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Happy 16th Birthday, Gorge

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Justin Moore, YouTube.com

Sixteen years ago today, torrential rains raised Canyon Lake’s level to 950 ft/msl, causing it to crest over a spillway engineered to handle only up to 948 feet/msl.

Happy birthday, Canyon Lake Gorge!

For around six long weeks in 2002, more than 34 inches of rain fell into the upper watershed of the Guadalupe River, sending up to 67,000 cubic feet of water-per-second flowing over the spillway, carving out one of the most-riveting natural wonders in the Canyon Lake area.

Exposed for the first time was 100-million-years’ worth of Glen Rose Limestone, created during the Cretaceous Era.

Book a tour with Canyon Lake Gorge Society, tours@canyongorge.org, or visit canyongorge.org to see Mother Nature’s handiwork for yourself. Tours are by reservation only.

About the Gorge

Approximately one mile long, hundreds of yards wide and up to 50 feet deep, the land below the Canyon Lake Spillway features:

  • dramatic vistas
  • Hidden Valley Fault (within Balcones Fault Zone)
  • geologic formations
  • beautiful lagoons and waterfalls
  • Trinity Aquifer
  • biologic succession
  • numerous seeps and springs
  • 110 million-year-old dinosaur tracks
  • extensive marine fossil diversity
  • hydraulic dynamics of Glen Rose Limestone

Tours highlight the Power of Water theme to increase visitors’ appreciation of:

  • Canyon Reservoir Project and Canyon Lake Gorge through partnership efforts between Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Gorge Preservation Society
  • geology of Central Texas
  • hydrogeology, especially the interconnectedness of groundwater and surface water
  • interrelationship between humans and the physical environment
  • process of biologic succession and common plants and animals found in natural communities of the gorge
  • appreciation of and respect for natural environment.

To learn more about how the flood and subsequent rapid formation of the Gorge created a unique way to understand geological history and study the geomorphical power of rapidly moving water and the process of canyon formation, click here.

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