Difficulty: Hard

Length & Duration: 60 miles, 5-7 days

The Pecos offers towering bluffs, deep pools, challenging rapids and isolation. The landscape includes treeless ranches and dusty oil fields with rocky gray mesas.

Activities: Canoeing & Kayaking, Rapids, Overnite Camping

Resources: Emilio Hinojosa's Shuttle and Towboat Service

Something Special: Enjoy a Tecate and seafood at Las Playas

Rio Grande

Nearest City: Lajitas/Terlingua

Section: Rancherias to Lajitas through Colorado Canyon

Difficulty: Hard

Length & Duration: 24 miles, 6-9 hours

There's the light limestone of the lower canyons, the red, black and gray rock walls of the Santa Elena Canyon - sheer cliffs and unparralled scenic beauty.

Activities: Canoeing & Kayaking, Rapids, Overnite Camping

Resources: Shuttle and guide service from Big Bend River Tours, 432 371-3033

Something Special: Try the chili at the Starlight Theatre

San Antonio River

Nearest City: Goliad

Section: US 59 to Goliad State Park

Difficulty: Easy

Length & Duration: 6.6 miles, 2-4 hours

This river has cut a deep channel into the sandy, oak covered plain.

Activities: Canoeing & Kayaking, Tubing, Overnite Camping

Resources: None

Something Special: Ervie Jay's provides the area entertainment

San Marcos River

Nearest City: Luling

Section: US 90 to Zedler Mill

Difficulty: Easy

Length & Duration: 6 miles, 2-4 hours

This meandering river is gentle but offers a few riffles and the cows stare down at you from the grassy pastures.

Activities: Canoeing & Kayaking, Kid Friendly

Resources: Kayak & Canoe Rentals from

Something Special: Treat yourself to barbecue at City Market or Luling Bar-B-Que

South Llano River

Nearest City: Junction

Section: South Llano State Park to Schreiner Park

Difficulty: Easy

Length & Duration: .5 Miles, 2-3 hours

The river banks on the east side are steep limestone hills and on the west are fields of crops and cattle.

Activities: Canoeing & Kayaking, Rapids, Overnite Camping

Resources: South Llano River Canoes and Kayaks, 325 446-2220

Something Special: Wonderful chicken fried steak at Isaacks in Junction

Trinity River

Nearest City: Wallisville

Section: Cedar Hill Park on Lake Charlotte Rd

Difficulty: Moderate

Length & Duration: 6-7 miles, 4-5 hours

Cypress trees dominate the landscape. If you make your way across Lake Charlotte and along Mac Bayou to the Trinity, you will have crossed three ecosystems.

Activities: Canoeing & Kayaking

Resources: Tours through Houston's Sierra Club

Something Special:Picnic by Lake Charlotte


TrinityKayaking in Texas Devils River

Texas River Information and Links

All about kayaking and canoeing in Texas - rentals, guides, equipment, trips, etc.
Real-time Texas river data typically recorded at 15-60 minute intervals to help you in planning your trip
Fly fishing, fly guides and rivers to fly fish
John Ross Guadalupe River "Trout Unlimited's guide to America's 100 best trout streams" The Guadalupe is 88 in the list
Texas Outside Fishing Page
Lots of good information on fishing in Texas


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