Deep in southwest Texas, outside Del Rio, you’ll find one of the clearest rivers in the entire state. The Devils River State Natural Area is home to Devils River, a spring-fed river that cuts through scenic canyons and a jagged river bank. If you’re looking for a getaway that’s both off the grid and a challenging expedition, the Devils River is the place for you.
Because Devils River is so secluded, it’s important to prepare in advance for your trip. Contact Texas Parks and Wildlife for a list of rules and a Devils River access permit. Along with its breathtaking beauty, the river can hold serious danger, from strong headwinds to flash floods, so study up on safety precautions before you go. For a list of water safety tips, visit the TPWD website.
The paddling route from Baker’s Crossing to the park’s “Big Satan” unit is a popular trek for experienced paddlers. Baker’s Crossing to the Rough Canyon Marina is another popular route. For a shorter journey, travel from the park’s Del Norte unit to “Big Satan.” Water levels may be low in certain sections of the river. Contact Texas Parks and Wildlife for more information on current water levels.
Consider finding a fishing guide or contacting an outfitter such as Amistad Expeditions, which will help you rent a boat, prepare for your journey and provide a shuttle to the river.
Before setting out, remember that much of the river runs past landowners’ private property, so be sure to stay within the riverbed to respect private property.
The Devils River is a four-hour drive from Austin and a 6.5-hour drive from Dallas. To get to the state park from Del Rio, travel 45 miles north on U.S. 277. Turn left on Dolan Creek Road and go 22 miles to the Devils River State Natural Area headquarters. To reserve a campsite for $10, contact Texas Parks and Wildlife. Day use of the park is free.
The Devils River connects two State Natural Area properties, Del Norte and the Dan A. Hughes units, which encompass 37,000 acres.
What to See
The Devils River State Natural Area is a crystal clear river in the middle of the rugged desert, providing the best of both worlds for adventurers.
The park offers swimming, fishing for largemouth bass and paddling in one of the most pristine rivers in Texas.
One of the most gorgeous views along the river is Dolan Falls, located halfway between Del Rio and Sonora in Val Verde County.
The river winds into the Amistad Reservoir, a reservoir where the Devils River meets the Rio Grande. Also known as Lake Amistad, the reservoir was formed in 1969 by the construction of the Amistad Dam.The Amistad National Recreation Area provides a spot for camping, hiking and viewing rock art.
For more information on preserving and protecting this Texas treasure, visit the Devils River Conservancy.