Below SH 105 the Brazos River has all the trappings of a coastal plains river with tree-lined, steep banks, a very flat gradient and a slow to usually imperceptible current. This reach has limited access, and it is 36 miles between the put-in at SH 105 and the next access point at US Highway 290, below which access is a little more frequent allowing for shorter trips for those wanting less than several days on the river. Farmland predominates most of the adjacent land along this reach where development is almost non-existent, though several small towns are nearby. Stephen F. Austin State Park is located below FM 529 at about 83 miles below the SH 105 put-in and about 6 miles above the final take-out at US Highway 90 / IH 10 just south of San Felipe and just east of Sealy.
To be sure, this is not a heavily used part of the Brazos and it is unlikely you will see any other boaters during your trip. High bluffs and sandbars are frequently seen along the river here with the sandbars providing ample opportunities to camp primitively at the water's edge. The sand bars are usually found on river bends and some are large enough to spaciously accommodate a large group. There is a chance you might see alligators along this reach, though they generally do not eat too much, so you will probably be safe enough. Snakes are also found along this run, but they also are shy of humans. In fact, your biggest threat to safety is probably the wind, high humidity and heat if you paddle here between May and September. Insect repellant, hats, sunscreen and other such items are good to have with you for a more comfortable trip.
You will not find any commercial liveries, campgrounds or other river services along this reach of the river. You will also not find any stores of any kind on this trip, so be sure to stock up before launching. This is definitely a self-supported trip, so either bring along a shuttle bunny or else run your own shuttle before starting the trip. Be sure to allow plenty of time for the distance you intend to paddle, and in low water conditions expect to walk and drag or carry boats periodically. This reach of the river begins to enter the coastal plains leading down to the Texas Gulf Coast. As with other reaches of the Brazos you can expect strong headwinds much of the time, so factor that into your time estimates.
Grimes, Washington Austin and Waller Counties in southcentral Texas, near Brenham, Hempstead, Bellville and San Felipe.
Waco 30 miles; Dallas 125 miles; Austin 106 miles; San Antonio 200 miles; Houston 172 miles; Oklahoma City 325 miles; Little Rock 440 miles; Kansas City 640 miles; Albuquerque 700 miles; Phoenix 1,085 miles; Denver 880 miles; Salt Lake City 1,320 miles (all distances are approximate, and depend upon starting point, destination at the river and route taken.)
Murky to muddy, getting muddier right after local rainfalls. Almost always enough water for recreational paddling except during periods of exceptional drought.
This section of the Brazos can generally be run almost anytime of the year, weather permitting. The optimum seasons would be late-winter through early summer and early through late fall due to ore favorable weather conditions and more moderate temperatures.
There are no significant natural or man-made hazards to navigation along this reach of the Brazos River most of the time, though deadfall log jams can occur, especially on river bends, during or after major floods.
SH 105 / FM 159 Bridge (N 30° 21' 40.69" / W 096° 09' 19.06") on river left at 0.0 miles; US Highway 290 Bridge (N 30° 07' 45.14" / W 096° 11' 14.11") on river right at about 36.0 miles; Austin Branch Road (N 30° 07' 01.61" / W 096° 10' 42.90") west of Hempstead on river left at about 37.0 miles; SH 159 Bridge (N 30° 02' 37.70" / W 096° 06' 37.49") on river right at about 50.3 miles; FM 529 bridge (N 29° 54' 54.83" / W 096° 06' 50.07") on either side at about 69.8 miles; Stephen F. Austin State Park (N 29° 48' 37.35" / W 096° 06' 14.32") on river right at about 83.2 miles (fee required); FM 1458 (N 29° 48' 31.09" / W 096° 05' 46.24") on river right at about 83.7 miles; and US Highway 90 / IH 10 Bridge (N 29° 46' 17.78" / W 096° 02' 10.72") on river right at about 89.2 miles. There MAY be other access points along this reach of the Brazos River.
There are no commercial campgrounds located along this reach of the Brazos River, though there are numerous natural, primitive campsites on sandbars, usually found on river bends, that allow for overnight trips of 2 or more days.
There are no liveries or shuttle services along this section of the Brazos River. Make your own arrangements.
If you are looking for solitude and a trip without the presence of other humans, then this is the place for you! This very flat, very slow, meandering reach offers excellent sandbar primitive camping at almost every bend, and there are many bends, but not much shade along the river. The surrounding area is rural and undeveloped other than an occasional crossing roadway. At 89.2 miles, this is a long reach, but it offers access points at 36.0, 37.0, 50.3, 69.8, 83.2 and 83.7 miles between the first put-in and last take-out allowing for trips of many lengths depending upon what you want to do. Coastal birds will usually be plentiful, as they find refuge on this remote and undisturbed river.
There are no outfitters, campgrounds or other river-related services on this reach, so be sure to bring everything you need and run your own shuttles. Be sure your vehicles are safely parked on public rights-of-way, and it is a very good idea to contact the local sheriff and/or Texas DPS giving them a description and license plate number, as well as location, of each vehicle being left at an access point so they know you are on the river and that the vehicle is not abandoned. Getting to the end of a long trip only to discover that your vehicle is not there would not make for happy paddlers!