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My Canyon Lake Things To Do

Canyon Lake: A User’s Guide

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Image courtesy of Mavic Pro, YouTube.

Make the most of the great outdoors with the help of this handy list of area parks, trails and amenities. Some parks are operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and others by Comal County.

USACE operates seven major parks on the shores of Canyon Lake as well as a JBSA Recreation Park for active duty military personnel and DOD cardholders.

Click here for more information on all USACE-operated parks.

Although some are open year-round, many are closed through the winter and reopen in April.

Amenities include campgrounds, beaches, picnic areas, boat ramps and opportunities for shoreline fishing.

Quintessential Canyon Lake

Overlook Park, 601 Coe Rd., a day-use park, features spectacular view of the dam and Canyon Lake. It’s widely considered one of the best places in the area for lake views, fishing, seeing wildlife, hiking/walking and swimming. The park is situated on a hilltop at the south end of Canyon Dam and also serves as the location of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers headquarters. The park definitely lives up to its name.

The walkway across Canyon Dam is still closed for modifications that will make it easir for individuals with disabilities to access. It is expected to open sometime in mid-June.

Visitors to Overlook Park can easily access the Verada Real walking trail across from Canyon Dam.

There is restroom at the top of the hill and visitor parking is available. There are no camping or picnic facilities but you are welcome to hike and picnic.

Ceremony spot has six benches.

Bird species at the park include osprey, raptors, waterfowl, sparrows, wrens and migrating warblers.

The office for visitor information is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding Federal Holidays. Free.

For more information contact USACE’s Canyon Lake Ofice at 830-964-3341.

Other Parks

There’s an entrance and/or boat ramp fee at most parks. Information about camping fees and facilities can be found on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers park page and on Texas Parks and Wildlife site.

Click here to find specific information about Rebecca Creek, Potters Creek West, Potters Creek, County Ramp 23, Cranes Mill, Cranes Mill Marina, Tom Creek 2, Tom Creek 1, Comal Park 1, Comal Park 2, Canyon Park, Jacob’s Creek 1, Jacob’s Creek North, Turkey Cove, Skyline/Canyon Dam.

The 250-acre JBSA Recreation Park at Canyon Lake is open to all DOD card carriers and active-duty military personnel. For more information, click here.

Canyon Beach Park

Located on the east side of Canyon Park near the park entrance is Canyon Park Beach. This day-use-only park is open from April through September. Facilities include picnic tables, closable grills, a swim beach, vault toilets, and a water fountain. A fee is assessed for use of this facility.

Canyon Park

Open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily April through September, this 485-acre fee-based park offers tent-camping opportunities as well as a beach where day use is allowed.

The park offers a primitive campground with 155 campsites, two overnight shelters, one day-use shelter, a boat ramp and courtesy dock, vault toilets, water fountains and over eight miles of hiking and biking trails.

The park does not include shower facilities. A number of additional campsites have been abandoned or closed.

Comal Park

Located on the south shore of Canyon Lake near Startzville, this 116-acre park is only open from 8 a.m. to sunset April through September. On arrival, visitors should check-in at the park entrance station and ask the attendant for the official time of park closure for that day. Pets are allowed in park on a leash, but no pet is allowed in the swim beach area. This includes the shore and water.

The park features two boat ramps, 55 picnic sites, a large swim beach, children’s playground, and a restroom at the beach. A fee is assessed for use of this facility.

  • On the south side of the lake in Comal Park. From FM 2673 in Startzville, take Canyon Bend Road north into Comal Park.
  • Two lane concrete ramp with a maximum parking capacity of 16
  • Fee required
  • Open March 1 – September 30
  • Operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers (830) 964-3341

County Ramp 23

Located on the north side of the lake off FM 306. Turn south on Cranes Mill Road and follow until road ends at the lake. Three-lane concrete ramp with parking for 40 vehicles and 30 trailers.

No fee required. Open all year. Operated by Comal County

Cranes Mill Park

With 30 modern RV and 34 camping tent sites, this park is located on the southwest shore of Canyon Lake at the end of FM 2673 just past the town of Starzville. Other amenities include three restrooms, boat ramp, boat dock, two fishing piers and water and electricity at most sites. No RVs or pull-behind trailers are allowed in the beach area.

Guadalupe Park

This 18-acre day-use-only park is free-of-charge and open daily from sunrise to sunset year-round.

