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All USACE Parks Now Open for the Summer Season

A handy list of area parks, trails and amenities

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All USACE Parks Now Open for the Summer Season

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Amenities at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers parks include campgrounds, beaches, picnic areas, boat ramps and opportunities for shoreline fishing.

All U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) are now open for the summer season.

General Information

To make reservations or check on availability of campsites visit Recreation.Gov.

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

Comal Park is now leased to the Water Oriented Recreation District of Comal County (WORD) and is no longer operated by USACE. There is a $10 fee per vehicle. Locals pay only $5. Click here for more information about recent upgrades.

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, 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. This area is no longer managed by USACE.

Please note sometimes boat ramps can be open while docks are closed. Docks associated with a ramp often close before the ramp.

Cranes Mill and Potters Creek fishing piers are open.

Quintessential Canyon Lake

OPEN 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 and walking. 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.

Visitors can walk the service road atop Canyon Dam. A restroom is located 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. USACE says the park is a scenic area that was designed for visitors to enjoy the view — not spend the entire day, due to limited parking.

The Corps strongly urges to wear life jackets when visiting this end of the lake — but to swim elsewhere. Overlook Park is not a designated swimming area due to hidden hazards like elevation drops and rip currents.

Ceremony spot has six benches.

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

The USACE’s office is located here, and is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding federal holidys. Free.

Potters Creek Park

OPEN YEAR ROUND  Located on the northern shore 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. Cool breezes off the lake create a pleasant environment for relaxing in this scenic area. The lake and the Guadalupe River also provide great opportunities for boating, swimming and fishing.

Loop 1 and Loop 2 are closed indefinitely due to a complete failure of the septic system.

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.

Parts of the park are open all year, with closures based on utilization.

Canyon Park

Canyon Park has reopened and is now operated by the Water Oriented Recreation District of Comal County (WORD). Visit WORDCC.com or click here for more information.

Canyon Beach Park

CLOSED, reopens April 1. 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. The beach is open on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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

USACE does not operate this park. Call 830-964-3576 for more information.

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.

Cranes Mill Park

PARTIALLY OPENED to guests. Reopens on April1. Only one loop operates in the winter months of October to the end of March. The rest are closed for the fall/winter season. Cranes Mill Park is located on a long peninsula on the southwestern shore of Canyon Lake. Dramatic sunrises to the east of the park across Canyon Lake and beautiful sunsets on the western side of the park behind the Guadalupe River. Camping sites are $30 per night. Tent section closes during winter months. Ramp 10 is open to the public during the week only. Park closes to the public on weekends due to park capacity.

Guadalupe Park

FULLY OPEN 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 alone 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. Potable restrooms are only available 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 operation of its Comal County Hidden Valley Sports Complex.

North Park

CLOSED, reopens on April 2. 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.

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. Facilities are managed by the Water Oriented Recreation District of Comal County (WORD).

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

FULLY OPEN 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 and hikers. The trail is not designed for 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

FULLY OPEN 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.

About Canyon Lake

Canyon Lake is located about 16 miles northwest of New Braunfels between San Antonio and Austin. In the early part of the 19th century the lower Guadalupe River Basin, below the current location of Canyon Lake, was subject to serious flooding. In the 1940s, the U.S. Congress authorized the construction of Canyon Lake Dam. Work began in 1958 and was completed in 1964. The lake reached conservation pool by 1968. Canyon Lake’s scenic blue water is due to its limestone bottom. The lake averages around 40 feet in depth but in some spots is as deep as 130 feet.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Billy Earl Herrington March 23, 2021

    I think it is criminal that the Corps of Engineers cannot operate these parks efficiently and in a cost effective manner. The park near Hancock has been closed for many years. This is a huge park with amazing facilities that have fallen into disrepair. Though the public is allowed to access a trail through this park, apparently wandering off trail and sitting at one of the many abandoned picnic tables on the shore is prohibited by some fat, alcoholic looking, RV lining piece of crap who rides around (too fat and lazy to walk) enforcing ridiculous rules put in place by others who are equally stupid. Turn these parks over to someone who can run them. The people deserve to have access to these facilities for which they have already paid. If you are in a position to look into this, it would be appreciated.

    Reply
  2. Larry Wenzel March 17, 2021

    There are no Madrone trees on the madrone trail. There used to be one tree (long dead) at an apex area. The trail is otherwise as stated.

    Reply

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