Bridgeport Falls Paddling Trail

Bridgeport Falls Paddling Trail
All photos: Bridgeport Economic Development Corporation

The Bridgeport Falls low water weir dam creates a pleasant 5.8 mile looped paddling trail under a lush canopy of native trees and other vegetation. You will paddle along the river’s sandy banks with occasional sandstone outcroppings. The flora and fauna envelopes you as you traverse the West Fork of the Trinity River.


Getting There

Access Points:

Bridgeport Falls GPS coordinates 33° 11' 44.69" N, 97° 45' 21.29" W

FM 920 (Emergency Access Only, unimproved) GPS coordinates 33° 11' 37.27" N, 97° 47' 20.96" W

From Ft.Worth/ Dallas take SH114 west to Bridgeport. As you enter the south side of Bridgeport, turn left on FM 2123. Signs for Bridgeport Falls Parking immediately visible on the left.

Note: Invasive zebra mussels threaten this area. To prevent further spread of this pest, paddlers are required to drain all water from their boats before leaving the river. Get details.

Distance from nearest major cities:

  • Austin – 235
  • Dallas – 70
  • Denton – 37
  • Fort Worth – 47
  • Houston – 309
  • Oklahoma City, OK – 177
  • Waco – 134
  • Wichita Falls – 74

Map

Trail Description and Landmarks

Trail Length: ~5.8 miles (from The Falls upstream to FM920)
Float Time: ~2.5 - 5 hours (depending on water level, flow rate and wind speed)

Please note: Downstream of Bridgeport Falls is not an official part of this trail. Any downstream paddling will require take-out at public roadway crossings such as CR 3225 and FM 51. These access points are unimproved and may present challenges, steep grades, thick brush, etc.

The West Fork of the Trinity River is a natural river that is typically unrestrained by flood control dams or other man made structures. As such, the West Fork of the Trinity River is readily influenced by rainfall runoff that may create temporary high flows and undesirable water quality conditions. Approximate flow and water quality information is available to paddlers on the web at www.trwd.com. Although there are no man-made obstructions on this reach, there may be snags to avoid, especially when water levels are low.

In addition to its natural beauty and recreational features, it is the goal of the West Fork Friends to build Bridgeport Falls (and future access points) as an Interpretive Paddle Trail highlighting Watershed Stewardship and Best Management Practices demonstration projects

Fishing

This section of the West Fork of the Trinity River supports several species of carp, bass, catfish, crappie and carp. Small lures such as jigs, plastic worms, spinner baits and light-line are recommended. You can fish along this trail, and fishing can also be enjoyed at nearby Lake Bridgeport.

Wildlife and Ecology

The riparian corridor of the West Fork of the Trinity River supports a great diversity of plant and animal life along the river and beyond the banks. 

Birds spotted here include great horned owl, barn owl, herons, kingfishers, red-tailed hawk, ducks, American kestrel, blackbirds, wrens, cardinals, blue jays, quail, fieldlarks, and doves. Several types of oak, elms, pecan, hackberry, and mulberry trees grow along the river.  Common wildlife encountered include beaver, raccoon, ring-tailed cat, wild boar, white-tailed deer, opossum, beaver, nutria, soft-shell turtles, a variety of snakes, skunk, bats, coyote and fox. It is not unusual to see livestock watering in the river

Private Property

Respect private property by not trespassing or littering and keeping noise levels down. This river is classified as navigable, which permits public use of the streambed and, if necessary, the banks to portage any hazard. Any other use of private river banks 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.

Events & Attractions

For more information please see the Paddling Events calendar.

Endeavor Bridgeport

The City of Bridgeport’s Northwest OHV Park contains 300+ acres for Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) trails with adventure sports and nature trails coming soon. http://www.cityofbridgeport.net  

Lake Bridgeport

Five miles west of Bridgeport, this 13,000 surface acre lake features over 170 miles of shoreline ranging from sandy beaches to sheer rock cliffs. Several boat launching facilities and waterfront businesses are available for your paddling or boating convenience. The lake is also home to the Methodist Camp and Conference Center and the 3,000+ acre Sid Richardson Scout Ranch.

Wise County Park (Camping & RV Park)

A scenic, 180-acre park with numerous recreational options including: Boat Ramps, Swimming Area, 1-Mile Nature Trail, 24 RV Hook-ups, 33 Campsites, 3 Pavilions, a Playground, RV Dump Station, Boat Storage, etc. Physical Address: 372 CR 1638, Chico, Texas 76431. For reservations call: 940-644-1910

Runaway Bay Paddling Trails

See Texas Paddling Trails Information provided by Runaway Bay, Texas at the Chupacabra Point Paddling Trail website.

LBJ National Grasslands

The largest public open space in North Texas consists of 15,000+ acres of rolling hills and restored grasslands. The property provides numerous opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, fishing, camping, etc. http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/texas/recreation/caddo_lbj/caddo-lbj_gen_info.shtml 

Bridgeport Heritage Museum

Bridgeport - The Stagecoach Capital of Texas. A 1st class museum built for you, by museum volunteers, to showcase the people, natural resources and economies of the Bridgeport area. See exhibits including: Coal mines, Lake Bridgeport, Barnett Shale Natural Gas, Bridgeport Brick, Butterfield Stage Overland Mail Route

Butterfield Stage Days Festival & Rodeo (May)

Old Town Bridgeport was created when a bridge was built for the Butterfield Overland Mail Stagecoach Route in 1860. The Bridgeport community comes together every spring celebrate our stagecoach heritage to provide family friendly events, activities, and vendors in Harwood Park. The Bridgeport Riding Club also holds a large PRCA Rodeo bringing cowboys and cowgirls from all around.

Coal Miners Heritage Festival (Oct.)

Bridgeport was once a coal town with thirteen thriving coal mines. The coal mines are no longer operational but the city still celebrates the impact from this early economic activity. The heritage is celebrated with a downtown festival put on by downtown businesses, street vendors, local arts groups and many community groups.

C.A.R.E “Big Cat” Sanctuary

The Center for Animal Research & Education, (CARE) was founded to provide for the rescue, rehabilitation, and holistic nurturing of sick, injured or abused big cats thus ensuring a vital habitat and safe haven for them to live in comfort and with dignity.  Further, with public education and research, to ultimately ensure the future of the species. Tours are available upon request. http://www.bigcatcare.org/

Partnership

This trail was made possible through a partnership between Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, City of Bridgeport Parks & Recreation, TRWD (Tarrant Regional Water District), Wise County and West Fork Trinity Friends

Shuttles & Rentals

Local Livery Service:

Local Canoe/Kayak Rental Coming Fall 2011

KayakPower

214-669-1663
www.kayakpower.com
Offers kayak and canoe rentals, also guided trips and paddling instruction. Only available for groups of 12 or more with advance reservations.

Paddle Bound River Outfitters

Jimmy and Edie Gray, 817-282-3135
Colleyville, TX 76034
www.paddlebound.com
Services offered: Canoe/Kayak Sales, Rentals (canoes/kayaks, trailers, life jackets, paddles), Guided Trips & Instruction

Cutter Aquatics

Phone 817-354-6853
www.CutterAquatics.com
Provider of Quality Instruction in Kayaking and Canoeing
ACA & USCA Certified Instruction
American Red Cross Authorized Provider

Mountain Sports

2025 W. Pioneer Pkwy
Arlington, TX 76013-6005
1-800-805-9139 or 817-461-4503
http://www.mountainsports.com
Services offered: canoe and kayak sales

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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