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The Kiamichi River near Antlers, Oklahoma.
Scenic Kayaking on The Kiamichi River in Southeastern Oklahoma.

 

 

 

 

 

Texas Waternet - Texas Water Resource Institute

 

 

North Texas River Runners - Dallas area kayakers

 

Texas Water Safari - 260-mile nonstop, marathon, canoe racing adventure called 'The World's Toughest Boat Race'.

 

 

 

Find a Spray Skirt for Your Kayak.

 

 

 

 

Texas Paddling Put-ins

Like many other water birds, Oklahoma paddlers often like to head south when the weather gets colder.  

Shady paddling in the boat lanes of Caddo Lake in Texas.This page contains information about canoeing, kayaking, rafting and tubing the rivers, creeks and streams of Texas. 

There are loads of paddling resources that focus on South Texas paddling, but they have The Gulf of Mexico, they don't need me! 

I wanted a page that focuses on the North Texas areas that are within striking distance of my good ol' Oklahoma home.

Texas Kayaking News: Dianne and I did some winter kayaking and kayak fishing at Caddo Lake in February of 2011, you can read our Caddo Lake kayaking trip report on our blog or see the pictures in our Caddo Lake photostream.

Got some tips?  Send me an email or just leave a comment on our Oklahoma Kayaking Blog.

Click to enlarge picture
 Kayaker among Cypress trees on LMF River near Borken Bow, OK
Cypress Trees on the Mt Fork River in Broken Bow, Oklahoma.

 

Kayak fishing for Bass in TexasKayaker Resources in Texas

Texas doesn’t require registration of paddle-powered boats as it does motor-powered vessels, so there’s no way to count the number of kayaks and canoes in the Lone Star State. You can bet that it is a big number. 

The sheer size of Texas means it can offer a large number of micro-climate regions with vastly different paddling conditions.  Personally, I prefer the swampy lakes of East Texas, but tons of paddlers do their kayak fishing on the Gulf Coast of Texas.

Ever Go Toobing in Texas?

Tubing in Austin, Texas - Seasonal Float Trip outfitter Austin Float Trips provides all-inclusive 2-6 hour inner-tube float trips down popular Central Texas Rivers (San Marcos River & Guadalupe River) during the summer and fall. http://austinfloattrips.com (512-963-5628)

Texas Lake Paddling

Caddo Lake- Bayou Kayaking!

Caddo Lake is the only natural lake in Texas. The lake is situated on the Texas and Louisiana border in North East Texas and North West Louisiana and at normal levels it covers 26,800 acres. The Big Cypress Bayou is the main tributary that feeds Caddo Lake. After it leaves Caddo Lake, the Big Cypress Bayou flows into the Red River where they merge in North Louisiana. The Red River creates much of the boundaries dividing Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.  Canoes appear to be more common than kayaks on Caddo Lake, I would guess that this is due to the excellent fishing. 

The canoe is the 'original' fishing kayak, in addition to more room for storage they offer great stability in boat wakes.  If you paddle Caddo Lake, watch out for the speeding Bass Boat and Jet Ski operators.  Wake enthusiasts are thick on this lake, so don't expect any boats to slow down when they see you.  I don't mind it much, because my kayak handles well in the wake and I know to keep a paddle in the water and to 'quarter the waves'. Plus, great fishing like Caddo Lake offers is bound to create a lot of boat traffic...symptoms of success are not worth worrying over. Visit texasfishingforum.com for information on more great fishing spots in Texas.

Bald Cypress Tress on Caddo Lake near Uncertain, TexasCaddo Lake is a large maze of interconnected waterways, with over a hundred miles of clearly marked boat roads and more primitive boat roads that can be confusing navigate. If you go there, I recommend that you pay for a guided boat tour on your first day there.  They will quickly show you the parts of the lake offering the best sight-seeing, fishing, biding, hunting or whatever you are looking for.  I can say the one-hour tour that we got from Billy Carter's Go-Devil® Tours was the highlight of our trip to Caddo Lake.  I got the best pictures, saw the coolest sights and learned more in that hour than in the rest of the two days we spent there. Give Billy Carter's Guide service a call or visit their website, they did a great job for us.  Billy Carter's offer some unique lodging choices as well. This is not any kind of paid endorsement, they just really impressed us.

Photographer's Paradise

I've long wanted to take the time off to paddle the Big Thicket Bayou area of Texas.  Spending some time photographing the Cypress trees strung with streamers of Spanish Moss from my kayak is my idea of a great time. The Big Thicket Bayou claims to be the largest Cypress bayou in the world!  Cool, huh? In June 2010, we took our first family trip to Caddo Lake.  We spent two nights at Caddo Lake Lodge and enjoyed some great kayaking and fishing in the bayou near Uncertain, Texas (more details on our kayaking blog).  The Wells family was nice enough to offer us a discounted 'press' rate to facilitate of first trip to this paddler's paradise.  I think they made a smart choice as we are bound to return.  The location is fantastic and the lodging was so comfortable.  Their website shows pictures of the rooms at Caddo Lake Lodge, but my favorite feature was the private canoe launch and fishing docks...'the height of luxury'.

