Guadalupe - 3. Farm Road 3351 to Rebecca Creek Crossing (22.5 miles)

Guadalupe, Texas, US


3. Farm Road 3351 to Rebecca Creek Crossing (22.5 miles)

Usual Difficulty II (for normal flows)
Length 22.5 Miles
Avg. Gradient 6 fpm

Let's Ride!

Let's Ride!
Photo of "Cactus Carl" by N. F. taken 04/04/05 @ 500cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Guadalupe Rv at Comfort, TX
usgs-08167000 200 - 10000 cfs II 00h50m 186 cfs (too low)
Guadalupe Rv nr Spring Branch, TX
usgs-08167500 200 - 10000 cfs II 00h35m 499 cfs (running)
Upper limit for best boatability uncertain. Please help your fellow boaters with a comment or report. Gauge is at the U.S. 281 crossing (Mile 16.4) and is thus not necessarily reflective of the flow at FM 3351.

River Description

The Upper Guadalupe is a relatively beginner-friendly stretch of river popular with canoeists and recreational kayakers looking to paddle in a more secluded setting, free of the wall-to-wall tubers and private homes that adorn the Lower Guadalupe.  Except in runoff events, during which the river can be very silty, it is usually fed by spring flow and thus runs clean.  Except during extreme droughts, the Upper Guadalupe generally maintains a reasonable base flow.

The Upper Guad does not have a lot of gradient, so there are only a handful of named rapids on this entire 25-mile stretch of river.  Rapids are typically short and are separated by pools sometimes miles long.  Thus, whitewater boaters tend to avoid the Upper Guad unless it is flowing thousands of cfs, and they tend to prefer the stretch below U.S. 281, because it has the largest rapids (including Mueller Falls and Rust Falls) and the least flat water.

With the exception of the afore-mentioned falls, most of the rapids are basic Class I-II rock gardens with little consequence.

The most popular day trips are from Bergheim (FM 3351) to Guadalupe River State Park (7.8 miles) and from Nichol's Landing to Rebecca Creek Rd. (9.8 miles, often shortened to 6 miles by putting in at U.S. 281.)  The latter stretch has been designated a Texas Paddling Trail by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Dept.

For more information, see Texas Whitewater, 2nd Edition.

Distances and gradient measured using GIS tools in 2015.


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2015-07-04 17:38:17


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0FM 3351 Crossing (Bergheim)N/APutin
1.2Rock PileII
1.7Dog LegII
3.6Edge Falls Road (Low-Water Crossing)N/APortage Hazard
7.8Guadalupe River State ParkN/AAccess
10.3Low-Water CrossingN/AHazard
10.8Unnamed RapidII
12.4Spring Branch Road (Specht's Crossing)N/A
12.7Nichol's LandingN/AAccess
16.4U.S. 281 BridgeN/AAccess
16.5281 RapidII
18.0FM 311 BridgeN/AAccess
19.7Mueller FallsII+
22.0Rust FallsII+
22.2Unnamed RapidII
22.5Rebecca Creek CrossingN/ATakeout
22.5Rebecca Creek RapidII

Rapid Descriptions

FM 3351 Crossing (Bergheim) (Class N/A)

Public access is at river left (north of the bridge) on the downstream side via a dirt/gravel road that runs along the highway easement.  Paddlers can also pay to park and put in at Bergheim Campground.  The campground also rents canoes and kayaks and runs shuttles for an additional fee.

Dog Leg (Class II, Mile 1.7)

River curves right, then left again

Edge Falls Road (Low-Water Crossing) (Class N/A, Mile 3.6)

This low-water crossing can become clogged wtih debris, and at least one person has drowned by becoming trapped in debris under the crossing.  There is no real parking here.

Guadalupe River State Park (Class N/A, Mile 7.8)

Public access at river right with a paved parking lot and bathroom facilities.  Camping is also available in the state park (do not camp along the river.)  Day use fee or State Parks Pass required to put in/take out.

Historical footnote: David Bamberger, former CEO of Church's Fried Chicken, owned the primary tract of land that became Guadalupe River State Park.  In the early 70s, he agreed to sell the land to the state at a price significantly below market value, because he recognized the need for public river access along the Upper Guadalupe.  Bamberger is also a conservation pioneer, and his ranch (Selah Bamberger Ranch) at the headwaters of Miller Creek serves as a model for both wildlife and groundwater (spring) conservation in the Texas Hill Country.

