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20 June . 2016

Guadalupe and Comal rivers offer cool, crystal-clear Hill Country fun

Though it runs for 230 miles, all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, the Guadalupe River is most known and loved for its upper reaches in the Texas Hill Country.

Near its origin in Kerr County, the Guadalupe is a smaller, faster running river than it becomes nearer to the Gulf Coast. In the Hill Country, the river’s limestone bottom makes for a cool and clear stream with many fun rapids. Its banks are lined with shady pecan and majestic bald cypress trees, creating the quintessential Hill Country oasis.

Ask any Texan about enjoying the Guadalupe, and they’ll probably immediately talk about tubing, whitewater rafting, canoeing and kayaking.

Some of the most popular water recreation spots along the river include Guadalupe River State Park, a 1,939-acre park near Bulverde, with four miles of river frontage and trails for horses and mountain bikes. The adjacent Honey Creek State Natural Area is accessible for guided tours.

New Braunfels is a quaint town with a distinct German heritage that is synonymous with the Guadalupe River and water sports. Visitors can enjoy many river outfitters that rent tubes and other supplies, along with charming cafes, restaurants and shops.

Canyon Lake, a reservoir on the Guadalupe River, has 80 miles of scenic shorelines and more than 8,200 acres of water surface for boating, wind skiing, fishing and other water sports.

Comal River

Located entirely within the city limits of New Braunfels, the two-mile-long Comal River has the distinction of being the shortest navigable river in Texas.

Proudly called the “longest shortest river in the world” by locals, the Comal makes up in fun what it lacks in length. Fed by the Comal Springs in Landa Park, this crystal-clear, rock-bottomed river is a popular spot for tubing, snorkeling and other sports.

With tranquil currents and a constant 72-degree temperature, the Comal offers a gentler experience than the rapid-rich Guadalupe, which it joins downstream.

The original Schlitterbahn, still the best water park in Texas, is built along a 16-mile stretch of the Comal, and many local outfitters, cafes and shops also attract fun-loving locals and tourists.

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