The Best of Both Worlds

Caddo Lake has the dependable kayaking conditions you normally only find on lakes, so you don't need to constantly monitor the levels like you do when paddling rivers.  However, Caddo Lake also offers the shady, curvy, tree-lined beauty that you normally only find on rivers.  When you combine that with the absolutely huge Bass and Catfish that fill Caddo Lake, you get a place that looks like heaven for kayak fishing fans or canoe paddlers. These ancient Bald Cypress trees turn a lovely reddish brown color in the fall and in the Spring and Summer they are vivid green and surrounded by beautiful water lily, spatterdock and American Lotus water flowers.  We saw huge 'fields' of water lilies that were unlike anything I have ever seen. Visit our Flickr Photostream to see our Caddo Lake Set.

 

Caddo Lake Area Canoe Rental

OLD PORT CADDO RENTALS & TOURS
2670 Blairs Landing Rd. Karnack, TX 75661
Located inside the Caddo Lake State Park.
Owned & Operated by Cindy & Robert Speight.
903-930-0075
http://www.oldportcaddo.com 
 

JOHNSON'S RANCH
5131 East Cypress Drive Uncertain, TX 75661
Located on Caddo Lake in Uncertain Texas (Tested & Approved)
Canoes / Rental boats / Bait & Tackle / Cold Drinks / Snacks
Good canoe & kayak launch here. Free Wi-Fi.
903-789-3213
http://www.johnsonsranch.net/ 
 

CRIP'S CAMP
Located on Caddo Lake in Uncertain Texas
Canoes & Rental Boats / Ice / Breakfast / Souvenirs / Bait
903-789-3233
http://www.cripscamp.com/
 

SPATTERDOCK CABINS
Located on Caddo Lake
168 N. Mossy Brake Road, Uncertain, Texas 75661
903-789-3268
info@spatterdock.com
http://www.spatterdock.com

 

 

Shop Amazon Warehouse Deals - Deep Discounts on Open-box and Used Camera Equipment 

Caddo Lake Area Cabins

www.caddolakecabins.com 

www.hodgepodgecottages.com 

www.moonglowlodge.com 

www.beyondthebayou.com

www.whisperingpineslodge.net 

www.caddotexasstar.com 

www.moonshadowshideaway.com 

www.uncertain-tx.com/selah-timberwild/index.html

www.johnsonsranch.net

www.uncertaininn.com 

www.uncertaingifts.com 

www.billycarterscaddoguideservice.com

www.lafitteslanding.us

 

Another Caddo Lake Texas Road Trip Report

After hearing about the great time we had, my friend Todd made a trip down to Caddo Lake this month. Check out his Caddo Lake trip report below:
 

Todd's Caddo Lake Texas Road Trip - July 2010

My wife and I made a trip to the Caddo Lake area in North East Texas this year.  We were looking for a place to relax and we found that and much more. For us, driving to the Caddo Lake area was a four hour drive from our home in Oklahoma. 

We arrived around three in the afternoon and moved our bags into our cottage at Lafitte’s Landing.  Currently, they offer four cottages and a guest lodge. Lafitte’s Landing has four individual guest cottages with full access to a guest lodge. Each cottage is a modeled after a New Orleans’ shotgun house.  Our cottage had high ceilings, a good sized bedroom, living room and a bathroom / kitchenette (refrig, microwave, coffee pot, dishes and flatware).  The Lodge is open to all guests and has a full kitchen and dinning area with a ½ bath.  I would recommend Lafitte’s Landing for a small family reunion.  http://www.lafitteslanding.us/

For my wife and I the first morning brought rain, so we sat on our individual cottage’s porch and enjoyed the smell and sounds of rain while drinking our morning coffee.  When you are ready, there is a lot to do.  Jefferson is about 15 minutes away from our cottage and if you like to antique shop you will love Jefferson. 

Jefferson is a riverboat town and became quite wealthy during the decades of riverboat traffic.  There is a museum covering area history, many antique shops, and many restaurants offering fresh pies other great food.   One of the restaurants has $1.00 bills stapled to the walls and signed by the many people who have visited.  Another sandwich shop serves espressos and frozen coffee drinks which will jolt the tied husband into being ready for more shopping.  An older couple runs a general store which makes fresh fudge daily, and guys you can buy it by the pound.   

I love to eat and my wife loves to wander through antique stores so we were both delighted.  As we entered one of the antique stores I was pleased to see they had an area set aside like an old soda shop.  I picked up a drink from the refrigerator and the owner opened it for me and then asked if I would do him a favor.  I replied sure I will.  He said will you sit in this leather chair and make sure no one walks out the door with anything big, while I go to the bank.  So there I sat, drinking my pop enjoying the view of the town. 