Low-Water Crossing (Class N/A, Mile 10.3)

Known to be runnable at higher flows, but portage if it looks the least bit sketchy.

Unnamed Rapid (Class II, Mile 10.8)

River constricts and creates a decent wave train at high flows.

Spring Branch Road (Specht's Crossing) (Class N/A, Mile 12.4)

No access at the bridge, but public access is available just downstream at Nichol's Landing.

Nichol's Landing (Class N/A, Mile 12.7)

Public access and parking is available at river left (at the end of Old Spring Branch Rd.)  This is a popular put-in for doing a longer day trip down to Rebecca Creek Rd.  The relatively flat stretch of river from Nichol's Landing to U.S. 281 is also popular with tubers during the summer.

Southwest Paddler warns that vehicles parked here after dark will be towed, but it is unknown whether that beta is current.

U.S. 281 Bridge (Class N/A, Mile 16.4)

No public access, but you can pay one of the river outfitters.

281 Rapid (Class II, Mile 16.5)

Wave train at river right during high flows

FM 311 Bridge (Class N/A, Mile 18.0)

Not a very good access point.  Requires parking along the highway and hiking up/down a fairly steep hill to get to the river.

Mueller Falls (Class II+, Mile 19.7)

At low flows, Mueller is typical run river right, requiring a slight S-turn maneuver through the trees.  At around 700-800 cfs, the main ledge at the center of the river becomes runnable.  At higher flows, a few areas of the ledge hole can be a bit grabby.

An island creates a small Class II channel at river left that is generally unconsequential, but sometimes fallen trees can create a hazard on this channel-- always scout before running it.  The island is a popular lunch stop for day trips.

Rust Falls (Class II+, Mile 22.0)

Rust Falls is formed by a V-shaped limestone ledge.  The typical line is far river right, down a couple of stair steps that angle toward the center of the river.  At higher flows (generally 700-800 cfs and higher), a straightforward Class II sneak line opens up at river left.  The center line (V-notch) can take on more of a Class III- character, particularly at higher flows.  Water from both sides of the falls runs into the notch, creating tricky cross currents and eddy lines.  The current coming in from the right is typically stronger, so be prepared to brace on that side.  The hole formed by the notch itself is generally unconsequential.  If a kayak without a paddler flushes into it, the boat may stay there for a few seconds, but it will be flushed out quickly.  Boats with any forward momentum at all should punch right through.  Note, however, that there is at least one known incident of an inexperienced whitewater kayaker getting a playboat stuck sideways in the V-notch at low flow (300-400 cfs) as the result of a failed boof.

Unnamed Rapid (Class II, Mile 22.2)

The river splits into multiple channels around a couple of small islands.  Be extra vigilant if running the far left or right channels, as these can sometimes become blocked with fallen trees and other debris.

Rebecca Creek Crossing (Class N/A, Mile 22.5)

A new high bridge was completed in 2013, with a paved takeout area at river left on the upstream side.  You can temporarily park your vehicle here while taking out, but do not leave it here.  Instead, park it in the gravel along the downriver side of Rebecca Creek Rd. about 150 yards up the hill from the takeout.

Rebecca Creek Rapid (Class II, Mile 22.5)

Just downstream of the bridge is a Class II rapid that forms a nice wave train at higher flows (> 1000 cfs.)  This is the last rapid before the river flows into Canyon Lake.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
July 20 2004 (5256 days ago)
Earl GerloffDetails
The trip was wonderfull from Farm Road 3351 to Rebecca Creek Crossing.It was about an 8 hour trip
at 1000cfs. Some nice little sets of rapids. great for sit-on-top kayaks and some skill. Go before
2:30pm or you will be in the dark and have get around the last fall before the bridge. I wish i
could have went off it, but was to dark to see anything.
April 15 2002 (6083 days ago)
Mark BarrDetails
Paddled the Guadalupe at ~200 cfs from Guadalupe River State Park down to the takeout at the
Rebecca Creek bridge. This level is a little on the low side, and makes for some long slow
stretches that can wear out the shoulders. Still, had fun on maybe four sets of rapids. Our Keowee
III's low sides flooded us while driving over the horseshoe at Rust Falls. A good family float
river with lots of places to swim.

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