Located below Canyon Dam along the first mile of the Guadalupe River, the park features an ADA-accessible parking lot and trailway with a fishing pier near the dam and adjacent to the GBRA hydroelectric plan tailrace.

A foot trail is available along the right bank of the river. The river can be accessed from the trails for fishing.

The Guadalupe River below Canyon Dam is the southern-most sustainable trout fishery in the nation. It’s a popular place for trout fishing.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) monitors the trout population and releases rainbow trout in the river annually.

The park does not have camping or picnic facilities. Portable restrooms are available only occasionally. The nearest restroom facility is located at the nearby Overlook Park.

Comal County has leased a 68-acre portion that was formerly Guadalupe Park from USACE for the operation of its Comal County Hidden Valley Sports Complex.

Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority (GBRA) manages a hydropower plant along the north side of the river near the fishing pier. This stretch of the Guadalupe river is very popular as the state’s premier trout fishing stream.

The Guadalupe River is the Southernmost sustainable trout fishery in the nation.

 Jacob’s Creek Park 1

This park is located on the north side of the lake about two miles west of Canyon City. From FM 306, turn left at the sign for Jacob’s Creek Park. Follow road into the park and watch for boat ramp on the right at the end of the road. Amenities include

  • Four-lane concrete ramp with a maximum parking capacity of 45
  • Fee required
  • Open all year
  • Operated by Randolph Recreation Area (830) 226-5465

Jacob’s Creek Park, North Ramp

Located on the north side of the lake about two miles west of Canyon City. From FM 306, turn left at the Jacob’s Creek Park sign and then turn immediately right at Sunchaser Marine. Follow road and take the first left to ramp. Amenities include:

  • Two-lane concrete ramp with a maximum parking capacity of 55
  • No fee required
  • Open all year
  • Operated by the US Army Corps of Engineers (830) 964-3341

Joint Base San Antonio Canyon Lake Recreation Area (includes Jacobs Creek Park)

This 258-acre park is located on the north side of the reservoir. The terrain varies from flat to steep, with sparse tree cover on the southern portion. Oak and junipers are dense on the northern portion.

The area is now three separately permitted areas, all operated by JBSA. Part of this area is operated under a permit agreement between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and JBSA. This joint-based facility includes specific areas managed by Fort Sam Houston and Randolph Air Force Base for the exclusive benefit of the military and U.S. Department of Defense employees.

JBSA also operates Jacobs Creek Park as a day-use area open to general public use.

The two areas managed for military members and defense department employees are open year-round and feature 216 total campsites. Forty-one of these sites have electrical and water hookups and 175 are without electricity and water. There also are 30 group campsites, two group picnic shelters and several cabins.

Two marinas offer 130 dry storage slides, 123 wet slips, fishing piers and boat rentals.

JBSA also features four boat ramps, a nature trail and swim beaches.

Reservation policy:

  • Active duty can book up to 180 days out, DOD, Reserves, Retirees can book up to 90 days out.
  • Weekends and Holidays are a two-night minimum. No exceptions.
  • To make a reservation you have to have a current DOD ID card. JBSA does not accept the VA card or Contractor CAC ID.
  • One DOD Sponsor can sponsor up to 10 Non DOD guests, including children. ID Card holder must be 18-years-old and out of high school to rent a unit or sponsor anyone in the park.
  • Reservation is from 3 p.m. check in time to 11a.m. on check out date.
  • One lodging unit per ID card holder. One per household on federal holidays.
  • All fees will be charged morning of check-in. Reservations are confirmed only after payment is processed.
  • For any big group reservations needing more than 3 lodging units, group tent camping or special requests for your group please email the lodging/office manager at Porshe.devol@us.af.mil.
  • Cancellation Policy for Lodging, RV and Pavilions/Group areas: Up to 48 hrs. prior to reservation, no charge;  24-48 hours prior to reservation, $15; within 24-hours of reservation, one-night  charge; no show, entire amount.

North Park

This 51-acre tent-camping-only facility is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from April through September. It’s a popular area for scuba diving.

Located on the north side of Canyon Lake Dam on North Park Road, it includes 19 campsites and vault toilets.

Each campsite includes a picnic table and a fire rings.

Potable water is available but there are no RV hookups, showers or boat ramps at this park.

A fee is assessed for use of this facility.

Potter’s Creek Park

Located on the northwest side of Canyon Lake, this 303-acre fee-based camping park includes 132 modern RV sites, seven screened shelters, 10 designated tent camping sites and five family sites.

