All photos: William Myers
Dominant trees and understory plants are very different for each of the three segments of this trail. All offer wonderful opportunities to enjoy the various wildlife species that inhabit the surrounding riparian areas. Explore them all, and you will feel like they have visited three different worlds.
- Getting There
- Trail Description
- Wildlife & Ecology
- Private Property
- Events & Attractions
- Rentals & Shuttles
Blue Fathom/Chupacabra Point 33° 90' 27.43" N, 97° 52' 19.77" W
To Blue Fathom/Chupacabra Point - From US HWY 380, turn South on Exit 4/Tryall Drive. Turn right (West) on Port O Call Drive. Turn left (South) on Lanai Drive. Finally, turn left (South) onto Blue Fathom Drive. Proceed South on Blue Fathom drive, until reaching the Chupacabra put in point & kiosk on the South side of the roadway.
Note: Invasive zebra mussels threaten this area. To prevent further spread of this pest, paddlers in certain counties are required to drain all water from their boats before leaving the river. Get details.
Distance from nearest major cities:
- Austin - 244 miles
- Dallas - 80 miles
- Denton - 47 miles
- Ft. Worth - 60 miles
- Houston - 318 miles
- Waco - 143 miles
- Weatherford - 41 miles
- Wichita Falls - 77 miles
Trail Length: ~4 miles roundtrip for each of the three creek trails (Boons, Willow and Coal Creeks)
Float Time: ~2 - 4 hours (depending on water level, flow rate and wind speed)
Please note: All three creeks are subject to flash flooding, so pay attention to weather reports and avoid paddling these creeks in high water conditions. Crossing from Chupacabra Point to the creeks, paddlers might encounter head-on winds and/or chop crossing the open area of the lake. Regarding the depths in each creek, at normal levels, there are some areas in each creek that are shallow and if water levels are lower, will create portages. Willow Creek has a road crossing, so this will be a portage if paddlers wish to go further upstream.
Runaway Bay has fair populations of white bass, crappie, and largemouth bass. White bass and crappie can be caught using jigs and spoons attached to medium and light action fishing equipment fished in open water and close to bridges. Largemouth bass can be caught using medium to heavy action fishing equipment using soft plastics fished around aquatic vegetation and standing timber.
This area is characterized by riparian plant species common to the Cross Timbers ecoregion, including hackberry, several species of oak, honey mesquite, Osage orange (Bois d'arc) and ash. Shrubs such as coralberry, elderberry, and sumac are commonly found in the understory. Paddling along this series of trails offers an excellent opportunity to watch for songbirds, water birds, raptors, deer and squirrels. In fact, the bottomland areas throughout the Cross Timbers are excellent wildlife viewing areas, so be sure to bring along your bird book to identify the numerous species present.
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.
For more information please see the Paddling Events calendar.
Annual Runaway Bay Community "Fourth Fest" Celebration
The Saturday of or prior to the July 4th holiday, www.runawaybaytexas.com
Bay Landing Campground
Located one hour from Dallas-Fort Worth near Runaway Bay, the Bay Landing preserve offers lakefront campsites and cabins amid beautiful scenery on the shores of Lake Bridgeport, one of the prettiest lakes in Texas. www.thousandtrails.com/getaways/texas/baylanding.asp
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
Bridgeport Paddling Trail
See Texas Paddling Trails Information provided by Bridgeport, Texas at the Bridgeport Falls 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
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
This trail was made possible through a partnership between Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the City of Runaway Bay.
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 OutfittersJimmy and Edie Gray, 817-282-3135
Colleyville, TX 76034
Services offered: Canoe/Kayak Sales, Rentals (canoes/kayaks, trailers, life jackets, paddles), Guided Trips & Instruction
Cutter AquaticsPhone 817-354-6853
Provider of Quality Instruction in Kayaking and Canoeing
ACA & USCA Certified Instruction
American Red Cross Authorized Provider
Mountain Sports2025 W. Pioneer Pkwy
Arlington, TX 76013-6005
1-800-805-9139 or 817-461-4503
Services offered: canoe and kayak sales
Austin Canoe and KayakRent 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.php
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