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Chocolate Bayou

Located in the following county: Brazoria

Because of the soils, this bayou lives up to its name. It really looks like a river of chocolate. Of course it is really just a heavy silt load heading out to Chocolate Bay. Although Chocolate Bayou was twice as wild as recently as the mid-1990's, it is still wilder than most suburban streams in the Houston area. It harbors one of the farthest west populations of Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda) on the Texas Gulf Coast. It also has huge numbers of Green Ash, Box Elder, Eastern Red Cedar, Pecan, and many other types of trees and plants. It actually has a very long floatable area, all the way from FM 1462 down to FM 2004. The FM 1462 area doesn't have any parks or public access to the water. From Albert Finkle Park down to the boat ramp at FM 2004 can be done, but it is a long trip with increased boat traffic from fishing boats and commercial vessels.

Number of paddle segments described for this area: 3

Segment 1: Chocolate Bayou Park to Albert Finkle Park (see below for description)
Segment 2: Albert Finkle Park to FM Road 2004 (see below for description)
Segment 3: FM Road 2004 South into the Marshlands (see below for description)

See the Houston Canoe Club paddler guide description of this area.


Segment 1: Chocolate Bayou Park to Albert Finkle Park

KeyMap Locations: 731W, 765A, 765B, 765F, 765K
Length: 5 miles

Chocolate Bayou Park is a park with no signage or major facilities. What it does have is great parking, a small boat ramp and it is in a mixed pine / hardwood forest. The park can be reached by taking Hwy. 35 south out of Alvin. Chocolate Bayou is just south of FM 2917 and the park is at the southwest corner of Hwy 35 and the bayou. Albert Finkel Park has a distinct "Old South" feeling and is on Brazoria County Rd. 171 in the town of Liverpool. It has a rope swing over the bayou, a small wooden dock and great parking.

The small road down to Chocolate Bayou Park is barely visible from Hwy. 35. You can park close to the boat ramp and use it for an easy launch. The bayou will remain slightly ditch like for few bends and then starts to become more and more natural. At about the middle of the trip you will come upon a dam. This is actually a saltwater barrier that some local residents say doesn't work properly. Depending on the water level you may be able to make it over the top. If in doubt use the concrete platform of the boatlift on the left side of the barrier to help you portage.

From here on down to Albert Finkel Park the bayou is beautiful with lots of wildlife to view. A short distance before the park you will float under a railroad bridge. Now you are on the home stretch to the park and the boat dock will come up on the right. Watch out for kids jumping off of the rope swing into the bayou!


 
RANKING (1-Poor to 5-Excellent)
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 Chocolate Bayou


Segment 2: Albert Finkle Park to F.M. Road 2004

KeyMap Locations: 765K, 765L, 765P, 765Q, 765T, 765U, 765V, 765Y, 765Z, 799D, 800A, 800E, 800J, 800K, 800P, 800Q, 800T, 800U, 800Y
Length: 7 miles

Take State Highway 35 south from Alvin. Turn right on County Road 2917. In about 3 miles you will intersect with County Road (C.R.) 171. Turn right on C.R.171 and follow it to where it dead-ends at Albert Finkle Memorial County Park (about 3 miles). This is quite a nice county park with picnic tables and a playground for kids.

 

RANKING (1-Poor to 5-Excellent)
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Low Water Safety
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Segment 3: F.M. Road 2004 South into the Marshlands

KeyMap Locations: 800Y, 800Z, 801W, 801X, 833A, 833B, 833C, 833D

If you're a sea kayaker and enjoy seeing marshland birds, put in at 2004 and paddle a few miles downstream until you are almost into the Gulf, then left and into the marshlands. There's a high bridge there and a large parking lot with ramps for motorboats. Expect a fair amount of fishing traffic. You will have alot of wind and motor traffic exposure there, thus the sea kayak recommendation. In mid-July a wide variety of marshland birds, and their babies, and all manner of brackish water and land crabs are here. There is no shade.

Trip courtesy of the Houston Canoe Club.


RANKING (1-Poor to 5-Excellent)
Scenery
4
 
Water Quality
4
brackish
Low Water Safety
2
wind, waves, boaters