Amenities include one large pavilion, five shower houses with restrooms, a large beach, and boat ramps.

A fishing dock is located at the outside boat ramp.

Tom Creek 1

The park’s located on the south side of the lake. From FM 2673 in Startzville take Canyon Park Road north. At fork in road take Skyview to the right. Take a right at Canyon Park Road, which turns into Lake Forest, which will take you to the ramp. Amenities include:

  • Two-lane concrete ramp with a maximum parking capacity of 16
  • No fee required
  • Open all year
  • Operated by Comal County

Tom Creek 2

Parts of the park are open all year, with closures based on utilization. It’s located the south side of the lake in Tom Creek. Take FM 2673 west from Startzville to Oblate Road. Turn right on Oblate into Erlins Glen housing development. Turn right on Live Oak, right on Robinhood, and left on Canyon Lake. Watch to the right for ramp. Amenities include:

  • Two-lane ramp with a maximum parking capacity of 13
  • No fee required
  • Open all year
  • Operated by Comal County

Turkey Cove

Park is located on the south side of the lake. From FM 2673, one mile east of the junction with FM 2722, take Sia Road north into the Canyon Lake Village West subdivision. Turn right on Connie, then left on Colleen. Stay on Colleen as if turns to right, follow to ramp. Amenities and information:

  • One-lane concrete ramp with a maximum parking capacity of 25
  • No fee required
  • Open all year
  • Operated by Comal County

Skyline Park/Canyon Dam

The park is located at the south of the dam off FM 2673, west of Sattler. Take Buck Road north from 2673 into Triple Peak Ranch Estates housing development. Amenities:

  • Two-lane concrete ramp with a maximum parking capacity of 17
  • No fee required
  • Open all year
  • Operated by Comal County

On the Water

Lake Canyon Yacht Club

This four-acre lease of water surface is adjacent to JBSA Sunny Side. Originally leased in 1968, it features 18 acres of land on a bluff overlooking the lake.

This is a private recreation lease open to members only.

Canyon Lake Marina

Leased to and operated by Suntex Marina, Canyon Lake Marina is located on the west side of Canyon Park and provides 450 wet slips, 53 dry storage units, ship stores, fuel docks, a comprehensive service center, boat rentals and a restaurant.

This lease consists of 18 acres of land and 13 acres of water.

Cranes Mill Marina

Also leased and operated by Suntex Marina, Cranes Mill Marina is located near Cranes Mill Park and features 250 wet slips, dry storage units, ship stores, fuel docks, a comprehensive service center and boat rentals.

This lease consists of nine acres of land and five acres of water.

Comal County Hidden Valley Sports Complex CRRC

Comal County has an outgrant lease for 68 acres for the area once part of Guadalupe Park. To locals, it’s now the CRRC.

This sports complex has approximately 75 acres that include a recreation center, nine soccer fields, six baseball fields, two football fields, an outdoor basketball court and softball complex, and a community pavilion.

Trails

Canyon Lake boasts three different trails for hiking, biking and equestrians.

Hancock Horse Trail

This multi-purpose trail, operated by USACE, is 3.5-miles long one way and runs along the north shoreline of Canyon Lake.

It can be used by horseback riders, hikers and cyclists.

Trailhead is located at the end of Old Hancock Road just off FM 306 and terminates near a group pavilion at Canyon Park.

The trail runs from open plains near the shore to wooded coves along the north shore. Several park-style benches are placed near the water’s edge.

Note: Proof of a ‘Negative Coggins Test’ is required for equestrian use of this trail.

Madrone Trail

This hiking and cycling trail, operated by USACE, is over eight-miles-long, roundtrip, with connecting loops.

Trailhead parking is located on Canyon Park Road approximately one mile off FM 306.

The first two miles of the trail feature madrone trees for which the trail is named. Its breathtaking vistas can be enjoyed by all levels of hikers.

The majority of the trail’s rocky terrain runs beneath a tree canopy and varies from flat to steep on a few climbs.

During the spring, wildflowers bloom profusely. Wildlife is abundant.

The trail is rated as intermediate to advanced for mountain bikes. Drops, ledges, tight turns, narrow paths and other natural obstacles make the trail technically challenging to most riders.

Guadalupe River Trail

This trail is 0.9 miles long. The trailhead is located at the base of Canyon Dam at the far end of the southern-most parking area.

It features a scenic walk along the bald cypress-lined banks of the Guadalupe River. Many of the trees along this trail are thought to be over 100-years-old.

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