Planning a river trip

Colorado River Trail

​These tips will make your trip more enjoyable

March through October is usually the best time to float the Colorado River. During this period LCRA typically releases water from dams upstream.

Other times of the year, the river may be only a few inches deep in some stretches. Also, trips downriver may be slower and more difficult when paddlers are bucking a strong south wind. See recommended one-day float and recommended two-day float.

Here are more ways to ensure a smooth trip along the Colorado:

  • Consider the weather and flow conditions. Conditions on the river can change rapidly, particularly during spring. LCRA monitors river conditions year round, but floods can occur quickly. Plan to carry a transistor radio or weather radio. The National Weather Service broadcasts continuous weather information on the following frequencies: Austin to Bastrop 162.400, Bastrop to Eagle Lake 162.500, Eagle Lake to the Gulf 162.425.
  • Decide on the length of the trip. For most paddlers, a day-long trip equals about 10 river miles. Always plan to complete the trip well before dark.
  • Become familiar with the take-out location. Walk down to the river and take mental notes of the signs and other landmarks. Know how they will look as you approach from upstream.
  • Lock vehicles at both put-in and take-out locations. Be sure to store keys in a place where they can be found after a day on the river. Protect remote controls for electric security systems with water-tight storage bags.
  • Do not travel alone. Travel with a companion boat, and let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
  • Talk to someone who has previously run the river. Benefit from their insight.
  • Leave pets, firearms and valuables at home.


How fast will I float?
From March to October, water is released at an average rate of 1,500 cubic feet per second (cfs), which translates to a river flow of two miles an hour. The average canoeist can do three to four miles an hour with paddling. From October to March, release rates drop to about 300 cfs, and that means a very slow river that depends on vigorous paddling.

Hear a recording of the latest lake and river conditions by calling (512) 473-3333 or 1-800-776-5272, Ext. 3333. Also, see current lake and river conditions.


Plan your float for a weekday. You are more likely to have the water to yourself and are more likely to see more deer, turkey, eagles and other wildlife.