Off-grid adventure on pristine Texas waters

Off-grid adventure on pristine Texas waters

About four hours west of San Antonio and five of Austin, Devils River State Natural Area isn’t the easiest place to get to, that’s exactly what makes it so special. The clear, spring-fed water flows virtually untouched through limestone canyons and rugged wilderness, earning it a reputation as one of the most pristine rivers in Texas.

With three different stream conditions – deep pools, shallows and wild rapids – this remote tributary of the Rio Grande and the nearby Amistad Reservoir are ripe for adventure. So whether you’re an avid paddler looking for the experience of a lifetime or a water lover ready to unplug (cell service is spotty at best), there’s no better place to hang out. soak up pure, wild Texas.


Plan a one- or multi-day Devils River trip that matches your level of experience with Amistad Expeditions. The outfitter provides kayaks and equipment, and will shuttle you to and from the river. Or, if you’re really looking to test your skills, embark on a four-day, 15-mile guided tour through challenging rapids and rough terrain with Angell Expeditions.

Guided or not, make sure you’re ready for a long trip down the Devils River. From securing a permit and book campsites, bring WAG bags and leaving no tracefind out everything you need to know with this planning guide of the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife.

For a more relaxed paddling adventure, head to the calmer waters of the Amistad Reservoir. Rent a recreational kayak for the day Amistad TCS (Tours, Charters and Shuttles) and explore the great waters. Or paddle one of seven trails that wind through steep-sided canyons to reveal hidden creeks, natural springs that gush from the hillside, and 4,000-year-old scarred cave walls Native American rock art. And don’t forget your binoculars: there are lots of wildlife in the sky and the brush.


Another great way to experience these turquoise waters is to dive into them. A day trip by paddleboard from Del Norte on the Devils River will take you to Dolan Falls, a mighty 10ft high waterfall with a clear blue swimming hole that is totally worth the effort it takes to get there. Jump off the cliff walls, but stay clear of the surrounding land; everything is private property.

With unlimited places to swim off the shores of Amistad Reservoir, you almost can’t go wrong. Take a dip, relax and picnic at Governors Landing Campground. Or head to the Diablo East boat launch for stunning views of the lake. The area also has a marked dive cove to keep boats out and depths of over 100ft for some of the best freshwater. scuba diving in Texas.


If paddling downstream, make a reservation in advance and settle into one of four paddle campsites. At night, look for some of the best stargazing in the state. Measured by the Bortle Dark Sky Scalestargazing quality is rated from Class 1 to 9, with Class 1 being Earth’s Darkest Sky and Class 2 being Devils River Natural Area.

To stay at Amistad National Recreation Area, claim a spot at one of five first-come, first-served campgrounds. Or, if you haven’t had enough of the reservoir’s indigo waters yet, pitch a tent right on the shore. Backcountry camping is permitted throughout the area as long as you are within a quarter mile of any campground, boat launch or other developed area.