Kayak camping on the Colorado River of Texas

In my home state of Colorado, finding a place to camp is relatively easy. On much of the federal land owned by agencies like the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service, visitors can find their own primitive camping spots and stay for up to two weeks.

That’s not the case in Texas with most of the land in private hands and a heavily-used state park system requiring permits for camping. But there’s one exception: river islands. In this state, where rivers are publicly owned even if both banks are in private lands, the river island is a no-mans-land where campers can set up tents in a wild space free of park rangers and permits.

That’s why, for my 31st birthday last October, my girlfriend Jess Mrozinski and I embarked on our first kayak-camping trip on the Colorado River upstream of Bastrop.

Colorado River – Little Webberville Park to FM 969 bridge

Offers: Kayaking, camping
Location: Little Webberville Park (100 Water St, Webberville, TX 78621) to FM 969 bridge at Utley (30.167871, -97.403240). No overnight parking at Little Webberville or Webberville parks.  
Trail miles: 20 miles of river
Restrooms: No restrooms or potable water

Jess and I had already visited the Colorado River a couple of times before our trip. We had used Hipcamp – similar to Airbnb, but for campsites – to book a private campsite along the banks of the Colorado east of Austin. I’m writing this post from that campsite, where yesterday we watched an aerial battle between a bald eagle and an osprey over fishing territory.

I grew up a few miles from the banks of the other Colorado River, the one that flows through seven states as it drains most of the American Southwest. Europeans named both rivers rather clumsily, but the Texas river clearly had the name first, as far back as the late 17th century.

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