Course Description

NOTE: All mileages are approximate.
Mile Location Note
0

Spring Lake

GPS: 29.893485,-97.930922

Start

1/4

Spring Lake Dam

Portage island left, right, or middle with the middle being the most popular. Hazardous footing in some spots. Can only be seen on race day (private property).

Portage

1.25

Rio Vista Dam

Can be portaged left or right or can be run through small spillway in center of dam. It and the salt water barrier are the only dams that can be run. ALL OTHERS MUST BE PORTAGED.

Portage

1.86

Thompson's Island Dam

Approximately 1/4 mile past I-35 bridge, Thompson's Island Dam will be on river right with mill race continuing down left channel to Thompson's Island Bridge. You can portage the dam and get into old river stream or take left channel to Thompson's Island road bridge.

Portage

2.20

Thompson's Island Road Bridge

Portage right at end of mill race. Carry boat beside road to re-enter river above road bridge with yellow handrail. You cannot cross the road and must go under this bridge in the race.

Portage

4.67

Blanco River Confluence

Obvious right turn at confluence.

 
5.27

Cummings Dam

Portage right around dam.

Portage

5.86

Westerfield Crossing

Low clearance at higher water levels. River current increases with small rapids down to Cottonseed Rapids.

Low Clearance

9.12

Cottonseed Rapids

One of the best known on the San Marcos River.  It can be run at most water levels.  Can be scouted by stopping on river right when you see the old concrete dam.

Caution!!!

9.58

Scull's Crossing

Good clearance at all but extremely high water.

 
10.66

Martindale Dam

Must be portaged on the right.

Portage

10.76

Martindale Low Water Crossing

Just past Martindale Dam, approach with caution. Fast current Portage Right leading up to and under bridge with rocks below bridge at low water. Portage right if necessary.

Low Clearance

Portage Right

11.35

FM 1979

This next section of river has some fast current with sweepers and small rapids. Still water the last two miles above Staples Dam.

 
16.62

Staples Dam FM 1977

DEADLINE-YOU MUST REACH THIS CHECKPOINT BY 3:00PM SATURDAY
Staples dam fifty yards past bridge. Portage left over lip of dam or right down stairs. This is private property, please exercise courtesy. Fast current starts again with sweepers and two small rock dams that can be run at normal water levels but may need to be portaged at lower water, small log jams are possible from here to Luling 90 but are usually single, fallen trees.

GPS: 29.782312,-97.83131

Checkpoint #1

26.05

Fentress Hwy. 20 Bridge

The river continues to be fast at average water levels with tight sweeping corners and stumps.

 
29.15

Prairie Lea Bridge #1

Low clearance and dangerous at high water levels. A sweeping left hand turn upstream of the bridge can make the approach difficult to see. At high water it should be approached with caution. Portage right if necessary.

Low Clearance

 

Prairie Lea Cut

Located 100 yards below Prairie Lea #1 is what used to be called Prairie Lea Cut. It is now the river channel. It is dangerous due to the strong current and downed trees inside. It can be scouted by stopping on the right bank of the old island. Use extreme caution, a portage may be necessary.

 
30.47

Prairie Lea Private Bridge

A private bridge with a small rapid just upstream.

Low Public Access

Low Clearance

31.65

Prairie Lea #2

Left portage if necessary. The bridge is easily visible. The river down to Stairtown is especially tight and winding with logs and sweeping corners.

Low Clearance

33.17

Stairtown Bridge

The river from here to Luling 90 continues to be tight and winding with logs and possible small jams.

 
39.62

Luling 90

DEADLINE-YOU MUST REACH THIS CHECKPOINT BY 8:00PM SATURDAY
The river begins to slow and the possibility of larger log jams increases. Little or no current for the last three miles above Luling Dam.

GPS: 29.667722,-97.69978

Checkpoint #2

45.56

Luling (Zedler) Dam and Hwy 80

The dam, about 400 yards past Luling water intake on left. Portage right. The portage is obvious in daylight. If dark, approach with caution, pulling over well above dam.

Portage

49.68

IH-10

The river below Luling Dam is similar to below Luling 90 with some current below the dam for a couple of miles then slowing.

Difficult Access

56.03

Broken Dam Rapid (Son of Ottine)

An old broken rock dam that is runable at all but extremely low water. Run just right of center or far left.

Caution

58.60

Ottine Dam

Portage right. Located after a right turn, it is difficult to hear and see No Public Access until you are close to the dam, especially at night. An overhead sign is in place 300 feet before the dam. Use caution in portage. Use extreme caution at night.

Portage

60.21

Palmetto Bridge & Park

DEADLINE-YOU MUST REACH THISCHECKPOINT BY 10:00AM SUNDAY
A portage at most water levels, strong current just above the bridge; bridge may also have logs and debris on it. Approach with caution especially at night. River continues to have some current but fewer sweeping corners with more logs and some of the largest log jams possible in the next section of the river.

GPS: 29.589948,-97.585067

Portage

Checkpoint #3

67.95

Sladen Cemetary Bridge

The river gets slower as you get closer to the confluence of the San Marcos and Guadalupe rivers. This is usually the last section for log jams.

 
76.67

Gonzales 90A

The river gets slow and wide from here to Gonzales Dam.

 
79.17

Old Iron Bridge

No Access

81.26

Guadalupe River Confluence

The Guadalupe River flows in from the right, obvious left turn. Boils and eddies at high water.

 
84.46

Gonzales Dam

There is a cable strung 15-20 feet above the water 500 yards above the dam with a warning sign on it. Generating building on left side of the dam is usually well lighted at night. Portage take out approximately 30 yards above the dam on river right. Approach with caution, keeping to right side on approach. Marked by tree with sign and blinking light at night during race. At normal or lower water you can put back in just below the dam past the rock riprap. There are large rocks and an eddy pushing you back towards the dam. At high water, this short portage is very dangerous and the longer portage is best. Use the same take out but instead of going down to the short put in, go right through the opening in trees for about 50-75 yards. Then angle left for about 200 yards to put in.

