Escapes Floating Low

Whether you and your Igloo are paddling your way past the peaceful sandy shores of the Sabine or shooting the Class IV rapids in the Lower Canyons of the Rio Grande, touring Texas’ many rivers is a thrill. But none is so popular as the white-water action of the Guadalupe River in the Hill Country.

Laid-back Texans love to pull on their cutoffs, form long, floating chains of sunburned bodies and play river rat along the Guadalupe during the summer months. The Lower Guadalupe is a 22-mile stretch between the Canyon Lake Dam (just north of New Braunfels) and Cypress Bend Park. All along this stretch are businesses that rent canoes, kayaks, rafts and inner tubes. The 23-mile stretch of the Upper Guadalupe isn’t as crowded in the summer, providing a more obstacle-free float.

An excellent place to base your summer river adventure is Gruene, Texas, just off Interstate 35 a few miles north of New Braunfels. Founded in 1872 by Ernst Gruene and his family, the town was revived in 1974 when the old Gruene Estate was renovated and renamed the Green Mansion Inn, (512) 629-2641. The house is filled with antiques and Victorian pieces. The old Gruene mule barn in back of the house has since been subdivided into cottages that overlook the Gua-dalupe, which is the main attraction during June, July and August. Packaged river trips are available through the Gruene River Co., (512) 625-2800.

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