Spring Breakers, There’s Still Plenty to See and Do in Canyon Lake Despite Low Water Levels

Canyon Lake Gorge
Enjoy guided tours at Canyon Lake Gorge, a geological wonder carved out of the spillway beneath Canyon Lake Dam by over 34 inches of rain in 2002. The historic flood created the 64-acre gorge, exposing ancient, cretaceous limestone, fossils and even 110-million-year-old dinosaur footprints. Facebook image.

Thanks to drought, Canyon Lake is just 60% full, a record low.

Only two of Canyon Lake’s 23 boat ramps are still open, #18 and #19, creating long lines for intrepid boaters.

But there are still plenty of other sights to see and things to do around the lake.


Comal and Canyon parks are wide open for business. Despite some drought-related restrictions, they are still the best way to publicly access the lake and include lots of amenities for families.

For more information about parks operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which owns Canyon Lake, click here.

The Joint Base San Antonio Rec Park at Canyon Lake for active duty and retired military personnel and their families includes Sunnyside and Hancock Cove access with a Department of Defense ID. The park is located at 698 Jacobs Creek Park Rd. in Canyon Lake.

For more information about accommodations call 830-964-3576 or email jbsalodgingres@gmail.com.

Comal Park

Comal Park, 1178 Comal Park Rd., Canyon Lake, is a 116-acre lakefront park located on the south shore of Canyon Lake near Startzville.

This lakefront park is open March through October on a first-come, first-serve, day-use-only facility. Reservations are not required.

Amenities include a playground, picnic sites, community grill areas, a volleyball court, soccer goals and washer pits. Restrooms are available.

Entrance fees are $5 per vehicle with a Comal County registration sticker and $20 per non-Comal County registered vehicle.

Boat ramps #3 and #4 are closed to boats and jet skis but can be used to launch kayaks.

Hours of operation for Comal Park are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. Last entry is allowed at 4:30 p.m. The park closes at capacity.

Canyon Park

Canyon Park, 1769 Canyon Park Rd., Canyon Lake, is a 485-acre park located on the north shore of Canyon Lake.

Reservations are not required.

This lakefront park is currently open from March through December as a day-use-only facility. Canyon Park has picnic sites, a pea gravel-and-sand beach, and restrooms throughout the park.

Swim beaches are closed due to drought. Areas 2, 3 and 4 are open.

Recent upgrades include water-access paths, sand volleyball, soccer goals, tether balls and community grills.

Boat ramp #18 is open.

The Madrone Trail also is located in the park. This rocky 7.6-mile trail winds its way through the peninsula at Canyon Park. The trail is a popular mountain biking trail with lots of rocky challenges. There is no lake access from the trail.

Entrance fees are $5 per vehicle with a Comal County registration sticker and $20 per non-Comal County registered vehicle.

March hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. with no entry after 4 p.m.

For complete information about both parks visit WORD of Canyon Lake, which operates the two parks.

Canyon Lake Gorge Park

This geological wonder was created during one week in the summer of 2002, when more than 34 inches of rain fell in the upper watershed of the Guadalupe River, setting off a torrent of floodwater that carved the Canyon Lake Gorge out of the earth.

The historic flood sliced open the ground below Canyon Lake’s spillway, creating a gigantic 64-acre gorge and exposing ancient, cretaceous limestone, fossils and even 110-million-year-old dinosaur footprints.

It’s a textbook example highlighting Hill Country geology and the exposed Trinity Aquifer. Limestone layers created from an ancient sea are visible.

Purchase a trail pass in the Visitor Center for a scenic hike along the north rim of the gorge or take a stroll on the nature trail. Reservations are not required. Fees are $5 per person. Children under the age of 12 are free.

Last trail entry is one hour prior to closing. Hikers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Pets are not allowed.

A three-hour public tour also is available for $20 per person, a 90-minute public tour is $15 per person and private tours are $20 per person.

The gorge entrance is located off the driveway to Tye Preston Memorial Library, 16311 S. Access Rd., Canyon Lake, below Canyon Lake Dam and across from the Hidden Valley Sports Park. Once in the library’s drive visitors will take the first left and follow the gravel drive to the parking areas below the Visitors Center.

Hiking trails are open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Last trail entry is 3 p.m. Guided tours are offered Wednesday-Saturday.

For more information click here.

Heritage Museum of the Texas Hill Country

The museum, located at 4831 FM 2673 between Startzville and Sattler (Canyon Lake), features over 350 dinosaur footprints and multiple trackways under a covered pavilion that protects them from erosion.

Created approximately 110 million years ago, the footprints and trackways are part of the early Cretaceous period in the upper Glen Rose Formation.

To learn more about current activities at the museum, including Fossil Ridge Tours, visit the museum’s Facebook page.

James C. Curry Nature Center

Enjoy the beauty of the Hill Country and see native plant species and wildlife. Drinking water is available.

The nature center is located at 1889 Skyline Drive near the intersection of FM 2673 and River Rd.

The park and trail are open from sunrise to sunset.

The one-mile loop trail is considered an easy route that takes 30 minutes to complete.

For more information visit ComalTrails.org.

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