Comal, Texas, US
|Usual Difficulty||I-II (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||10 fpm|
|Max Gradient||10 fpm|
|Comal Rv at New Braunfels, TX|
|usgs-08169000||200 - 550 cfs||I-II||00h38m||286 cfs (running)|
In the summer, the Comal River is usually packed with tubers (especially if the nearby Guadalupe River is too low or too high for tubing), but in the winter, the Comal is a decent run for beginners if nothing else is running. Because it is spring-fed, it maintains generally between 150-300 cfs of flow year-round and is usually crystal-clear.
The only features on the Comal are three dams (one significant dam and two low-head dams-- see descriptions below.)
Paddlers will often ride the Comal out into the Lower Guadalupe and take out at the public boat ramp under I-35. This makes the total trip 2.5 miles instead of 1.25. If you choose to do this, however, please be aware of the large dam at Milltown, right above the Faust St. bridge. If the Guadalupe is running at full release (5000 cfs, and possibly at lower flows as well), that dam is potentially deadly. At lower levels, it can be run at river right.
Above Prince Solms Park, you can paddle 1/2 mile upstream into what used to be the Dry Comal Creek channel, all the way to the Wurstfest fairgrounds. Adjacent to the fairgrounds is "Landa Falls", part of a hydroelectric bypass channel that routes a good portion of the water from Comal Springs into Dry Comal Creek. The rest of the flow goes down the "traditional" Comal River channel, past the old section of Der Schlitterbahn, before confluencing at Prince Solms Park.
Distances measured using GIS tools in 2015. Gradient estimated (not verified.)
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|0.1||Clemens Dam / Tube Chute||II+|
|0.2||San Antonio St. Dam||II|
The first and tallest of the three dams on the Comal is located just below Prince Solms Park. This dam is not runnable, but a narrow, steep concrete tube chute at river right offers a momentary thrill for paddlers. Because the chute re-enters the river at a 90-degree angle, it creates some interesting whirlpools and eddies below the dam. A lifeguard is generally stationed there between May and September during tubing hours, and "hard boats" are not allowed down the chute at those times (meaning that boaters will have to portage.)
This low-head dam, just above San Antonio St., has very little to offer paddlers. It has a tube bypass at river left, but the dam itself is generally runnable as well.
This low-head dam, located adjacent to the new section of Der Schlitterbahn (water park), forms a small wave train at river left.