Canoe or Kayak the Medina River

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Added by Kyle Obermann

Texas is not as dry as you thought. Let a float under the cypress cathedrals of the Medina River change your mind as you experience some of the Hill Country's most pristine and secluded rivers firsthand.

Start at the river crossing of Patterson Avenue in the town of Medina, Texas. From here, you have several take out options which can be seen in the map pictured above (spots marked by "x"). How far to go is up to you, but a good end point is Peaceful Valley Crossing where there is plenty of public parking along TX 16 for a total of 10.2 miles. Be aware that there are no public portage options here, so, if you don't have two cars, you are best off dropping off your gear and crew at your put-in point, driving to your take-out, leaving the car there, and riding a bike back to your put-in.

The river has some challenging sections mainly caused by fallen trees and snags which require caution and experience to navigate. In between these rapids are long, calm pools. While canoeing the river is possible, kayaking is generally easier since the water is quite low in many sections. Do not attempt in flood conditions. Do not go in a drought. Check water levels before attempting.

Finally, a basic understanding of Texas property and water laws is required. The majority of the land along the Medina is private land and cannot be trespassed. So, your options for putting in and taking out along the river are limited to public parks and public road crossings - of which there are many (See map). For a break or lunch along the way, avoid stopping on banks and choose islands or gravel bars instead. If you must take to the shore to do a safe portage do so quickly and do not linger. Respect land owner's land rights.

Once you get below FM 470 the river gets very crowded with tubers in the summer. Please respect the natural and pristine environment here; take out what you bring; leave no trace!

  • More maps can be found here.
  • More information and more here.
  • Water flows here.
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Definitely not a good map

We used the map provided to kayak this past weekend and it is pretty far off on the mileage. Not sure if water level affects mileage, but we went from Medina down to Bandina Crossing and that was 10 miles on the Strava app. I believe your map is road miles not nautical miles so it is very misleading. Everyone we talked to along the River said it’s a lot longer than 10 miles and said more like 10 hours from Medina to Peaceful Valley. If you all need someone to map out rivers for nautical miles my dad, brother and I would love to help.

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Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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