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San Antonio River, Texas
Report by Marc W. McCord

SH 97 (Floresville) to FM 81 (Hobson)
~ 35.5 miles

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SOAR Inflatable Canoes - Somewhere On A River

General Description

Between SH 97 at Floresville and FM 81 at Hobson the San Antonio River flows as a flatwater stream with coastal river characteristics - flat plains lands covered with coastal grasses and plants, a gentle gradient, a slow current and a wide variety of varmints and critters such as skunks, armadillos, raccoons, squirrels, deer, rabbits, mice, reptiles and who nows what else. There are two small waterfalls located near Falls City that add an element of adventure to this reach and offer Class II to II+ characteristics, depending upon flow conditions. This reach of about 35.5 miles is generally an easy paddle, though occasional log jams, debris piles and hot summer temperatures can present problems for the unprepared. Some portages around log jams are usually required.

The surrounding area is largely very remote with few signs of civilization to be seen. Cottonwood, elm, willow and sycamore trees are found in abundance along the river, though most offer little protection from direct sunlight. The river is about 50-75 feet wide in most places, with a very slow current that is nearly always navigable. Two small waterfalls near Falls City just above Hobson make this reach an interesting run and add a little adventure to an otherwise mundane flatwater trip. Steep, earthen riverbanks make ingress and egress a little difficult, but also add to the scenery of the river, hiding the flat, coastal prairies adjacent to the the channel. A half dozen access points allow trips of varying lengths on this section of the river


Wilson and Karnes Counties, starting in Floresville and ending at Hobson about 36 miles to the southeast. Most of this reach flows through generally remote and undeveloped land.

Distance from major cities

Dallas 297 miles; Austin 107 miles; San Antonio 27 miles; Houston 225 miles; Oklahoma City 506 miles; Little Rock 607 miles; Kansas City 808 miles; Albuquerque 754 miles; Phoenix 1,026 miles; Denver 972 miles; Salt Lake City 1,358 miles (all distances are approximate and depend upon starting point, destination to the put-in at the river and route taken.)

Water Quality and Flow Rates

Water quality is generally good to very good, though some pollution may occasionally occur from urban run-off. Flow is almost always adequate for paddling lightly loaded canoes and kayaks, though the river will tend to run very low during hot summer months or periods of prolonged drought.

Best Times to Go

Weather and flow conditions permitting, the best times to paddle this reach of the San Antonio River are from mid-fall through late spring. Summers will be very hot and humid, with little shade from the South Texas sun.

Hazards to Navigation

Log jams and brush debris piles are the primary hazards to navigation along this reach of the San Antonio River. There are two small waterfalls, Skiles Falls approximately three miles downstream from FM 791 near Falls City, at about 29 miles below the SH 97 access and another small waterfall, located approximately one mile upstream from US 181 near Falls City, at about 31.5 miles, that should be scouted before running, especially if in a loaded boat. The decision to run or portage should be made based upon paddler skill level, craft, load, water level and time of day. During summer months the heat and humidity should be considered hazards to the human body, though not necessarily to navigation.

River Access Points

SH 97 crossing about 1 mile southwest of Floresville at 0.0 miles; FM 541 crossing about 6 miles south of Floresville at about 12.0 miles; FM 791 (Conquista) crossing about 3 miles southwest of Falls City at about 26.0 miles; County road crossing about 1 mile southwest of Falls City at about 30.0 miles; US Highway 181 crossing, located on the southeastern city limit of Falls City, at about 32.5 miles; FM 81 crossing about 1 mile east of Hobson at about 35.5 miles.

Campgrounds and Accommodations

There are no known public or private canpgrounds, or other accommodations, available along this reach of the San Antonio River. Most property is privately owned, and camping should only be done after obtaining landowner permission.

Liveries, outfitters and shuttle services

There are no known liveries, outfitters or shuttle services operating along this reach of the San Antonio River. Bring everything you need and arrange your own shuttles. Due to the very remote nature of this run leave no valuables in cars.

Reviewer's comments

This reach of the San Antonio River and the one immediately below are the best places for recreational paddling. Plenty of public access at strategic distances downriver offer canoeists and kayakers several options for trip lengths. The two drops near Falls City add some adventure to an otherwise flatwater paddle punctuated with occasional log jams and debris piles. Any of several access points along this reach can be used to take a trip of a few miles or a few days, but camping along the river will be rough, at best. Most of the land, though very remote, is privately owned and landowner permission should always be obtained before camping there. Tree-lined banks offer scenic beauty that accents the coastal plains adjacent to the river. There are no outfiters or campgrounds along this reach, so paddlers and campers need to be self-contained. Wildlife is plentiful, and taking a camera might be a great idea.

Technical Data
Class Rating I to II+
Length 35.5 miles
Minimum Flow cfs
Optimum Flow cfs
Maximum Flow cfs
First Put-in SH 97 crossing
Lat. / Long.
Last Take-out FM 81 crossing
Lat. / Long.
Elevation msl
Gradient fpm
USGS Gauge Web:
Boats Canoes, Kayaks
Season Year-round, weather permitting
Permits No

San Antonio River map courtesy Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
San Antonio River map courtesy Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Dallas Down River Club - Promoting paddlesports,  safety and environmental protection

Alamo City Rivermen - Paddling the fine line between geek and bubba

Canoeman River Guide Service - Guided river trips in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah

Click the links below for information regarding the section of the San Antonio River and its tributaries where you want to paddle.

[ San Antonio River Homepage ] [ Loop 1604 to Floresville ] [ Hobson to Duke Bridge Road ] [ Duke Bridge Road to Guadalupe River confluence ]
[ Medina River ] [ Cibolo Creek ]

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