Portage Right

85.79

Gonzales 183 (Gravel Bar)

DEADLINE-YOU MUST REACH THIS CHECKPOINT BY 5:00PM SUNDAY
The next road crossing is 38 miles and this is the longest section on the race course. Make sure to have plenty of water. At low water, there are gravel bars, sweeping turns and a few small rapids. At high water, boils and eddies.

GPS: 29.484275,-97.448221

Checkpoint #4

122.60

Hochheim Hwy 183

DEADLINE-YOU MUST REACH THISCHECKPOINT BY 10:00AM MONDAY
Similar river conditions as the previous section.

GPS: 29.314262,-97.30321

Checkpoint #5

147.41

Cheapside Bridge (766)

DEADLINE-YOU MUST REACH THISCHECKPOINT BY 3:00PM MONDAY

GPS: 29.147265,-97.317855

Checkpoint #6

153.98

FM 3402 / Heaton St. (Old Cuero-San Antonio Rd)

 
156.90

Cuero Hwy 87

 
161.22

Cuero 236

DEADLINE-YOU MUST REACH THISCHECKPOINT BY 10:00PM MONDAY
This section is a lot like the previous one with a few sweepers and small rapids at low water and boils at high water. This is also the start of the TEXAS RIVER MARATHON, The Texas Water Safari preliminary race.

GPS: 29.051293,-97.265117

Checkpoint #7

178.12

Thomaston Bridge

This section has some rapids with standing waves at normal water level, but are usually washed out at high water.

 
186.83

Nursery (447)

Note: For the River Marathon, this is a required checkpoint with a deadline of 3 p.m.

 
199.84

Victoria City Park Boat Ramp

DEADLINE-YOU MUST REACH THIS CHECKPOINT BY 11:00AM TUESDAY
This and the next section are the last to have sweepers at low water levels.

GPS: 28.824706,-97.01542

Checkpoint #8

212.11

Hwy 59 Bypass (Old Victoria Loop 175 Bridge)

As the river current slows there is a slight possibility of log jams in this section, but usually just fallen trees blocking a portion of the river.

 
213.57

Cornfield Cut

A sharp cut to the left that leads nowhere. DO NOT TAKE ANY CUTS IN THIS SECTION OF RIVER.

 
216.21

Blue Bayou Cut

Illegal cut that flows to the left at high water. Cuts are dangerous and congested with logs.

 
221.40

Coletto Creek Confluence

Flowing in from the right it is a good landmark for time. It is the halfway point to Swinging Bridge (Dupont).

 
231.27

Victoria Port Authority (Swinging Bridge)

DEADLINE-YOU MUST REACH THISCHECKPOINT BY 10:00PM TUESDAY
Swinging Bridge is owned by Invista who controls access to the river. It may be open for the race, but for training runs there is no access. Log jams are possible in this next section, especially after the railroad bridge.

GPS: 28.651783,-96.962229

Checkpoint #9

237.23

Railroad Crossing

This next section has the possibility of some of the largest log jams. Some years as many as several large jams. At high water, there are several cuts flowing off the river to the right.

 
236

Pipeline Crossing

A good landmark to indicate you're getting close to Seadrift Cut. Can be hard to see at night.

 
237

Seadrift Cut and Alligator Lake

The most used cut out of the river to get to Alligator Lake. It has strong current with fallen trees and sharp turns, making it difficult to take. Alligator Lake was created by a cut through the levee by Seadrift Cut. It is a couple of miles long and maybe a mile wide at its widest with shallow water. It can be rough under windy conditions and hard to find the exit back into the river. At low water, the lake is impassable because of insufficient waterflow. These cuts can be a few minutes faster under ideal conditions with log jams in the river but are considered, by most people, not worth the trouble if the river is open. The river condition will be reported at the race briefing.

 
248.50

Salt Water Barrier

DEADLINE-YOU MUST REACH THISCHECKPOINT BY 8:00AM WEDNESDAY
A dam that is raised at extremely low water to keep salt water out of Port Lavaca water intake just above the dam. It can have logs piled up in front of it that can be portaged right but is usually open and passable with boils around the pilings.

GPS: 28.505861,-96.885209

Checkpoint #10

251.21

Tivoli Hwy 35 Bridge

This section can have small log jams but is usually kept open by fishing boats.

 
255.05

Traylor Cut

It's a cut to the left that goes to the upper end of the San Antonio Bay. Usually not taken because of the increased time in the bay. Take the right channel and stay in the river.

 
256.23

Wooden Bridge

The last public access point.

 
258.68

Guadalupe River and San Antonio Bay Confluence

There are several routes to cross the bay. One course is to enter the bay turning right after 50-100 yards and follow the right shoreline to Foster Point, then angle left to the end of the spoil bank and around the island turning left to the Seadrift flagpole and pavilion on the seawall. Another course is to come out of the river and across straight to the opposite shore then turn right and follow the shoreline to end of the spoil bank. There are three cuts through the spoil island to the barge canal. Do not enter the barge canal but continue to the end of the spoil bank, then left to Seadrift. At the end of the spoil bank you will have to cross the barge canal. Make sure there are no barges coming down the canal. Let any boat pass before attempting to cross. The depth of the canal can make large waves and be dangerous to cross. At night a row of lights on the seawall and car lights on the road above the seawall are landmarks to look for.

 
264.65

Seadrift Flagpole and Pavilion

DEADLINE 1:00 PM WEDNESDAY

GPS: 28.408308,-96.716773

FINISH