Guadalupe River Trail: Hiking at Canyon Lake, Texas

The Guadalupe River Trail can be accessed on the southeast side of Canyon Lake. It’s about 45 minutes northeast of San Antonio, and southwest of Austin, Texas. This dog friendly trail is not very long, but it’s well-shaded and provides an excellent view of the river. Journey along the hiking trail, or take a dip in the river. Elevation changes do require some lower body work in order to step up or decelerate your body.

An adventurers view of the Guadalupe River from the hiking trail.
The Guadalupe River Trail

The Guadalupe River trail is primarily out-and-back, and there are at least 28 markers along the trail. My total step count was 5,041 from the time we left the car until we returned. The trail is two miles long, at best, and there are only a handful of things to do near the river. When you finish, visit the Canyon Lake Dam at the neighboring Overlook Park. You will not regret it.

How to Get to the Guadalupe River Trail in Texas

Address: 16510 S Access Rd, Canyon Lake, TX 78133

Use the address link to find the best route underneath, or around Canyon Lake. If you are coming from Austin, you will probably head south on I-35 and exit at San Marcos. From San Antonio you can take I-35 through New Braunfels, or US-281 through Bulverde.

Things to Do at the Guadalupe River Trail at Canyon Lake

  • Swimming
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Picknicking
  • Dog walking

Swimming and fishing are the most popular things to do at this park. However, it’s a great place to find a secluded hike. Of course, you can also walk your dog, or relax at one of the benches along the river.

A rest area near the more active section of the river.
The Guadalupe River is dog friendly

Hiking the River Trail

The Guadalupe River Trail is free to use, and the parking lot has no gate. Before entering the river trail you may see a path on the left side that appears to go down to the river. This is most likely from water runoff and is not part of the river trail. Although, it will lead you down to the river where you can see the dam. The water from Canyon Lake exits the dam and continues down the river.

There is a dilapidated map near the Guadalupe River Trailhead. If it has rained recently be cautious because the trail will be slippery when wet. It may be a good idea to wear bug spray since there are mosquitoes and other flying insects. The shade is excellent, but the bugs may be enjoying it as well. There are NO restrooms or portable toilets at this park. However, there are restrooms nearby at Scenic Overlook Park.

The Guadalupe River and a rope swing for cooling off in the river.
A river swing near the trail

Wildflowers and the Dead End

The front end of the Guadalupe River Trail is within the woods and runs parallel to the river. It is very peaceful, quiet and possible to walk along the river on some rocky areas. Look across the river and you will see a few very nice residences. Imagine having a house which backs to the Guadalupe River!

About halfway down the trail you may see a fun rope swing over the river. We did not take advantage of the situation, but it looks like one good way to cool off. The water in this area has a noticeable green tint, but it’s crystal clear as it exits the Canyon Lake Dam.

The wildflower trail at Guadalupe River Trail near Canyon Lake.
Wildflowers flank Guadalupe River Trail in the spring

Eventually the trail will deviate from the river and bring you out into an open field. There were many flowers out in this area when we went so keep that in mind if you are allergic to any flying insects. The trail continues on a bit farther and abruptly seems to end near a cliff within the woods.

The cliff has no barrier so maintain a safe distance. There was also what appeared to be an abandoned baseball field in this area next to a street. It may be possible to get back to the parking lot from the road, but we decided to backtrack. Why not see the Guadalupe River one more time?

At the edge of the cliff on Guadalupe River Trail in Texas.
The trail dead ends at a cliff

Reasons to Visit

The Guadalupe River Trail is short and sweet. It requires a fair amount of lower body work depending on your level of fitness. This is a natural trail within the woods for the most part, and it offers a fantastic view of the river. Walking and swimming in the river is possible. Fishing is also allowed. The natural trails are very narrow and you may find it challenging to get around other hikers.

During the weekend expect the trail to be more crowded. We went on a weekday and it was not crowded. Surprisingly, the most popular time to visit the trail is early afternoon. If you are looking for more dog friendly things to do, the Guadalupe River Trail is a “must see” in Texas Hill Country. We loved it. Of course, our dog loved it as well. Next time we go, we may just get our feet wet!

Hiking the Guadalupe River Trail Video

Things to Do near Guadalupe Trail

Unfortunately, there aren’t many other hiking trails which are free and open to the public around Canyon Lake. However, there is a spectacular park nearby. In fact, Overlook Park is within walking distance of this trail.

The Canyon Lake Dam can be seen from Guadalupe River Trail, and connects Overlook Park to North Park. The dam is a spectacular hike these days. It might be the best place to go for a casual walk in Texas. Overlook Park also offers swimming in Canyon Lake.

I’m a certified personal trainer in San Antonio. After adopting Abbey, I created Places for Pups to help you get outside, exercise with your dog and have fun doing it.

We have mastered hiking in Texas Hill Country. Though we emerge from the woods unharmed, we are not responsible for you or your pets. You are solely responsible for trying exercises, or places discussed on this site.

Grab the best hiking gear and go dog friendly.  I wish you good fortune on the trails to come.


David Earley


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Diego Herrera
Diego Herrera
September 1, 2020 5:48 am

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