Engage your core, steady your abdominal muscles, and push the paddle away from your body at the shoulder while pulling back towards you utilizing chest, back and arm muscles. A workout sequence or how to properly paddle in one of Texas’ 78 official paddling trails? Technically speaking, it is both.
Texas is abounding with 15 major rivers, 3,700 named streams which meander through 191,000 miles of Texas landscape. In addition to these inland bodies of water, the state boasts over 3,300 miles of tidal shoreline along the Gulf Coast, offering unlimited adventures for all levels of paddling and angling.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) manages the official Texas Paddling Trails and partners with communities looking to create or enhance their trails. TPWD groups them by inland and coastal trails and 5 paddling regions: Hill Country, Piney Woods, Prairies and Lakes, South Texas Plains and Gulf Coast.
The Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trail, a coastal trail near Aransas Pass, was the very first Texas Paddling Trail and is a series of four loops ranging in length from 1.25 miles to 6.8 miles. The trails meander through an extensive black mangrove estuary, into sloughs and back lakes near the historic 1857 Lydia Ann Lighthouse on North Harbor Island. Paddlers can glide through mangroves and seagrass flats that provide outstanding bird watching and fishing for red drum, spotted seatrout and flounder in the maze of tidal channels and flats.
One of the state’s most famous skylines happens to be visible most of the time if you paddle the iconic inland Lady Bird Lake Paddling Trail located in the heart of downtown Austin. This trail allows for a variety of paddling opportunities with loops from 3 to 11 miles long with 8 official access points and equipment rentals in abundance.
Paddling trails offer residents and visitors recreational experiences as well as garner support for waterway and wildlife conservation across the state. Paddlers can expect to see an abundance of wildlife and vegetation on their paddling adventures, each area unique to the region its located within. You might spot a bald eagle perched in a bald cypress while paddling the Guadalupe River in the Victoria Paddling Trail. Or perhaps a turtle swimming along under the water’s surface.
Anglers utilize these trails for fishing Texas’ over 325 fish species. Kayak fishing and camping on the inland trails offer anglers the opportunity to reach more secluded waters and ocean kayaking along the coastal trails offers the thrill of catching larger saltwater species. Unique in their own offerings, the sport is bettered because of the extensive network of paddling trails.
For a new workout routine, angling adventure or to explore the state in a new way, head to Texas Paddling Trails and start planning your next trip to the water.
Texas Parks & Wildlife Paddling Trails
For more information: tpwd.texas.gov/fishboat/boat/paddlingtrails/
Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trail
Lady Bird Lake Paddling Trail
Victoria Paddling Trail