Hidalgo Falls River Festival

March 21-22, 2009

Hidalgo Falls on the Brazos River
Near Navasota, Texas


The eighth annual Hidalgo Falls River Festival will be held Saturday and Sunday, March 21-22, 2009, 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.

Despite the recent rains, water levels will be low, so we will not have our typical whitewater rodeo, and the island slalom race through the falls will be a bit scrapey. Overall this year's event will be more like our early events, where paddlers, their families, and friends come simply to explore the property, check out the tidepool-like river features, play in the rapid, have relaxing floats up and down the river, and enjoy hanging out with and meeting other boaters from around the state.

The schedule is very fluid: we hope that people will offer to coordinate float trips down to Hwy 105 (3.5 miles), 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. The event is kid-friendly: the water will be low enough to do a lot of exploring in the shallows.

This year we are asking people to donate at least $5/day/person and $10/weekend to help cover expenses (e.g., toilets, electricity) and to support the construction costs of our new well, septic system, and bathhouse (under construction).

As in years past, on Saturday there will be a 28-mile downriver race from the Koppe Bridge Landing south of College Station 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). Classes include:

Aluminum Solo Canoe Tandem Men's Canoe ICF K1 Recreational Solo
Standard Solo Unlimited Tandem Mixed Canoe Tandem Mixed Kayak Unlimited

Bruce Trainum (mad.moose@yahoo.com) is the coordinator for the race. Contact him for information about registration and the (additional) cost for race insurance.

On Sunday (usually begins around 10:30) there will be a leisurely 3.5 mile float trip (or perhaps even a round-trip paddle) down to Hwy 105. Because the river is so low this year, the rapid provides lots of opportunities for families and interested individuals to examine the curious formations created on the riverbed. We also would like to provide informational tours on the geology, plants, and wildlife of the property; so if you would like to share what you know about the composite formations that create the rapid, or how to spot and deal with poison ivy, let us know and we will post a list of places and times for interested folks to get together.

This year we have a new well with drinking water and water for showers. Flush toilets may have to wait until next year, but we'll have something available for when nature calls. We have electricity for those with extension cords, but you will need to bring your own food and drinks this year. As in the past, camping is available at our upper and lower campgrounds. 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 (courtesy: Andrew Stone and Skip Morris) from the 2006 festival:

alternate road campground

For pictures of the first festival in 2001, click here.

For pictures of the 2004 festival, click here.

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: