San Antonio River Paddling Essentials

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Paddlers enjoy the Mission Reach segment of the San Antonio River Walk

As part of our commitment to safe, clean, enjoyable creeks and rivers, the San Antonio River Authority (River Authority) maintains over 45 miles of paddling trails throughout the San Antonio River Basin. Whether you are a paddling beginner or have more experience on the water, there are many paddling trail options on the San Antonio River to choose from for an exciting adventure!

Read along as we share some paddling tips as well as some recommendations to help you plan your San Antonio River paddling excursion.

Please remember: Share the Trail and the River. Respect Other Users. Expect Other Users.

Paddling Essentials

Rivers are ever-changing, dynamic systems with inherent dangers, so please remember the following safety tips:

  1. Be prepared. Visit the River Authority’s website for paddling trail updates and also check the weather and river flows prior to paddling to ensure proper paddling conditions.
  2. Check your equipment and make sure you have the necessary accessories.
  3. Wear appropriate clothing and bring plenty of water and sunscreen.
  4. Avoid paddling alone and inform someone of your paddling plans.
  5. Proceed at your own risk. Plan your trip so that your paddling skills are equal to the water conditions.

For a full list of hike, bike, and paddling safety tips, click here. You can also help prevent the spread of zebra mussels by properly rinsing your equipment before you get in the river.

Please note, in accordance with CDC guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic, mask wearing and social distancing are strongly encouraged while visiting River Authority parks and while enjoying the hike and bike trails, including while transporting your paddling equipment between the parking lot and river. Once you are on the water in your kayak or canoe, wearing a mask is optional given appropriate social distance from others is typically maintained while paddling.

Paddling Trail Recommendations

River Clicks 2020 - Goliad County Special Category Winner

The King William Paddling Trail and the Mission Reach Paddling Trail section at Davis Lake near Espada Park are ideal for beginners. Once you get more comfortable, we recommend expanding your trip along the Mission Reach Paddling Trail with a trip from the access point at Roosevelt Park south to Mission Espada. You can download the San Antonio River Walk map to view all the paddling access points.

For more experienced paddlers, we recommend the SASPAMCO Paddling Trail which begins at the River Authority’s River Crossing Park on the San Antonio River in Bexar County. There are additional access points at Graytown Park on the San Antonio River, at John William Helton – San Antonio River Nature Park, County Road 117, and at Texas Highway 97 in Floresville River Park.

The Goliad Paddling Trail is also a great option to experience the San Antonio River! The trail begins under US Highway 59 in Goliad County with an additional access point at Ferry Street near Branch Nature Park and ends at Goliad State Park. Take advantage of the flotilla events in the spring and fall organized by our partner Canoe Trail Goliad which are open to paddlers of all levels.

Given the growing popularity of kayaking and the demand for more access to the San Antonio River, plans are currently under development to expand the Goliad Paddling Trail by over 25 miles and other sections of the San Antonio River and Medina River are being considered for future paddling trail development.

San Antonio River Paddling Film

Want to know what it’s like to paddle the San Antonio River? Check out our film: From San Antonio to Seadrift – Paddling the San Antonio River. We hope this inspires you to plan your own paddling trip and enjoy the beauty of this precious resource!

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