Skip to main content

How To Paddle Devils River

Ever wanted to experience Texas wilderness in a new way? Here is a guide that will have you well-prepared for paddling the Devils River in Del Rio, Texas.

Photo via Austin Fly Fishers

Texas Parks and Wildlife (TWPD) gives a great and detailed guide to preparing for and paddling the Devils River, a 47.7-mile trip through beautiful Texas waters.

The guide is informative and necessary to prepare for the trip, especially if you have not experienced a long paddle down a river before.

View the slideshow to see the highlights, and make the most of your Devils River trip.

 1. Obtain a Four Wheel Drive vehicle

Photo via TPWD

Flooding has made roads to the river a little messy for the time being. Challenge accepted.

 2. Make private arrangements for take-out

Photo via TPWD

There is no public access take-out for your exit after you have endured Devils. Here are a few suggestions for shuttle and guide services:

Amistad Expeditions: (512) 923-2344

Expedition Outfitters: (210) 602-9284

Reel Fly: (830) 964-4823

3. Plan ahead for these obstacles during the float

Photo via TPWD

Old Baker’s Crossing Bridge: when the water is low you can walk your kayak, but when they are high expect to go around.

Jarrett’s Crossing: Nine miles from Baker’s Crossing, be prepared to push or drag your boat across depending on water levels. You likely will not have to go around.

Dolan Falls: Unless you have experience with Class IV rapids, it is strongly advised that you walk your boat around these falls. Don’t worry; there are plenty of harrowing warning signs to let you know when you are approaching them. A large warning sign rests on a huge rock on the left of the river, it’s hard to miss unless you just do not want to see.

The Cascades: 20 miles into the float, these rapids are not quite as daunting as Dolan Falls, but planning is required. They are considered Class II or III and it is suggested you scout the falls before taking them on, and then go river right.

4. Get a Devils River State Natural Area Access Permit

Photo via TPWD

You’ll already have spent money on gas, a shuttle service and bribing your neighbor for his 4WD truck, so luckily the actual price to enjoy the float is only $10.

TPWD says, “Contact the TPWD Customer Service Center at (512) 389-8901 to obtain a Devils River State Natural Area Access Permit [DRSNAAP] and camping permits, and to learn about commercial outfitters.” You can also gather information about camping if desired.

The reasons for floating Devils River are many: birding, fishing, meditating, exploring Texas in a new way, bonding with your family, having fun with your buddies, or just enjoying some alone time. Ideally, the best time to do this paddle is from the summer to mid-autumn. As long as you follow the public land laws and remain humble, it is an unforgettable experience.

Gear up for a kayak fishing trip

Five Kayak Fishing Gear Must-Haves for 2014

you might also like

How To Paddle Devils River