Which Boat Ramps Are Best … and Why (and where to fish & swim)
Trying to decide on a boat ramp, find a spot to fish or swim?
MyCanyonLake.com asked U.S.Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Natural Resource Specialist Samuell Price, a biologist with years of experience at Canyon Lake, for his insight into all boats ramps and fishing spots, including those managed by the Water Oriented Recreation District of Comal County (WORD) on behalf of the county.
(If you are military, visit Joint Base San Antonio Canyon Lake’s Facebook page for daily updates about their facilities.)
Price knows Canyon Lake inside and out.
His responsibilities include:
- Overseeing the cleaning and repair of parks, daily maintenance. Managing the logistics of purchasing, arranging for tools and gear.
- Hiring volunteers to work at the park in exchange for a six-month campsite that includes water, electricity and some hookups. All campgrounds have a sewer dump station for RVs.
- Working with area residents who volunteer because of their commitment to keeping parks clean and functional.
- Managing recreation in the parks and interacting with guests.
- Checking with gate attendants, contractors, law enforcement and EMTs to make sure everybody has a safe experience in the park.
- Installing and maintaining signs that keep people safe in the water and wearing life jackets. Signage includes posters, billboards and paintings on boat ramps.
- Utilizing his biology expertise to look for anything out of the norm such as invasive species that come into the lake. Uninvited guests include zebra mussels and occasional aquatic plants.
- Planning interpretive educational programs for schools, families and anyone else who requests them. Popular topics include a history of the dam, history of the area, area biology. “I’ve pretty much taught any topic you can think of.”
- “This is just the tip of the iceberg!”
For daily updates about the status of all boat ramps — which open or closed based on the level of water in Canyon Lake — click here. For more information about USACE’s ramps, click here. For information about ramps operated by WORD, visit wordcc.com.
This story reflects Price’s general observations and does not include specific information about lake levels, locations, fees and hours of operation. It’s intended to give recreationalists a better idea about what to expect at boat ramps.
Good to know: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has its own system for numbering boat ramps that differs from USACE’s. USACE manages crowd control on its ramps by closing their gates when traffic is too heavy.
These are Price’s general observations only. This story will be updated as additional information from other sources becomes available.
- Try Ramp 11, which sits on the Guadalupe River on the northside of Canyon Lake in what’s called both Rebecca Creek and Cypress Cove. Parking is limited. This is a site favored by locals. Great place to fish for white bass.
- Cranes Mill Park includes the very popular Crappie Dock, also a great spot to watch sunsets.
- Ramp 17 has good shoreline access. Popular with locals.
- Many like to fish in the river below Canyon Dam along the Guadalupe Trail.
- Ramp 21 has a fishing pier that’s sponsored by WORD.
- Walk right down to the water and fish at Overlook Park.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers advises visitors to avoid swimming at Overlook Park, which has steep drop-offs. To learn more about water safety, click here. Lake Manager Javier Perez Ortiz suggests swimming at Canyon Park Beach or Potters Creek Park (for registered guests only).
Comal Park is operated by Water Oriented Recreation District of Comal County. To learn more about its beach, visit wordcc.com.
By order of Comal County Judge Sherman Krause, loitering, swimming and fishing is prohibited at boat ramps. They are for launching boats and other watercraft like kayaks only.
Has a very small parking lot. It’s a steep ramp with just one lane. The water is deep and it has a dock. Gets very crowded very quickly in the summer. Open 24 hours. Free.
Located in Turkey Cove, this ramp has approximately 20 parking space and an easy-access, single-lane ramp with a dropoff at the end. Be careful when backing down. The cove has no trees near the ramp, making it easy to safely back out. Boaters always want to know if a ramp has trees around it. Ramp has a dock, which makes it easier for families with children, lots of gear and elderly visitors to use. Open 24 hours. Free.
#3 is very shallow and closes earlier than other ramps do when lake levels are low. Open from 7 a.m. to sunset. Free.
#4 is deeper. Open from 7 a.m. to sunset. Free.
Both are good ramps to launch from. They’re wide, with plenty of space for maneuvering. Lots of parking spots. Both ramps have docks.
Very shallow water, which makes it difficult to launch deeper boats. Plenty of parking. Closes quickly when water levels drop. Gentle slope. Open 24 hours. Free.
Ramps #6, #7 and #8
All about the same. Steeper ramps, smaller parking lots but with deep enough water for most boats to launch. Very busy in the summer. All open 24 hours. Free.
Privately owned by a marina. It’s a very short and narrow ramp. When water levels are low, it’s not easy to launch from. Call Cranes Mill Marina for hours.
Ramp with a dock, which makes it popular with boaters who have elderly family members of young children. They don’t have to get their feet wet to get into the boat. Easy to load gear. Two lanes, plenty of parking with easy access to the mouth of the river. Open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. $3.
Sits in a neighborhood with limited parking. It’s a steep ramp that sits on a shallow branch of the Guadalupe River on the northside of the lake. Free but no dock, very popular with locals. Parking is limited. Known as both Rebecca Creek and Cypress Cove, located off Eagle Pass and FM 306. Open 24 hours. Free.
Managed by the Lake Canyon Yacht Club. Member access only.
Managed by Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA) and is strictly for use by military personnel. Shallow and hard to launch from. Call for hours of operation.
Public access, inside Jacob’s Creek Park, managed by JBSA. Sits right next to #15. Call for hours of operation.
Public access, inside Jacob’s Creek Park, managed by JBSA. Sits right next to #14. Call for hours of operation.
Managed by JBSA for exclusive use by military personnel. Shallow and difficult to launch from. Call for hours of operation.
Also known as Little Jacob’s Creek. Open 24/7. Plenty of parking, restrooms, picnic tables and a loading dock for boats. Not inside a park. It’s a street ramp. Open 24 hours. Free.
Located inside Canyon Park. Has three lanes, a dock, plenty of parking but only available when the campground is open. To use this site you must rent a campsite from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Managed by Canyon Lake Marina. Steep ramp. Call marina for hours of operation.
Ramps #20 and #21
Both inside Potters Creek Park. Both have docks and are easy to access by boats. Plenty of parking. #20 is exclusive to park guests. #21 is open to the public.
Steep boat ramp, limited parking, no restrooms and no dock. Open 24 hours. Free.
Plenty of parking. It’s a very good ramp with a deep spot for boating once off the ramp. Not shallow, no trees and no rocks. Open 24 hours. Free.