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San Antonio River, Texas
Report by Marc W. McCord

FM 81 (Hobson) to Duke Bridge Road
~ miles

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SOAR Inflatable Canoes - Somewhere On A River

General Description

Between Hobson and Duke Bridge Road the San Antonio River continues to flow as a slow, meandering coastal river free of rapids and waterfalls. It is characterized by a degrading water quality, though it is quite safe for human contact. Access points are few, but Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the Goliad Chamber of Commerce and Goliad State Park are working in conjunction with other partners to resolve that issue on the lower sections of this reach. This part of the river is very natural and remote, showing sparse signs of civilization along the entire reach. Banks are tree-lined and adjacent prairie land is repleat with riparian grasses, shrubs, bushes and trees. Log jams and brush piles are the only major obstacles. Steep, sometimes muddy banks make it a little difficult getting to and from the river, but it is not impossible, and improvements should create more opportunities with greater convenience in the near future.

Canoe Trail Goliad, Texas Parks and Wildlife and Goliad State Park have developed access points at six locations between SH 239 and Duke Bridge Road in Goliad County spanning a distance of about 58.1 miles. This is the most commonly paddled section of the San Antonio River, and offers reaches of 15.5 miles from SH 239 to Riverdale Road, 12.0 miles from Riverdale Road to US Hwy. 59, 4.75 miles from US 59 to Ferry Road, 1.15 miles from Ferry Road to Goliad State Park and 24.2 miles from Goliad State Park to Duke Bridge Road.


Karnes, Goliad and Victoria Counties, starting in Hobson at FM 81 in Karnes County and ending at Duke Bridge Road in Goliad County. Most of this reach flows through generally remote and undeveloped coastal flat prairie land. Goliad State Park is located along this reach on both sides of the river in the City of Goliad.

Distance from major cities

Dallas 310 miles; Austin 120 miles; San Antonio 40 miles; Houston 165 miles; Oklahoma City 519 miles; Little Rock miles; Kansas City miles; Albuquerque miles; Phoenix miles; Denver miles; Salt Lake City 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. Typical drought or low-water conditions may provide only marginal water for paddling, but except in periods of prolonged drought there is almost always adequate flow for a decent trip, though you may have to drag across gravel bars on occasion.

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 no rapids or waterfalls of any consequence with which to contend. During summer months the heat and humidity should be considered hazards to the human body, though not necessarily to navigation.

River Access Points

FM 81 crossing about 1 mile east of Hobson at 0.0 miles; SH 123 crossing just west of Panna Maria at about miles; SH 80 crossing just southwest of Helena at about miles; CR 326 crossing northeast of Kenedy at about miles; SH 72 crossing between Kenedy and Runge at about miles; SH 239 crossing about 2 miles west of Charco at about miles; Riverdale Road crossing west of Goliad at about miles; US Hwy. 59 crossing west of Goliad on river left at about miles; Ferry Street in Goliad at about miles; Goliad State Park (entrance fee required) on river left at about miles; Duke Bridge Road at about miles. There may be other access points along this reach, though getting to the river may be somewhat difficult, and having a safe and legal place to park vehicles may be a limiting factor.

Campgrounds and Accommodations

There are no known public or private canpgrounds, or other accommodations, available along this reach of the San Antonio River other than Goliad State Park in Goliad. River banks are usually steep and often muddy. Few places are suitable for camping along the 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 is a very nice paddle trip if you are looking for easy water without many hazards. In fact, it is quite scenic and natural all along the route. The only hazards are log jams, some of which can be massive in size with limited ability to navigate through them - scout them, and then choose your line carefully. The banks will be steep, but TPWD and its affiliate groups have developed several good access points with "improved" river access in that the steep banks have cut walkways with rope railings to assist you in getting up and down. They have also laid in cement bags as steps to provide better footing.

Canoe Trail Goliad, in conjunction with TPWD, the Goliad Chamber of Commerce and Goliad State Park have two "flotilla" events each year, one in the spring and one in the fall, that attracts large numbers of paddlers from all across Texas. The events coincide with promotions of the City of Goliad as a tourism attraction capped by the historic Goliad State Park with its old Spanish mission and gorgeous riverside campsites that are excellent for camping along the way for those enjoying a downriver trip on the San Antonio River.

Technical Data
Class Rating I to I+
Length 48 miles
Minimum Flow 250 cfs
Optimum Flow 450 - 1,000 cfs
Maximum Flow 1,500 cfs
First Put-in FM 81 crossing east of Hobson
Lat. / Long.
Last Take-out Duke Bridge Road
Lat. / Long.
Elevation msl
Gradient fpm
USGS Gauge Web:
Boats Canoes, Kayaks
Season Year-round, weather permitting
Permits No

US 59 access

Looking downriver from the US 59 access

Logjam about one mile below US 59 access

San Antonio River above Goliad

Ferry Road access

US 183 bridge near Goliad State Park

Goliad State Park access

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 ] [ Floresville to Hobson ] [ Duke Bridge Road to Guadalupe River confluence ]
[ Medina River ] [ Cibolo Creek ]

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