Bastrop County has two official Texas Paddling Trails along the Colorado River – the Wilbarger and the El Camino Real with shorter and longer variations. The 862-mile Colorado River is slow moving, and goes from Lamesa, TX to Matagorda Bay on the Gulf of Mexico. Only 38 of those winding miles from Utley, Texas to Smithville, Texas are in Bastrop County and are featured in our two paddling trails with stops at local parks for breaks and picnics. Colorado means “red” in Spanish, and is the longest river which runs completely in Texas.
- Wilbarger Paddling Trail: Utley to Bastrop is a wide, slow-moving 14.3-mile trail will take you approximately 4 – 8 hours depending on flow and stops for picnics or enjoying the scenery along the way. The trail starts in Utley, Texas near the west end of the county and puts out at Fisherman’s Park in Bastrop, Texas. MAP courtesy of Texas Paddling Trail
- El Camino Real Paddling Trail: Bastrop to Smithville is a wide, slow-moving six mile trail will take you approximately 1.5 – 4 hours depending on flow and stops for picnics or enjoying the scenery along the way. The trail starts in Fisherman’s Park in Bastrop and puts out at Bastrop County Nature Park, formerly Lost Pines Nature Trails, with parking, and wooded hiking trails in the Tahitian Village area. The takeout is easy to see because of the bend in the river and large sandbar at this park where many people swim and picnic on the small “beach.” MAP courtesy of Texas Paddling Trail
For a longer ride, keep going for another 3-5 hours to Smithville’s boat ramp under the Hwy 95 bridge, or head just around the bend to Vernon L. Richards Riverbend Park in Smithville, Texas.
For those who don’t have their own equipment, you can rent kayaks, canoes, paddling boards and more with these experienced River Guides. They also will take you on the river and teach you as you go.