Hidalgo Falls is a unique spot in East Texas, mainly because it has rapids! It also has an interesting history, including mastodon bones found just downstream, and that it was used as a river crossing by Stephen F. Austin and the "original 300" anglo settlers in Texas. Six miles downstream is Washington-on-the-Brazos, where Texas declared it's independence from Mexico.
Thanks to the generosity of local paddlers and paddling clubs, the Texas Rivers Protection Association (TRPA) owns 14 acres at Hidalgo Falls, including about 4 acres fronting the middle and lower rapids. Access is through a locked gate, and you must have the combination in order to enter. To see how to get the combination, and for more information about Hidalgo Falls, refer to the Hidalgo Falls web site. From that web site, you can also get information about the Hidalgo Falls Festival held every April.
See the 'Flow Info' tab for more details on features at this play spot.
Distance and gradient measured using GIS tools in 2015.
The Slide, located at the far upstream side of the TRPA property, is the usual access point for Hidalgo. It is a fast dirt slide from the top of the river bank down to the river. During the summer, the overhanging brush and trees make it look like a tunnel to the river. At the bottom is a 3-4' drop almost straight down, so lean back to avoid penciling in. The Slide is the only way to access the upper right rapids, including the Rodeo Hole (which would otherwise require an upstream slog through the mud at river right.)
IMPORTANT UPDATE - The Slide caused 2 serious injuries in 2005 when paddlers pitoned at high speed into concrete sacks at the bottom. The concrete sacks have been removed, but it is still a good idea to use the rope to lower yourself down and to probe the landing area before sliding.
This does not refer to one specific rapid or area, but rather it is about a river-wide issue at Hidalgo. The rocks that form the rapids at Hidalgo Falls are sandstone, and the force of the river is constantly reshaping them. This has resulted in numerous potholes all over the riverbed. They vary greatly in size; some are the size of cans, but others are big enough to form large whirlpools.
If you swim at Hidalgo Falls, KEEP YOUR FEET UP AND DOWNSTREAM UNTIL YOU REACH THE BOTTOM, DEEP CHANNEL OR AN EDDY!! There are no known incidents of foot entrapments at Hidalgo yet, but that danger is definitely there. Be careful and swim smart!
This gauge is 50 miles upstream, so it takes about 18 hours for the water to arrive at Hidalgo Falls.
Permits are not required for this reach.
Hidalgo Falls is located about five miles west of Navasota. It is a little more than an hour's drive from Houston (depending on where in Houston one starts) and about a half hour's drive south of College Station.From Houston: take US 290 west to Hempstead, then SH 6 north to Navasota. As you are coming into Navasota, take Business 6 (left exit) into downtown Navasota and turn left (west) on SH 105. (If you live north of Houston, you can get to Navasota by taking SH 105 west from Conroe.) Go 3.5 miles west on SH 105. Immediately after you cross the Navasota River, but before you cross the Brazos River, turn right (north) on FM 159 and go 3.2 miles (past the cotton gin on the right.) As the road bends to the left, you will see a gravel road coming in from the right and crossing the railroad tracks (White Switch Rd.) At that point, turn LEFT onto the dirt road (Camp Road, small road sign) in the middle of the corn field and go 1/2 mile to the tall chain-link gated fence that marks the property.From Austin: go to Brenham on US 290 east and take SH 105 east toward Navasota. Immediately after crossing the Brazos River, turn left (north) onto FM 159 and follow the remaining instructions above.From College Station: either take Wellborn Rd. (FM 2154) south to Millican and turn right on FM 159, or take SH 6 south and turn right on FM 159. Drive 10 or so miles through Allenfarm and down through the farmland. As the road swings back toward the train tracks you crossed in Allenfarm, start looking for the cotton gin (large white building) in the distance on the left side of the road. When you can see the gin (but before you get to it), look for White Switch Rd. crossing the RR tracks on the left. Imagine that White Switch Rd. continues to the right into the cotton fields and turn onto it (right.) Go 1/2 mile on the dirt road (marked with the Camp Road sign) to the gate.
Surfing the Friendly Hole
Working at Hidalgo
The Slide backwards
Squirt Eddy Line
Surfing "18' Wave" at Hidalgo
Hidalgo Festival Rodeo
Slalom Race at Hidalgo Festival
Hidalgo Property Map
Surfing at Hidalgo
High Water at Hidalgo Falls
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