Besides the shopping and history of Jefferson, there is also the town of Marshall near by.  This is NOT the town featured in the movie “We are Marshall”.  So, I did not see any movie stars.  I did visit the Marshall Pottery Plant where you can purchase pottery and many other things at discount prices. 

When you are ready for the great outdoors, you can take a tour on Caddo Lake.  We had John Wynn of “Caddo Outback Backwater Tours” ( http://www.caddolaketours.com ) show us part of Caddo Lake and it was incredible.  John grew up in the area and is used by the county sheriff’s departments for rescues.  In fact, just two weeks prior to our stay he had rescued two kayakers from England.  They got lost and as it started getting dark, they called 911.  John found them and brought them out, they were very thankful not to have to spend the night in lake / swamp.   

Describing Caddo Lake is not a simple thing, it looks like a swamp type terrain however, I took bug spray but did not need it.  Normally, I’m eaten up by mosquitoes so I took bug spray with me in the boat but I never needed to use it.  Therefore, I would say it is more like an open water lake that has a large population of fish which keep the mosquito population in control.  It does not look like an open lake, my friend who recommended Caddo to me described it as a landscape from the movie Avatar.  I have to agree it really looks like a sci-fi movie set.  

Our tour guide (John Wynn), spent time showing us different types of foliage and different species of wildlife.  In this way Caddo Lake reminded me of a rainforest in South America.  Caddo Lake is a maze of 26,800 acres of interconnected waters ways, bayous, sloughs, ox-bows, channels, islands and cypress thickets.  I’m sure I’m not doing the area justice in my description, but I can say it will appeal to individuals who enjoy wildlife, beautiful foliage and history. 


 

Colorado Bend State Park & Lake Buchanan  

When Lake Buchanan is near normal levels, The Colorado River is navigable from the Colorado Bend State Park boat ramp all the way to the Lake Buchanan, approximately 10 miles. This is a trip on slow moving water through the beautiful canyon lands of the Colorado River. The float is said to include a portion of Gorman Creek which feeds Gorman Falls. Gorman Falls is an impressive, 60-foot-high waterfall. The falls' travertine formations and associated lush vegetation are very scenic.


Directions: Colorado Bend State Park is west of Lampasas, Texas southeast of San Saba, TX. From the intersection of US Highways 281 and 183 in Lampasas, take FM 580 west 24 miles to Bend and follow the signs 4 miles to the park entrance. From San Saba, take US Highway 190 about 4 miles to FM 580 and follow the signs 13 miles to Bend; follow the signs 4 miles to the park entrance (2 miles of dirt road). The headquarters and main camping are 6 miles past the entrance on the dirt road (unmarked County Road 442). (Access road subject to flooding.) Note: No Gasoline Service in Bend.

 

Two popular Texas Lake Kayaking destinations are Austin's Town Lake and Inks Lake near Burnet, Texas. At Town Lake, kayakers paddle to Austin’s Congress Bridge which hosts one of the nation’s largest colonies of Mexican Free-tailed Bats.  Inks Lake is a great destination for those who want to paddle and tour Devils Water Hole. Devils Waterhole is at the southeast end of the State Park. There are some nice coves for anchoring and swimming or fishing.

 

Fort Worth Whitewater Park
Trinity River, Clear Fork, TX

While the full reach is listed as 3.5 miles from Bryant Irvin Rd to University Dr, most whitewater boaters will be content to concentrate on just the last half-mile, where re-engineering of a series of dams in a cement-channelized river has created a fine Park-and-Play spot near downtown Fort Worth.
 

Inland Paddling Trails Created By Texas Parks & Wildlife Department

Bastrop Paddling Trail

The El Camino Real Paddling Trail in Bastrop, Texas! A six-mile trail along the Colorado River.

Columbus Paddling Trail

A 6.5 mile trail that can take anywhere from two to five hours to complete. Peaceful waters and calm rapids.

Goliad Paddling Trail

Enjoy quiet pools and several small riffles on the first Texas inland paddling trail to include a State Park. Located on the San Antonio River near the town of Goliad, TX this 6.6-mile river trail can be floated in two and a half to four hours.

Luling Zedler Mill Paddling Trail

Located on the San Marcos River near the city of Luling, Texas this six-mile river trail can be floated in two to four hours. Paddlers will enjoy a gentle family-friendly ride on this quiet river lined with beautiful trees.


Finding Public Kayak Launch Spots in Texas

Whether you plan to boat, fish, paddle, float or just enjoy Texas rivers, reservoirs and coastal areas, the Texas Public Boater Access (TPBA) website can help.

The TPBA website is an interactive catalog of public areas used to access Texas rivers, reservoirs and coastal areas. To date, two river basins (Colorado and Guadalupe) are available online. Public access data collection for other Texas river basins is in progress and will be added to the website.  Watch this site for future development of this resource.

 

  Texas kayakers often make their way to Southeastern, Oklahoma for kayaking, canoeing & tubing on The Mountain Fork River and on The Kiamichi River.

...Paddle Oklahoma! - Area Float Trip Outfitters List




 

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