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4 Great Places to Paddle in The Hill Country

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The upper Guadalupe River flows through the Guadalupe River State Park, so it is a popular destination for water recreation seekers. The Nichol’s Landing Paddling Trail stretches for 9.9 miles, and the float is about three to six hours, depending on water levels and flow rates.

The put-in is located at Nichol’s Landing on Old Spring Branch Road, three miles west of Hwy 281 N, off Spring Branch Road. Paddlers can take out at the FM 311 crossing, two miles southeast of Spring Branch. The last public access site above the Canyon Reservoir is at the Rebecca Creek crossing.

Several outfitters and shuttles serve the Upper Guadalupe River area, including Bigfoot Canoes, Austin Canoe and Kayak, and REI.

3. Inks Lake – Burnet

4 Great Places to Paddle in the Hill Country


Inks Lake is located 55 miles northwest of Austin, Texas on Highway 29, and it measures 4.2 miles long and 3,000 feet wide. The landscape around the lake and neighboring Inks Lake State Park is hilly, with a variety of cedar, live oak, prickly pear cacti and yucca.

The lake and state park offer fantastic opportunities for boating, canoeing, hiking, fishing, and water skiing. Inks Lake set aside a large, no-wake zone for paddling. Visitors can rent canoes, kayaks, and paddleboats at the Inks Lake Park. The park staff also offers several guided tours.

Devil’s Waterhole is a small extension of Inks Lake, and it is almost completely surrounded by rock. It is a favorite destination for swimmers and cliff jumpers. However, jump in at your own risk, as the waterhole does not have a lifeguard on duty.

Visitors can also take a canoe tour of Devil’s Waterhole and explore the scenic waterfalls upstream of the lake.

4. South Llano Paddling Trail – Junction

4 Great Places to Paddle in the Hill Country