Visitors, Don’t Let Closed Boat Ramps Keep You Away from Canyon Lake

paddle board
Image courtesy of Paddle Canyon Lake.

Canyon Lake is only 57.6% full, a record low.

Unless a tropical storm or days of heavy rains drench Kerrville, upstream of the lake, there is zero chance water levels will rise enough to reopen Comal County’s nine boat ramps and alleviate overcrowding.

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

Adding to the problem is that Canyon Lake Marina has closed #19 on weekdays for the foreseeable future, and cautions boaters they use the ramp at their own risk on weekends due to ongoing construction.

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

Get Out on the Water Anyway

It is now legal to launch non-motorized watercraft like canoes and kayaks from county boat ramps #1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 22 and 23 and at the ramps operated by the Water Oriented Recreation District of Comal County (WORD), # 3, 4 and 18.

Paddle Canyon Lake reopened at Comal Park on the south side of Canyon Lake and rents stand-up paddle (SUP) boards and kayaks. Other locally owned companies also rent this equipment and deliver it to visitors at locations around the lake.

Karla Held, MyCanyonLake.com’s Outdoors editor, is a certified instructor who takes people on kayak and SUP tours of Canyon Lake and the Guadalupe River, and also offers kayak lessons and kayak demos. To learn more visit Central Texas Kayaking/Central Texas River Trips’ Facebook page.

For updates about the status of Guadalupe River tubing visit Tubing the Guadalupe River’s Facebook page.

Visit wordcc.com to learn more about rules and regulations and the new rules for swimming around boat ramps.

Parking rules will be strictly enforced. Anyone who parks in an unauthorized area could face fines of up to $500.

For a comprehensive list read this story by MyCanyonLake.com.


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

For more information about parks operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which owns Canyon Lake, click here. For more information about boat ramps operated by the county visit mycanyonlake.com or the county engineer’s website by clicking here. For information about boat ramps operated by WORD visit wordcc.com.

The Joint Base San Antonio Rec Park (JBSA) at Canyon Lake is for active duty and retired military personnel and their families. Recreational areas include Sunnyside and Hancock Cove. A Department of Defense ID is required for admission. JBSA provides live updates on its Facebook page.

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-served, day-use-only basis. Reservations are not required. The park does close at capacity, so visit the park’s Facebook page for real-time updates.

Amenities include a playground, picnic sites, community grill areas, a volleyball court, a playground, disc golf, picnic sites, a 1.2-mile walking trail, a butterfly garden, kayak and SUP rentals, 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.

For complete information visit wordcc.com.

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.

In early May WORD added a new fishing dock and floating walkway.

The two-acre Madrone Trail Pollinator Garden opened in the park in 2023. Texas master naturalists used native flora to create a 40,000-square-foot butterfly-shaped garden.

Swim beaches open and close depending on conditions. Visit wordcc.com for more information or check out the park’s Facebook page.

Boat ramp #18 is open.

The Madrone Trail is also located in the park. This rocky 7.6-mile trail winds its way through the peninsula at Canyon Park. It is a popular mountain biking trail with many rocky challenges. The trail does not have lake access.

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 wordcc.com. WORD 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.

Cool Off at Tye Preston Memorial Library

One of the best “hidden gems” in the Canyon Lake area is Tye Preston Memorial Library. The facility features a butterfly garden managed by naturalists and master gardeners, an apiary, an observatory and plenty of space to just sit and talk.

Located right across the street from Canyon Lake Gorge, the library offers air-conditioned splendor and a used bookstore managed by Friends of Tye Preston Memorial Library.

If you’re staying at an RV park for the summer, check the schedule of the library’s bookmobile.

For more information visit tpml.org.



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