Hidalgo Falls River Festival

April 18, 2004

Hidalgo Falls on the Brazos River
Near Navasota, Texas

The third annual Hidalgo Falls River Festival was held on Sunday, April 18, at the TRPA Hidalgo Falls property on the Brazos River near Navasota. About 100 paddlers and spectators attended this year's event. Dealer reps and outfitters started arriving on Saturday (after a day at the Austin PaddleFest), and many boaters came earlier on Saturday to enjoy the nice play levels on the river and to camp in the upstream and downstream campgrounds.

Events began at 10:00 a.m. with a 6.5-mile downriver race from just downstream of the falls to Washington on the Brazos State Park. A number of paddlers used the available shuttles simply to do a float trip. The downriver race was sponsored by the East Texas River Runners (contact Noel Kirkwood) and coordinated by James Williams. While the racers/floaters were on the river, others set up the slalom race course or tried out the latest whitewater kayaks on moving water. The slalom race began at 1:30 p.m., and the whitewater rodeo occurred at 3:00. The awards ceremony was at 5:30 p.m.

Directions to Hidalgo Falls: http://people.tamu.edu/~sdaniel/location.html

To get into the TRPA property, you normally have to meet someone at the locked gate or be certified (and thus get the gate combination). We met visitors at the gate when they arrived.

Here are some pictures (courtesy: Gordon Niessen) from this year's festival:

Entrance gatealternate road
    Entrance gate on Camp Road                                                   Alternate access road to festival site (inside gate)

boats1 boats2
    Vehicles at lower campsite/festival site                                    Campsites / festival site

    Festival Headquarters at Southwest Paddlesports Outpost      Gear Auction at Outpost

    Path down to Hidalgo Falls from festival site                           TRPA tent at top of path down to the Falls

    Hauling materials to set up the slalom course                           Out in the rapid

    Check in table for the downriver race                                    Gathering for the downriver race (below the Falls)

    Heading downriver through the ripples below the Falls            Start of the downriver race.

    Going for Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park                     Coming into the finish on the downriver race

    Meanwhile, at the 35-foot Slide upstream from the Falls         Landing in the river after going down the Slide

    Setting up the slalom course in the channel between the upper two islands

    Heading over to the other side of the river for the rodeo competition

    Getting a vantage point to check out the competition at the whitewater rodeo

For information on next year's event, contact the following people:

Downriver race/float trip: James Williams 979-776-5530 (no email)
Slalom race: John Criscione (jccriscione@aol.com)
Whitewater rodeo: Bruce Litton (b.litton@earthlink.net)
Exhibits, demos, and classes: Patti Carothers (swpaddle@swbell.net)
Overall coordination: Steve Daniel (sdaniel@people.tamu.edu)

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


Free primitive camping is available at the TRPA property (limited toilet and water facilities available). For information on Navasota motels, contact Steve Daniel.