San Marcos River kayaking

San Marcos River Kayaking In Texas

A new destination for kayaking like the San Markos river is always a favorite for me. The San Markos river kayaking is worth visiting due to its multiple opportunities for exploring nature and other new things. It is a heavenly place for kayakers, tubers, swimmers, and stand-up paddle boaters.

The Aquarena Spring feeds the San Marcos river and the river flow approximately four miles down where it joins the Blanco River and flows through the Luling and Palmetto State Park. This river is almost 121 Km before it flows into the Guadalupe River.

Overview of the San Marcos River kayaking trip

Shady San Marcos River
Shady San Marcos River

Kayaking in the san Marcos river made us feel like doing it once again. Nice cool and clear water throughout the river and a lot of downed trees make the river feels like an obstacle course for the kayakers.

Some part of the river has fast water with a nice current that tries to roll you out. But don’t worry this river is really very nice and enjoyable with the great torch of the natural beauty with a variety of species. This river is an excellent choice for kayak camping and fishing. 

There is no shuttle in the river which is not good if you want to paddle longer distances. You will not have much energy to come back or paddle upstream and the river is flowing with some chutes and dams. So, it is near about impossible to come back by paddling.

So, you need to have two cars at the two spots. One is where you drop off and the other is at the take-off point. If you don’t want to do that you can paddle keeping enough energy to come back to the base area.

San Marcos River access points

san marcos river access points
San Marcos River access points

San Marcos River is a long river. So, it has several access points for its visitors. You can access the river from parks and non-park points. Non-park access points can be identified easily if you have any previous idea of launching your kayak or have some basics.

Some good and safe access points are available in the many popular parks like City Park, Rio Vista Parks, Swell Park, Plaza Park, etc. Some parks charge a few dollars to access the river through them. So check before going there.

Where to put in at and take out for kayaking at San Marcos River?

A mini dam of the river

San Marcos river has several areas to put in your kayak. You can go from either upstream or downstream. If you want to start with relaxing mode, you can start putting in at Sewell Park.

Swell Park is pretty much near where the river starts. If you want put in at and want to paddle upstream, you can start by putting in at Rio Vista Park and take out at Swell Park that is for a short span of kayaking.

If you want longer kayaking like 5 miles or more, you can put in at Rio Vista Park and take out at Old Bastrop road which is a nearly 5-mile trip.

You can also start from the city park which is one of the popular spots among the visitors due to its huge parking facility and easy drop off and take out.

But during summer time this area becomes crowded due to heavy traffic and visitors. So if you are planning to start san Marcos river kayaking from the city park if possible try to visit without weekends.

How can you measure your paddling distance?

You can measure your kayaking distance using your mobile phone. Use GPS for that purpose. Open Google Maps and then go to the measure distance and then drop the pins. You can use some other apps also like- Strava, AllTrails, MapMyRun, etc.

Can you do kayaking at night on the San Marcos river?

Yes, you can. Many people including me like to kayak at night using a clear kayak with colorful lights. Night kayaking will give you an extra vibe on this trip. Don’t worry about the fear of darkness. You can book a guide at the City Park through Paddle SMTX. They are very professional with their responsibilities.

How is the water level at San Marcos River?

san marcos river water level status
The San Marcos River water level status by US National Water Dashboard

The water level remains almost the same since the spring feeds the river at the same rate. Only in there is a concern of heavy flow during heavy and constant rain. At that time the river is really unsafe for any water activity.

The normal flow rate of San Marcos river is between 150 to 250 Cubic feet per second (CFS). During heavy and constant rain it can go up to 3000 CFS.

You can check the status of the san Marcos river or any other river using the National water dashboard. It is an awesome website by the US Government. In the legends section, the level of the river is marked by different colors.

Are the dams dangerous for kayakers or tubers?

dams of San Marcos river

San Marcos river is consist of different types of dams. Some of the popular dams are- the Cape dam, Cummings Dam, Thompson Islan Dam, Five Mile Dam, Staples Dam, etc.

Cummings Dam in the San Marcos River
Cummings Dam in the San Marcos River

 Some of them are very high and some of them are low-height dams. So, if you want to slide or jump over the dams it may be dangerous for you if you don’t have proper skill and experience. Some beginners try to pass over these dams and roll over and ended up having injuries. So, be careful before making any such decision.

If you are confident and experienced enough go ahead with wearing safety gear. But some high dams like Cummings Dam have a high elevation that is extremely dangerous for any kayaker and that’s why they keep stairs for climbing down from the upstream with your kayak.