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Difficulty IV-V
Length 1.1 Miles
Gauge Mexican Creek
Flow Range 125 - 600 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 13 hours ago 0 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 06/27/2019 9:58 pm

River Description

Mexican Creek is used as a natural outflow for the Medina Lake spillway.  When the Edwards Aquifer is high, the creek can maintain a consistent spring-fed base flow for long periods of time.  When Medina Lake is above conservation pool and water flows over the spillway into Mexican Creek, the creek becomes a hard-core Class IV+/V run that should be attempted only by experienced paddlers with a bomb-proof roll.  Given the difficulty involved with accessing it and running it safely at those levels, it is highly recommended that you go with paddlers who have run it before.  Mexican Creek tends to be shallow and have few eddies, and to quote Texas Whitewater, "a swim here would be like being dragged over a cheese grater after having gone through a wash cycle-- repeatedly."  Texas Whitewater suggests being comfortable with classic IV+ runs, such as The Numbers or Five Falls of Chatooga Section IV, as prerequisites.  Refer to the book for further beta.

To determine if Mexican Creek is running, check the USGS gauge for Medina Lake.  "Texas Whitewater" suggests that 0.1' over the spillway (1064.3') corresponds to 125 cfs (low) and 0.5' over the spillway (1064.7') corresponds to 600 cfs (high.)  Beta from other paddlers suggests a lake level of 1064.4-1064.7' as a first-time level, then work up from there.  Only a handful of pro-level boaters have ever run Mexican Creek above 1065'.

The named rapids along Mexican Creek are as follows:

Chingasos (V)
Big Enchilada (IV+)
Chupacabra (IV)
El Brujo (IV)
Caphole Tumble Syndrome (IV)
Shuv-It (IV+)
Adios (IV-)

Difficulty ratings are taken from paddler beta and refer to "medium" flows of 1064.4-1064.7.  Above 1065', the creek becomes a solid V, and the hole at Adios becomes terminal.

Distances and gradient measured using GIS tools in 2017.  Total distance from the top of Chingasos to the confluence with Diversion Lake (Medina River) is 0.65 miles.  Total gradient is measured from the top of Chingasos to the bottom of Adios.  Maximum gradient is measured from the top of Chingasos to the bottom of Big Enchilada.

Access Issues

Based on historical imagery from 1913 of the first water over the spillway, it is clear that Mexican Creek was a natural canyon prior to the dam's construction, and it is believed that the section below the dam has always met the criteria for statutory navigability.  This is the primary justification for the belief that Mexican Creek is a legal run.

However, the Bexar-Medina-Atascosa Counties Water Control and Improvement District No. 1 ("BMA"), which owns the land on both sides of the creek, believes that accessing Mexican Creek constitutes trespassing, despite the fact that Medina County Sheriff Randy Brown went on record in July of 2016 saying that he does not believe that running Mexican Creek is illegal (refer to this post for the text of the relevant article from the July 14, 2016 edition of the Hondo Anvil Herald.)

In the past, boaters have been harassed by residents of Medina Ranch (a subdivision that leases land from the BMA) as they attempted to put in or take out along the CR 271 easement.  However, not only is this a legal access point, but it was the subject of the landmark Diversion Lake Club v. Heath case that, in 1935, established the right of boaters to access, from a public easement, the waters of any lake impounded from a navigable stream.  After an incident in July of 2016 in which instructors from the Olympic Outdoor Center, along with the wounded warriors they were instructing, were harassed by a resident at the CR 271 bridge, the Medina County Sheriff went on record stating that CR 271 was a legal access point but that boaters should not obstruct the bridge when putting in/taking out.

On November 14, 2016, the BMA issued a public notice in the Hondo Anvil Herald that "the area three hundred (300) feet upstream and three hundred (300) feet downsteam of BMA's Medina Dam and related appurtenances, including the spillway ... are deemed to be restricted areas and closed to entry for any and all purposes.  Any person, firm, or corporation, other than authorized individuals, found to be swimming, wading, bathing, fishing, using any type of watercraft or floating device, taking images, or conducting overflights by drones at a height of less than 400 feet shall be considered to be in violation of these rules and subject to a Class C misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, be subject to a fine not exceeding $500.00."  These rules could be construed to limit access to the upper part of the Mexican Creek run (Chingasos, specifically), but the enforceability of the rules is currently being investigated (BMA is not a law enforcement entity.)

2017 newspaper article highlighted landowner challenges to the public right to paddle Mexican Creek. Access remains sensitive, and trespassing citations have reportedly been issued in 2018 for some activity in the area. More specific details will be provided when they are available. Generally paddlers can float and make use of the banks below the midpoint between the high and low water mark in Texas, but when in doubt, ask your county sheriff's office, review your rights, and respect private property.

The following videos show, respectively, some Central Texas expert kayakers running Mexican Creek in 2007, at a level of about 1064.8', and some pro-level boaters running Mexican Creek at above 1065'.

The following videos are, respectively, helmet cam footage of Mexican Creek from June of 2016 at 1064.63' and 1065.0'.

Rapid Descriptions


Gage Descriptions

Refer to the USGS gauge for Medina Lake.  "Texas Whitewater" suggests that 0.1' over the spillway (1064.3') corresponds to 125 cfs (low) and 0.5' over the spillway (1064.7') corresponds to 600 cfs (high.)  Beta from other paddlers suggests a lake level of 1064.4-1064.7' as a first-time level, then work up from there.

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports



article main photo

County to Vote to Extend Closure on Guadalupe Tonight (TX)

Jason Robertson

The Comal County Commissioner's Court is taking measures that will restrict access to the Guadalupe River indefinitely. AW's primary objective on the Guadalupe is to restore access as soon as possible and to make sure that boater access does not impede on-going rescue and recovery efforts.

matt wealty




Skip Morris


Matt Muir


Kevin Colburn


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1194364 11/17/08 matt wealty n/a
1206560 06/04/16 DRC
1195117 05/28/09 Skip Morris
1205012 07/12/15 DRC
1202147 05/14/13 Matt Muir Fixed broken link.
1206652 06/15/16 DRC
1206614 06/08/16 DRC
1206537 06/01/16 DRC
1206540 06/01/16 DRC
1205013 07/12/15 DRC
1206536 06/01/16 DRC
1207463 04/14/17 DRC
1207461 04/14/17 DRC
1207487 04/24/17 DRC
1207856 06/30/17 DRC
1207857 06/30/17 DRC
1210291 08/27/18 Kevin Colburn Access update
1213038 06/25/19 DRC updated description
1213037 06/25/19 DRC updated description
1213039 06/25/19 DRC updated description
1213120 06/27/19 DRC updated description