Travel

5 Places to Paddle On The Trinity River in Fort Worth

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We've put together a shortlist of our favorite sections to paddle on the Trinity River. Whether you prefer urban or remote, hemmed in or wide-open spaces, have your own kayak or need to rent one, there's a location on this list for everyone.

Panther Island Pavilion

Okay, maybe I'm a little biased here, but hear me out. Panther Island Pavilion can be found right in the heart of Downtown Fort Worth. During the summer The Island is home to live music, cook-off competitions and a plethora of other family-friendly events to enjoy so plan ahead or get out early if you want to paddle during the summer months. Paddlers can launch from the free public beach near the end of N. Taylor St. There are three routes to choose from; you can paddle up the Clear Fork about 1.3 miles until you reach a low water dam and must portage or turn around, head up the West Fork for nearly 5.5 miles until you arrive at a low water dam (the longest continuous stretch on the Trinity within the Fort Worth floodway), or head downstream for just about 1/4 mile until you'll want to turn around due to a large spillway (turn around, don't drown!). Don't own any watercraft? No problem! Backwoods Paddlesports rents kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards March through November.

West Fork at White Settlement Trailhead

Just off White Settlement Rd. and Isbell Rd. in west Fort Worth you'll find the newly refurbished White Settlement Trailhead. Plenty of parking, water and restroom facilities, and a gradual ramp to the launch point land this spot second on my list. Once you drop in, you can travel about 3/4 mile upstream until you reach a low water dam. If you choose to head downstream, it is a 4.5-mile trip as you paddle next to Rockwood Golf Course and through seemingly towering levees until you arrive at the aforementioned confluence of the West Fork and Clear Fork at Panther Island.

West Fork Below Lake Worth Dam

You'll need some determination to access this stretch of river but I promise you, it's 100% worth it. Heading towards Burger's Lake via Meandering Rd., turn off onto Anahuac Ave. right before you cross the West Fork of the Trinity River. Once parked along the trail side of the road, it is about a 150-yard walk while carrying/dragging your kayak to a rock spillway just upstream of the Meandering Rd. bridge. You'll need to launch on the upstream side of the spillway so it helps to have a relatively lightweight boat. Once you're in enjoy a relaxing 1.5 mile, a pastoral paddle that will take you behind YMCA Camp Carter and eventually deposit you behind the Lake Worth dam and Marion Samson Park. The river narrows and shallows in places so be prepared to portage if the flow rate is low. Bonus: there's a waterfall at the end!

Fort Worth Nature Center

You'll find this established paddling trail in between Eagle Mountain Lake and Lake Worth and it's access points inside the confines of the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge. I recommend launching at Big River Paddle Launch and traveling downstream to Greer Island Bay. It is about a 6-mile round trip out-and-back, though I certainly suggest veering off the beaten path and exploring the marsh areas of the river. This natural stretch of river is home to an abundance of wildlife, including alligators, so keep a watchful eye. More information on the paddling trail can be found here: Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge Paddling Trail.

West Fork at Beach St.

Access to this section of the West Fork is located at Fort Worth Rowing Club at 1503 Beach St. Paddlers can choose between an urban trip upstream, towards downtown, of about 2 miles before encountering a low water dam or a more secluded escape downstream, past Gateway Park, of about 5 miles until reaching a low water dam just before Handley Ederville Rd. intersects the river.

 

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