Mustang Island Paddling Trail

The Mustang Island State Park Paddling Trail consists of the North Trail (8.5 miles), the Shamrock Loop Trail (5.24 miles) and the Ashum Trail (6.8 miles). All of the trails follow the western shoreline of Mustang Island in Corpus Christi Bay, and pass through some of the best shallow-water fishing areas in Texas. The Ashum Trail follows the shoreline of Corpus Christi Bay over a firm sand bottom and allows for outstanding bird watching as well as sight casting opportunities. The Shamrock Loop Trail skirts the beautiful, protected waters of Shamrock Cove, where it connects with the North Trail, which follows the shoreline to East Flats and then meanders through marsh and spoil islands to the Island Moorings Marina in Port Aransas.


Getting There

Map showing Mustang Island State Park Paddling Trail location on the coast just east of Corpus Christi

From Corpus Christi:

  1. Take State Hwy 358 southeast until it becomes Park Road P22
  2. Follow Park Road P22 across Corpus Christi Bay to Padre Island
  3. Turn left (North) onto Highway 361
  4. Follow Hwy 361 North for 5 miles to Mustang Island State Park.

From Rockport:

  1. Take Business Hwy 35 to Aransas Pass (11 miles)
  2. Turn left on Texas Hwy 361
  3. Continue on Hwy 361 over the bridge and out to the ferry, and ride the ferry to Port Aransas.
  4. Follow Hwy 361 south 13.5 miles to Mustang Island State Park.

Put-in and Take-out:

Paddlers can choose one of two primary put-ins to the paddling trails. The first is Fish Pass that is located in Mustang Island State Park. The second is Wilson's Cut that is on private property.

Access Sites

  • Wilson's Cut
    27° 44' 14.784" N, 97° 08' 15.000" W
    Wilson's Cut is on the (right) west side of Hwy 361 approximately 8.4 miles from Port Aransas Ferry dock. While the entrance road is not well marked, it is directly across from the Seagull and Sandpiper Condominiums sign. The Cut is on private property but the entrance is always open and is used by lots of fisherman. Please respect the owner's property by staying in the immediate vicinity of the put-in and remove all trash. The road is sandy and rainfall events cause large depressions in the road, so vehicles with higher clearance are recommended.
  • Fish Pass
    27° 40' 58.188" N, 97° 10' 33.060" W
    Fish Pass, located on Mustang Island State Park, is on the (right) west side of Hwy 361 approximately 13.1 miles from the Port Aransas Ferry dock. Watch for a small bridge that spans the fish pass. The entrance is immediately on your right. If you pass it, the main park entrance to Mustang Island State Park is approximately .4 miles further down the road on your left. The entrance road to Fish Pass is sandy and vehicles with higher clearances are recommended.
  • Island Moorings Marina
    Thanks to the hospitality of the Island Moorings Marina management, paddlers can use the facility to put-in. Island Mooring Marina is approximately 4 miles from the Port Aransas Ferry dock. Take Hwy 361 south from Port Aransas and watch for the Island Moorings Marina sign on your right. Turn onto Piper Blvd. and drive down to the Marina. While the marina management has generously allowed paddlers to park and put-in at their docks, you will have to carry your kayak 50 yards or so from the parking lot to the docks. Parking is normally available, but call ahead in case there are planned events and activities, or if you are bringing several cars, (361- 749-4100)

Distance from nearest major cities:

  • Dallas - 387 miles
  • San Antonio - 165 miles
  • Corpus Christi - 15 miles
  • Houston - 206 miles
  • Austin - 207

Maps

GPS coordinatesView Global Positioning System (GPS) points for Mustang Island Paddling Trail


Color line map of Mustang Island Paddling Trail. Click to view PDF.
media download(PDF 163.5 KB) This is a line map available for download.


Color Satellite map of Mustang Island Paddling Trail. Click to view PDF.
media download(PDF 195.8 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: variable
Paddling Time: variable

North Trail
The trail starts at Island Moorings Marina and meanders through several islands out to Corpus Christi Bay. It then follows the shoreline of the bay to sign #14 where it loops around through Atlantic Cut for a distance of 8.5 miles. Because it is approximately 5 miles back to the put-in, paddlers may chose to follow the Shamrock Trail and take out at Wilson's Cut. However, paddlers should park a vehicle at the take-out or plan a shuttle.
Shamrock Trail
This 5.24 miles loop trail starts at Wilson's Cut and follows the Cut out to Shamrock Cove. It then follows the shoreline to sign #12 and loops back to the put-in. Because the trail is a loop, no shuttle is required.
Ashum Trail
This 6.8-mile trail runs from Fish Pass along the shoreline of Corpus Christi Bay and enters Wilson's cut and terminates at sign #6. This trail will require a shuttle or paddlers will need to park a vehicle.

Safety

Wear your lifejacket, and take plenty of sunscreen and insect repellant. Plan you trip to make sure you have plenty of water. Watch for faster moving power boats and oyster reefs that can damage your kayak. Check the tides before you depart because some trails may not be floatable at low tides, and check the weather forecast.

Mustang Island State Park

Mustang Island State Park was opened to the public in 1979. This 4,000 acre park is bisected by Hwy 361 and has about 5 miles of beach on the Gulf of Mexico.

The island was first called "Wild Horse Island" then "Mustang Island" after the "mestenos" (wild horses) that were brought to the island by the Spaniards. The first inhabitants of the island were the Karankawa Indians who lived on the island until the 19th century.

Wildlife and Ecology

The beach area's sand dunes provide unique habitat and the park is home to wading and shore birds, mottled ducks and small mammals such as raccoons, armadillos, and rabbits. Surf and wade fishing for spotted seatrout, redfish, black drum, flounder and other species is available. The park administrative offices can be reached at 361-749-5246.

Conservation

Coastal waters and their associated bays, estuaries, and wetlands are mixing zones for fresh and saltwater. These areas not only enhance water quality by assimilating domestic waste and controlling erosion but they also provide invaluable habitat for juvenile shell and game fish (or finfish) during their early life stages. These areas also support various municipal and industrial facilities and support diverse fish and wildlife, fishing, hunting, and other recreational activities which positively affect Texas' economy. Freshwater inflows must be maintained in order to produce balanced salinity levels. Conservation of our bays and estuaries can be furthered through efforts to preserve and restore wetlands and seagrasses to reduce erosion, filter pollutants and improve water quality. Conservation of these areas ensures that the natural heritage of Texas is protected for future generations.

Respect Private Property

While many coastal paddling trails are adjacent to public lands, some are adjacent to private property. Respect private property by not trespassing or littering and keeping noise levels down. Use of private land adjacent to the water without permission of the landowner can be considered trespassing. Under Texas Penal Code (30.05), criminal trespass occurs when one enters property after receiving notice not to enter. Notice includes verbal notice, a fence, sign(s), purple paint on posts or trees, or the visible presence of crops grown for human consumption.

Paddling Trail Events

See TPWD Calendar for Paddling Events

Partnership

The department is currently looking for a local partner to help maintain the trail. If you and your organization would be interested in participating, contact Bob Spain at 512-389-4635.

Rentals & Shuttles

Capt. Sally's Rockport Outdoors

204 S. Austin St.
Rockport, Texas 78382
Phone: (361) 205-9624

Coastal Bend Kayak

Hector Rios
1125 South Commercial Street
Portland, TX 78374
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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