Paddling Houston's Bayous and Creeks by Eric Ruckstuhl
Millions of people in the Houston metropolitan area cross over streams and bayous every day never knowing what sort of recreational opportunities are right in their own backyards. Although most of our natural drainage systems have been altered, some drastically, it is possible to use many of these waterways for canoeing.
Described below are public areas to put in and take out a canoe or kayak, and several recommended trips. To make locating each route easier, Harris County Key Map pages are given, as are the names of pertinent parks and roads. Surprising to most people will be the references to rapids, rock outcrops, waterfalls, older growth trees, wonderful wildlife and other "forgottens" in our area. There are trips in every area, in every type of habitat, including channels altered by man. Some places already have canoe launches in use, some places are just used, and others should be used.
Proper canoeing skills must be mastered before trying any of these trips. Expect muddy banks and steep slopes. Always portage around log-jams or manmade dams. Do not canoe in high, turbulent water and get out if heavy rain starts. Watch for snakes and alligators, bring a first aid and snakebite kit, and mosquito repellent. Respect private property and the owners' rights along your trip.
Keep in mind that stream and bayou conditions change continuously. Banks and channels that were in good condition when these routes were surveyed by BPA's paddlers may very well be more difficult to navigate now. BPA also has no control over local governments and private property owners, so be certain to make sure suggested parking places are still legal before you leave your car.
Some area waterways are meeting safe swimming standards occasionally, but swimming isn't safe yet primarily due to high fecal coliform counts (bacteria in the water). Plastic, styrofoam glass, metals, etc. can be found along banks and floating in the water just begging to be removed. (Luckily, it can be light enough to not ruin your trip and if you remove some it just gets better.)
Most trips require shuttling--if you cannot do a full trip, paddle around one of the input or take out areas.
Click here for info.
Click on the map area for the paddle trails details.
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