Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trail

The Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trail was the very first Texas Paddling Trail and is actually a series of four loops ranging in length from 1.25 miles to 6.8 miles. The trails meander through an extensive black mangrove estuary, into sloughs and back lakes near the historic 1857 Lydia Ann Lighthouse on North Harbor Island. Paddlers can glide through mangroves and seagrass flats that provide outstanding bird watching and fishing for red drum, spotted seatrout and flounder in the maze of tidal channels and flats.


Getting There

Map showing Lighthouse Lakes location on the coast northeast of Corpus Christi

From Corpus Christi:

- Take Texas Hwy 35 toward Aransas Pass.
- Exit on Business 361 (Wheeler Ave.) to Texas Hwy 361 (follow signs to Port Aransas).
- Continue on Hwy 361 over the bridge and out the causeway to the Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trials Park on the left.

From Rockport:

- Take Business Hwy 35 to Aransas Pass (11 miles).
- Turn left on Texas Hwy 361.
- Continue on Hwy 361 over the bridge and out the causeway to the Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trials Park on the left.

Put-in and Take-out:

Crabman Marina
located on the left side of Hwy 361 approximately 4 miles from the HEB in Aransas Pass. Trail marker sign #59 is located near the put-in, but across the Aransas Channel.
GPS coordinates 27° 52' 31.224" N, 97° 5' 24.324" W.

Lighthouse Lakes Trail Park
located on the left side of Highway 361, approximately 5 miles from the HEB in Aransas Pass.
Trail marker sign #1 is located near the put-in but across the channel.
GPS coordinates 27° 51' 43.775" N, 97° 4' 33.204" W.

Distance from nearest major cities:

  • Corpus Christi - 28 miles
  • San Antonio - 153 miles
  • Harlingen - 156 miles
  • Houston - 193 miles
  • Austin - 194 miles
  • Dallas - 374

Maps

GPS coordinatesView Global Positioning System (GPS) points for Lighthouse Lakes


Road Map to Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trail – Click to view PDF
media download(PDF 3 MB).

 


Color Satellite map of Lighthouse Lakes. Click to view PDF
media download(PDF 94.4 KB). This map is also available in a durable laminated version from select retailers. To get a list of these retailers contact Shoreline Publishing at 713-973-1627.


Trail Description and Landmarks

Trail Length: The trail complex is made up of four trails ranging in length from 1.25 to 6.8 miles.
Paddling Time: 45 minutes to 3 hours depending upon the trail

The Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trail was the first Texas Paddling Trail, mapped in 1999. From a city-maintained park on the north side of the Texas Hwy 361 causeway, paddlers can access the five-mile Cutters Loop (marker 60), the 6.7-mile South Bay Loop (marker 59) and 6.8-mile Redfish Loop (marker 1). A 1.25-mile trail, the Electric Lake Loop, branches off of the Redfish Loop between markers 3 and 6.

The Lighthouse Lakes trails are unique among coastal paddling trails in that kayakers (because of the strong, prevailing southeasterly winds, canoes are not recommended) paddle through a seeming maze of head-high black mangroves that line the channels (locally called “sloughs”) and open flats (“lakes”). The lighthouse from which the trails take their name figured in the Civil War, and its original Fresnel lens still lies buried somewhere in the surrounding marsh.

Safety

Paddlers should be mindful of commercial and recreational boat traffic when crossing the Aransas (or “Shrimp Boat”) Channel between the park put-in and the trails. All traffic transiting the channel has right-of-way over kayaks crossing the channel. A Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trail photomap is extremely useful, as is a hand-held GPS, as it is easy to become disoriented and even lost in the maze of mangrove-lined channels. As always, carry required safety equipment and plenty of water, sunscreen and insect repellent.

Fishing

Anglers will enjoy fishing for spotted seatrout, red drum and flounder in the twisting channels and wide-open lakes here. Sight-casting to “tailing” redfish is a favorite pastime.

Wildlife and Ecology

The Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trail is part of Redfish Bay, a minor bay straddling Aransas and Corpus Christi Bays. Nearly all of the 50-square-mile-bay – including the paddling trail – falls within the boundaries of the Redfish Bay State Scientific Area, and a special regulation that went into effect May 1, 2006, protects seagrasses from being uprooted or destroyed here. All five species of seagrasses found in Texas are present in the area and comprise some 14,000 acres of high-quality nursery and forage habitat for fish, shrimp, crabs and other marine life.

While most of the frequently encountered wildlife in this area is marine or avian, feral hogs, raccoons, deer, coyotes and several species of reptiles (including horned lizards, western diamondback rattlesnakes, desert king snakes and Gulf salt marsh snakes) inhabit the islands in Redfish Bay.

Paddling Trail Events

See TPWD Calendar for Paddling Events

Partnership

The Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trail is maintained in partnership with the City of Aransas Pass, Texas. City of Aransas Pass: 361-758-3111, www.aransaspasstx.gov.

Rentals & Shuttles

Coastal Bend Kayak

Hector Rios
1125 South Commercial Street
Aransas Pass, TX 78336
Phone: (361) 557-7003
http://www.coastalbendkayaking.com

Offshore Adventures

Mary Ann Heimann
Crabman Marina Hwy 361
Aransas Pass, TX 78336
Phone: (361) 758-6900
http://www.portaransasadventures.com

Slow Ride Guide Service

Dean and Jennifer Thomas
821 S. Commercial St
Aransas Pass, Texas 78336
Phone: (361) 758-0463, Toll Free: (866) 856-9477
http://www.slowrideguide.com

Austin Canoe and Kayak

Rent kayaks, canoes, and standup paddleboards by the day to take anywhere you want, when you want. Locations in Austin, Houston and the San Marcos/New Braunfels area. For more information, visit http://www.austinkayak.com/rentals

REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.)

Rent kayaks, canoes, paddles, and PFDs (personal flotation devices) 7 days a week at your nearest REI co-op.
For the closest Texas store, visit http://www.rei.com/FindStores?state=TX&radius=900

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