Swim with Dogs at Guadalupe River State Park

Guadalupe River State Park is a fantastic, dog friendly area to go hiking, canoeing, or swimming. Abbey and I, visited this park recently to do some hiking along the Guadalupe River. Although there are a variety of things to do at this Texas State Park, we spent our morning on the Bald Cypress Trail. We stayed dry, but captured some amazing images of the river.

The south side of the park provides the easiest path to the river, and we plan on returning to swim and canoe the paddling trail. Guadalupe River State Park is about 13 miles east of Boerne, and 30 miles north of San Antonio in Hill Country. The park is open from 8am – 10pm, and does charge a fee of $7 (kids are free).

The Guadalupe River looks dog friendly from here
The Guadalupe River looks dog friendly from here

How to Get to Guadalupe River State Park

Address: 3350 Park Rd 31, Spring Branch, TX 78070

This Texas State Park is split by the Guadalupe River. The HQ is located on the south side of the river. You must enter from Park Road 31, via TX-46, to check in at the HQ. Getting to the north side of the park requires an additional 10 mile drive around the outside of the park.

The Guadalupe River is Dog Friendly and Full of Amenities

  • Dog friendly
  • Weekend events
  • Swimming
  • Fishing
  • Canoeing
  • Natural and gravel hiking trails (16 miles)
  • Camping
  • Horseback riding
  • Mountain biking
  • Discovery center
  • Tours

As you can see, there is a giant list of things to do at Guadalupe River State Park in Texas. The park hosts events on the weekends and provides a refreshing way to cool off, and have fun in the summer. Hiking along the Guadalupe River is dog friendly if you prefer to keep your paws on land.

Guadalupe River State Park Trail Map

A view of the Guadalupe River and rock cliff from the overlook.
The Guadalupe River from Bald Cypress

Hiking the Bald Cypress Trail

It’s about a two mile drive from the park entrance to the Guadalupe River. There are parking lots, trails, and camping areas along the way. If you plan on doing any activity near the river, you will need to drive through all that to get there. The trail nearest the river is the Bald Cypress Trail. The gravel trail is hardly half a mile, but provides an overlook and access to the Guadalupe River. This is where you will go if you plan on swimming with your dog in the river.

The shallow water is clear at Guadalupe River State Park.
The Guadalupe River

The Bald Cypress Trail is not a loop, but does connect to the road at two separate points. The hike is not challenging and good for beginners. We also took the opportunity to walk along the river where several others were swimming, and fishing.

Abbey is not a fan of swimming, but on this day I wished she was because of the heat. Perhaps next time! We did enjoy the river view as we hiked as far as we could in both directions. I’m extremely surprised there is no bridge across because there are several trails north of the river. The drive to the other side of the river is greater than 10 miles! Install a bridge please.

The river area is well shaded at Guadalupe River State Park.
Shade along the Guadalupe River

Things To Do at Guadalupe River State Park

Guadalupe River State Park has many amenities and potential activities to keep you busy. There are approximately eight miles of trails south of the river. Some are loops and some are not, but they each connect to another trail, or roadway. These are good for hiking, biking and horseback riding.

The Painted Bunting Loop crosses the road through the park at two points. North of the river there are several miles of trails which are good for hiking and biking. However, getting to these trails is more like traveling to another park. The historic Bauer House is located in this area, but we did not see it since we were south of the river.

The Bald Cypress Trail

If you follow the park entrance road all the way to the furthest parking lot, you will have the option to swim, fish, or paddle. Prior to reaching the river, there are three parking areas near campsites. One has water and electric access, while the other two are for tents.

If you would like to learn more about the features of the park, or volunteer, you can do so at the Discovery Center. The Center is directly south of the river in the final parking area, and open from 10am – 4pm on weekends. Check the park website for events which typically include nature walks and kids programs.

The amphitheater next to the Discovery Center.
The Discovery Center Amphitheatre

Next to the center is an amphitheater where they probably host their events. Behind it there is a very short wooded loop trail. The trail is very well shaded, but does also connect to an open trail leading to another river overlook. There were many portable toilets available during our visit due to construction. They appeared to be in the process of building a public restroom.

The portable toilets were put in a most opportune place next to the Discovery Center sign.
What a discovery!

Enjoy the Dog Friendly Guadalupe River

We did not see any wildlife during our visit, but it was a hot summer morning. There were a few people swimming and fishing, but the park was not heavily populated. We got inside using our Texas State Parks Pass, which was purchased for $70, and gets us inside any Texas State Park for one year. We do a lot of hiking with our dog and will make good use of a yearly pass. If you do not have a pass, it will cost $7 to enter Guadalupe River State Park.

The water becomes more rapid downstream.
The rapid Guadalupe River

A couple of areas were under construction, but hopefully the work will be concluded before we return. If interested in events on the weekend, keep an eye on the parks website. There appear to be weekly events such as hiking tours, archery, and geocaching. There are many things to do at Guadalupe River State Park, and not enough time in the day to do them all. We will return in the near future to do some of the things which we did not get around to doing the first visit.

Abbey would rather be in the tree than the water

Remember to head to the north side of the park to get a different view of the river, if you don’t mid the drive. You may even spot an armadillo or two as we did on our hike.

If you are interested in more activities near the water check out:

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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