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San Marcos - (2) San Marcos to Pecan Park (5.7 miles)
For those wanting to build their skills or just have some fun on the water, the run from the Rio
Vista Whitewater Park to Pecan Park is always popular and the constant 72° F water
temperature makes it pleasant year-round.
After shooting through the three waves in the Rio Vista Whitewater Park, a scenic flat-water
paddle will take you through a lush area of the river. About ¾ of a mile into the paddle,
the river will split at the top of Thompson's Island. The path to the right takes you over a 3
foot waterfall which is an excellent place to practice enders, and a small surf wave is great for
beginners. The remainder of the run is prone to downed trees and river-wide strainers which often
require people to portage or do some tricky maneuvering to bypass the downed branches, especially
after recent flooding.
The river will then twist around another ¼ of a mile, which takes you to the base of a
16’ water fall named Graduation Falls. Graduation can also be accessed by taking the
(previously mentioned) left fork of the river, however this route requires you to get out of your
boat two times in order to actually run the falls, the first to cross the road and the second to
bypass a concrete slab blocking the entry to the falls, which makes taking the right fork a
Running the falls is fun and for the most part very safe, even for beginners. It is not uncommon
to see people running the 16’ drop their first day in a kayak. There is no hydraulic and a
swim at the bottom is safe. The concrete block at the falls entrance requires boaters to carry
their equipment and get into the water directly at the top. The waterfall is not challenging and
is great for building confidence, it can be run forwards, backwards, and is a fun place to
perfect your boofing technique. Because there are no other playspots for several miles many opt
to paddle back upstream to the Rio Vista Whitewater Park.
For those that select to continue on, the next significant feature on the river is Cummings Dam,
3.5 miles downstream. Cummings Dam is a menacing 15’ waterfall with a large hydraulic at
its base. While several boaters have run the drop, it is not recommended. The portage is easiest
to river right. About 1 mile downstream on river left is the take out. Pecan Park allows shuttle
vehicles to be safely parked for a small fee.
This video gives a nice view of Graduation Falls:
Put-in is approximately 560' elevation.
Take-out is approximately 517' elevation.
Thus total elevation change is approximately 43'.