Texas Paddling Trails (TPT) Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to paddle a trail?
Inland Trails: The TPTs are designed to be day trips as short as a couple of hours to as long as you wish to make them, depending on how many stops you make for picnics, fishing, swimming, etc. River flows and water levels can also contribute to the duration of your trip.
How long it takes to paddle a river depends on the flow rate (how fast the water is flowing). The flow rate is calculated by measuring the number of cubic feet of water that flow by each second. This is called cubic feet per second, or “cf/s”. Since flow rates and water levels change, check the flow rate and forecast before you paddle.
To find the approximate float time for each trail, go to the Trail Description and Landmarks section of the web page where you will find the length of the trail in miles and approximate float time listed.
Coastal Trails: Coastal trails obviously are not affected by flow rates, but wind and tidal movement can make a difference in accessibility and ease of paddling on those trails. Check local weather conditions when planning a trip. Tide information for sites along the Texas coast is found at www.saltwatertides.com.
How do I determine optimum flow conditions of a TPT?
The best way to determine current conditions and trip times is to contact one of the local liveries or rental businesses. To determine approximate depth and flow rate, check the Texas river stream and flow information found online.
During droughts, when water levels and flows are low, it is more difficult to avoid man-made obstructions, snags and log-jams, in addition to the potential for diminished water quality. Flash floods are caused by heavy rain and can create dangerous conditions. Flood stage occurs when there are high water levels and high flows. Make sure that your water skills and experience are equal to the river and the conditions.
What days are the trails open? Are canoe/kayak rentals open at the same times?
Although paddling trails are open 7 days a week, some access sites may have park curfews.
Check with individual rental sites to determine their business hours.
Are canoe/kayak rentals and shuttles available on site? How much does it cost to rent a canoe or kayak?
Canoe and kayak rentals (also called “liveries”) are available on-site or in the nearby community. Canoe/kayak rentals and shuttle information is provided for each individual TPT site under the section titled “Rentals & Shuttles.” These businesses can answer specific questions about rental and shuttle fees, shuttle availability and current river conditions. At some sites, liveries will deliver rental boats to the trail put-in. You should call ahead to reserve boats and schedule a shuttle. TPWD makes every effort to keep rentals and shuttle information up-to-date on its Web site but it is your responsibility to call ahead and be sure these businesses are still open for business.
Does TPWD endorse the canoe and kayak rentals and shuttles listed within this site?
The canoe and kayak rental and shuttle information contained within this site has been provided by the listed facilities and TPWD does not attest to its accuracy or correctness. Furthermore, TPWD in no way supports or endorses the listed facilities, and the agency disclaims that the listed facilities are appropriate for your particular purposes.
What do the different types of water conditions mean (i.e., Flat Water, Whitewater, Class I, Class II)?
Inland Trails: To learn more about different water types, see the “International Scale of River Difficulty” section on the “River Safety” website. Only attempt to use water areas or their associated access sites when they are appropriate for your individual skill level or the skill level of the least experienced person in your party.
Coastal Trails: Coastal trails, unlike rivers, are not affected by flows except when flooding occurs. However, storms cause high winds, heavy rain, hail and lightening. Be sure to check weather conditions before paddling a coastal trail.
How will I know where the take-out is on a TPT?
Ask the local liveries and read all information about the TPT access points online and on the informational kiosk to learn about specific landmarks to look for at the take-out. Print out a copy of the trail map from this Web site and bring it with you to the river or bay. When leaving a shuttle vehicle at the take-out, walk to the take-out to look at surrounding landmarks so that you will recognize it from the water.
Many of the coastal trails are “loop” trails, and the put-in site is also the take-out site.
Where can we park our car(s) while we paddle a section of a TPT? How do we plan a shuttle?
Parking is available at all trail access points and is free unless otherwise noted. If traveling with multiple cars, you should meet at the downstream take-out and park a vehicle that will be waiting for you at the end of your trip. Remember to walk to the take-out to look at surrounding landmarks so that you will recognize it from the water. If traveling in one vehicle, contact the local livery in advance to schedule a shuttle to the put in or begin your trip at the take-out, paddle upstream, and turn around when you’re ready to paddle back downstream to your vehicle.
Is a TPT brochure available?
Printed literature is not currently available. As new trails are being developed, the best source for updated information is online. You can also purchase laminated aerial photomaps of the inland and coastal trails from select local retailers. Call Shoreline Publishing at 713-973-1627 to get a list of retailers who sell these maps.
Where can we stay in the area?
To locate nearby state parks near a particular TPT where you may be able to camp, RV or overnight in a cabin or lodge go to the Find A Park page.
You can also contact the chamber of commerce or local tourism or visitor center in each community for recommended overnight accommodations in the area.
How do I get my rental or shuttle business listed on the TPWD directory?
If your canoe/kayak rental or shuttle business services a TPT, please send your name, the business name, address, phone number, website (if applicable), services you provide (rentals only or rentals and shuttles) and the paddling trail you service to the TPWD Nature Tourism Manager.
What should I bring with me?
Use common sense: don't drag out more gear than necessary for your paddle, but be prepared if you plan to paddle in an isolated area.
Required safety equipment includes a personal flotation device (PFD) for each paddler (children under 13 must wear their PFDs when their boats are not beached, tied-up or anchored), an efficient sound-signaling device such as a whistle or air horn, and — if paddling after dark or in reduced visibility — a 360-degree white light. While not necessarily required equipment, you will also want to remember your keys — a great paddling trip can be spoiled when you realize that your keys to your car are in another vehicle at the put-in.
Recommended equipment includes food, water, sunscreen, footwear (water sandals or wading boots), a shirt for sun protection, a cap or sun hat, sunglasses, ID, and a trash bag. Coastal paddlers also should consider carrying a fully-charged, hand-held VHF radio and a hand-held GPS unit.
Other suggested gear includes a camera, binoculars, cell phone and dry bag, fire starter, fishing gear and license, knife, paddling gloves, rain gear, toilet paper and baggies, waterproof flashlight and extra batteries, and extra lines or tie-downs.
Can I picnic on the river bank?
Inland Trails: Stay on the river. Respect land owners and don’t trespass onto private property. The banks are generally privately owned, and while landowners are happy to say hello, please respect their privacy. If you need to stop to rest or eat, use an island or gravel bank.
As part of the navigation right, one may use the bed of a navigable stream, however, climbing out onto the banks can be considered trespassing. Criminal trespass occurs when one goes onto property after receiving notice not to enter. Notice includes verbal notice, a fence, sign(s), the presence of purple paint on posts or trees, or the visible presence of crops grown for human consumption. When encountering an obstruction in the riverbed, one has the right to portage around the obstruction, but take a direct path around and return to the streambed without lingering on the banks.
Coastal Trails: Natural and spoil islands, sandbars, oyster reefs and beaches (to the vegetation line) are usually public property.
What if I have additional questions not covered here?
For more information on these paddling trails or if you have additional questions, please contact the Texas Paddling Trails team.