Things to Do

Brownwood’s Pecan Bayou Offers Paddling by Day and Romance by Night

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With hillsides and open fields bursting with color, birds migrating from north to south, and clouds like puffy sheep blowing gently through cerulean skies, no one can doubt that spring has arrived in Texas. Spend time outdoors exploring the Pecan Bayou (part of the Texas Paddling Trails system) near Brownwood, then snuggle up with your special someone for a night of rustic or refined romance under the stars.

paddlers--Photo: Courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife

The newly risen sun casts sparkles like millions of tiny diamonds on the slow moving water. A rhythmic slosh, slosh is the only sound that breaks the silence as the canoe glides through the blue-green water. Slightly ahead of the paddler, a blue heron senses a would-be threat and gracefully extends its wings to fly to a safer fishing spot. The paddler takes a momentary break, sips from his coffee mug, and breathes deeply. Now, this is living.

pecan bayou 2Photo: Courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife

Fabis Primitive Park just outside Brownwood hosts a launching spot into the Pecan Bayou. According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife website, this paddling trail encompasses up to 7.2 miles, which includes a 3.2-mile loop upriver and back and a 4-mile loop downriver to the dam and back. The usually slow moving body of water drains from Lake Brownwood, but high levels of rainfall can cause the water levels to fluctuate and become undesirable for paddling.

scenic_1--Photo: Courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife

The bayou gets its name from the hundred-year-old pecan trees that line its banks, the remnants of an old orchard. Fishermen and women take note. The bayou teems with large and small mouth bass, crappie, brim, and catfish. Birdwatchers will gloat to fellow birders over sightings of heron, kingfishers, Eastern bluebirds, woodpeckers, and egrets. Eastern screech, great horned, and barred owls snooze from tree branches. Winter brings its own variety of winged visitors including Northern pintails, mallards, blue-winged teal, nuthatches, creepers, flickers, and sapsuckers.

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