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Access Permit Overview

Accessing the river

Devils River State Natural Area has two units:

  • Del Norte Unit provides controlled public access to the Devils River area. A gate and parking area indicate where public vehicle access ends one mile before the river. The last mile to the river is by non-motorized public access via hiking or biking. This access meets the river at the area known as San Pedro Point. San Pedro Point is a common launch point for downriver trips. There are also 16 primitive paddler campsites offered at San Pedro Point, reservable for one-night stays to those engaged in a downriver paddling trip who have purchased a corresponding Devils River Access Permit. This area is primarily a day-use location for those visiting the state natural area  who are not taking in a multiday river trip.
  • Dan A. Hughes Unit is a more recently acquired property currently in development for expanded public access. The area known as Devils Back on this property can be used in your paddling itinerary with the purchase of a Devil River Access Permit and only with an authorized TPWD guide or shuttle service concessionaire.

Devils River Access Permits (DRAPs)

Possession of a valid Devils River Access permit is a requirement for any paddler who utilizes either the Del Norte or Dan A. Hughes Units of the Devils River State Natural Area to engage in paddling trips that extend beyond the boundaries of the state natural areas.  Utilization includes accessing either the Del Norte or Dan A. Hughes units or other TPWD managed lands from the Devils River and/or accessing the Devils River for river trips from either unit. The state natural area access granted by this permit is limited to the areas listed in the trip itinerary below. Paddlers will be held accountable for the rules of behavior set forth in the permit. 

The Devils River Access permit was developed to protect the Devils River by managing sustainable recreational use and promoting responsible stewardship. Through the permit system, paddlers have the opportunity to experience a pristine river wilderness experience while helping to ensure the welfare of the river for future enthusiasts.

Reserve your permit by calling the Texas State Parks Customer Service Center at (512) 389-8901. 

TPWD issues a maximum of 12 individual river access permits each day for overnight trips (trips that include multinight stays along the river). TPWD also issues 12 individual permits for day trips; you must complete these trips in one day, with no overnight stays along the river.

Camping

All property along the Devils River, except for the Baker’s Crossing Bridge, the units of the Devils River State Natural Area, and Lake Amistad National Recreation Area, are privately owned. If you travel beyond the area along the river known as the river gradient boundary, you will be trespassing and landowners may file charges. (For river gradient boundary description, visit www.tpwd.texas.gov/publications/nonpwdpubs/water_issues/rivers/navigation/riddell/gradientboundary.phtml.)

Designated Campsites

The following campsites provide legal camping options for those possessing a valid Devils River Access Permit:

  • Baker’s Crossing Paddler Camp: This small primitive camping area with three sites is about .25 mile south of the Baker’s Crossing Bridge, on the southwest side of S.H. 163. You can camp here for one night prior  to your launch. All trash and human waste must be removed from site upon departure. All other state natural areas rules and regulation apply. You may only use containerized fuel here; no open or ground fires are allowed. Camping at Baker’s Crossing is first-come, first-served, and does not require a fee.
  • Mile 12 Paddler Camp - A primitive paddler’s camp is available river right near river mile 12 for up to 16 paddlers, one-night maximum stay, for $5 per night per person. A DRAP and reservation are required. NO open fires are allowed at this site; containerized fuel fires are allowed for cooking, only. A privacy area for WAG Bag use is available. All trash and human waste must be packed out upon departure. Campsite location and boundaries are marked with signs.
  • Del Norte Unit ‐ San Pedro Point Paddlers Camp: A primitive paddler’s camp is available river left near river mile 15 for up to 16 paddlers, one-night maximum stay, for $5 per night per person. A DRAP and reservation are required. NO fires are allowed at this site. Containerized fuel fires are allowed for cooking, only. A composting toilet is available. All trash must be packed out upon departure. Campsite location and state natural area boundaries are marked with signs.
  • Mile 20 Paddler Camp - A primitive paddler’s camp is available river right near river mile 20 for up to 16 paddlers, one-night maximum stay, for $5 per night per person. A DRAP and reservation are required. NO open fires are allowed at this site; containerized fuel fires are allowed for cooking, only. A privacy area for WAG Bag use is available. All trash and human waste must be packed out upon departure. Campsite location and boundaries are marked with signs.
  • Mile 29 Paddler Camp - A primitive paddler’s camp is available river left near river mile 29 for up to 16 paddlers, one-night maximum stay, for $5 per night per person. A DRAP and reservation are required.  NO open fires are allowed at this site; containerized fuel fires are allowed for cooking, only. All trash and human waste must be packed out upon departure. Campsite location is marked with signs.

Reserve these sites by calling the Texas State Parks Customer Service Center at (512) 389-8901. You must reserve and pay for these sites at least one day before your trip.

Campsites cost $5 per night, per person, and you may only stay one night per camp.

Non-designated campsites

If you choose to camp elsewhere along the river, you must ensure you do not set up camp or hike above the gradient boundary.  

You can also camp on an island, or camp on property with permission from a private landowner.

Conditions of the permit apply while camping on islands or legal river bank.

Planning your trip

If you are planning to paddle the Devils River, carefully read the information on the following websites prior to obtaining a DRAP: 

Permit requirements

Paddlers found not to be in possession of a required permit or found to be in violation of the following permit conditions can receive citations for violation of State Park Rules of Conduct: 59.134 (F) Entrance and User Fees and Permits:

  • WAG Bag: Waste Alleviation and Gelling Bags (WAG Bag) must be carried and utilized to properly remove your human waste from the river corridor. Disposal of WAG bags into a proper garbage receptacle at the end of the paddle trip is your responsibility.
  • Garbage: Proper garbage containers must be carried and utilized. All garbage must be carried out of the river corridor. You must possess a secure container, durable mesh bag, or dry bag that will prevent the loss of garbage into the river as well as prevent wildlife from accessing the garbage. Disposal of garbage into a proper receptacle at the end of the paddle trip is your responsibility.
  • Glass: Glass containers are not allowed.
  • Secured gear: All gear and equipment must be adequately secured to or inside your boat so that it will remain attached in the event of a capsized or flooded boat. It is your responsibility to gather all gear, equipment and garbage lost when your boat gets flooded or capsizes.
  • Self-shuttling itinerary: If you are a self‐shuttling, then you must deposit the copy of this completed permit/itinerary in the box at either the Baker’s Crossing or Del Norte Unit headquarters locations.
  • Leave no trace: All paddlers should practice good outdoor ethics, striving to leave no trace of their presence during their trip.
  • Campfires: Open fires are prohibited along the Devils River State Natural Area waterfront. Fires are allowed only within the gradient boundary elsewhere when Val Verde County is not under a burn ban. (When a fire is legal, use of a fire pan and charcoal is ideal to limit resource damage). Containerized fuel camp stoves are recommended.
  • No trespassing: The majority of the Devils River frontage is private property. It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with gradient boundary law and respect private property by not trespassing.
  • Boating laws: All other state boating laws apply.
  • Valid permit: For a permit to be valid, it must be signed.

How to get a permit

To obtain a DRAP, call the Texas State Parks Customer Service Center at (512) 389-8901 and ask for the Devils River agent.

You may obtain your DRAP up to 5 months in advance. Permits cost $10. Each paddler will need a DRAP; a trip leader may reserve and pay for an entire group. DRAPs are refundable up to 72 hours after purchase; we will not issue refunds after that time.

Contact one of the shuttle services before obtaining your DRAP to ensure that a shuttle is available on your dates. Then contact the Customer Service Center to see if DRAPs are available, and to purchase your DRAP. If you plan to self-shuttle, make sure you have proper permission to use intended launch and take-out locations.