Brazos, Texas, US
|Usual Difficulty||II+ (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||60 fpm|
|Brazos Rv at SH 21 nr Bryan, TX|
|usgs-08108700||11.00 - 23.50 ft||II+||00h36m||8.47 ft (too low)|
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.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
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!