Hidalgo Falls River Festival

April 16-17, 2011

Hidalgo Falls on the Brazos River
Near Navasota, Texas


The tenth annual Hidalgo Falls River Festival was held Saturday and Sunday, April 16-17, at the TRPA Hidalgo Falls property on the Brazos River near Navasota. The festival, which is the year's major fund-raising event to maintain and improve paddlers' access to the rapid, has in the past attracted more than 200 paddlers and spectators. This year's low water conditions meant that the event was especially inviting for paddlers who are just starting out in moving water and families that would like to give kids a chance to explore the shallows (where fresh water clams can be found). Most of the 50 or so visitors took advantage of simply being able to relax at the property, while paddlers played in the rapid and enjoyed float trips down to Hwy 105 (3.5 miles). Our new bathhouse, equipped with showers, flush toilets, and lavatories, made camping appealing to families.

Events included:

We hope that people will offer to coordinate float trips down to Hwy 105, do impromptu tours of the property (e.g., identifying plants or talking about the geology of the falls) when interested people are around on Saturday and Sunday, and swap information on where to paddle in the state. This is all very informal.

This year we are asking people to donate at least $5/day/person and $10/weekend to help cover expenses (e.g., electricity, property taxes).

As in years past, on Saturday there will be a 28-mile downriver race from the Koppe Bridge Landing south of College Station (near Wellborn) to Hidalgo. Recreational division paddlers will leave from the Koppe Bridge starting line at 9:00, and competition division paddlers will leave at 10:00. Registration opens at 7:30 at the put-in. Racers are required to pay $15 to register for the race in addition to their donations for the festival ($5/day, $10 weekend/person). Three main divisions with a ladies subdivision and a tandem subdivision: adventure class (recreational boats), canoe class (only canoes paddled with a single blade), unlimited (any thing goes).

We have electricity for those with extension cords, but you will need to bring your own food and drinks this year. Camping is available only at the lower campground. For a map of the property, click on the Hidalgo Falls website. People will start arriving on Friday afternoon, so someone should be able to let you in the locked gate if you are not currently certified to access the property. (Opportunities to join TRPA and become certified to use the property will be available throughout the weekend.)

Here are some pictures of the festival grounds and falls (courtesy: David Toledo) from last year's fall (October 2010) festival:

Overlooking Rapid Campfire
Campground chatter campsite overlooking river
Four boats in rapid
Canoe in Rapid
Grassy island
Kayak with potholes
Sandy Island
technical rocks

Video of playing in the rapid

Some pictures of the campground (courtesy: Andrew Stone and Skip Morris) from the 2006 spring festival:

campground campground

For general information about the festival, contact Steve Daniel (sdaniel@philosophy.tamu.edu)

Information about the location of Hidalgo Falls, TRPA ownership, pictures, etc. can be found at the Hidalgo Falls website: