Hike and Hassled to The Narrows


The following write up is by Nathan Poole and tells the story of his recent hike to see The Narrows with some of his friends. I am publishing it on the Texas River Bum website because it speaks to how difficult the hike really is and illustrates some of the issues with land owners. I have written my opinion at the end of his write up – Dave

Story and Photos by Nathan Poole

Before I tell the story of our hike to The Narrows, I want to give a warning: if you are just looking for a pretty swimming hole, don’t do this hike. The region is blessed with Jacob’s Well, Hamilton Pool, Krause Springs and many others that are all better if you just want to go for a swim in a beautiful environment. If you love hiking (or kayaking/canoeing when there is water in the river), are well prepared, and just absolutely have to see The Narrows, than go for it! It is absolutely gorgeous and peaceful. That said, you should just know what you’re getting into.

Now I realize that as you read this that I may come off fairly negative at times, but I’m recalling it all exactly how it happened for us so that anyone attempting this hike can know what to expect and what to bring. The video of the hike on Texas River Bum’s Dry Blanco article made me think it was long but relatively easy. I was severely mistaken about the relatively easy part (at least when unprepared). However, the whole time in the hike I was thinking if we had been better prepared it would have been a great hike! Don’t get me wrong, parts of it were fun and beautiful, but after a while it got miserable, mainly due to our mistakes.

After mistakenly thinking The Narrows were at the Narrows Recreation Area on Lake Travis, I found out the hard way that they were not actually at that location. I spent hours searching for the true location of The Narrows. Finally, I found the Texas River Bum website and his post on the Dry Blanco. His site was invaluable for a trip to The Narrows. Without the info from his site (the true location, directions on where to park, where to find all the laws to stay legal, flow rates to look for, etc.) our recent trip to The Narrows would have been impossible.

After finding out where The Narrows was actually located, I was set on going there. However, I didn’t want to hike that far, so I tried getting in contact with someone who had access. I spent hours searching for people who might have access to The Narrows. I messaged people on Facebook and YouTube who had pics/videos posted, I emailed anyone that I could find that was related to the retreat there, and called the groundskeeper of the retreat when one of the previously mentioned people gave me his number. When I called, he shut me down before I could even finish asking. He didn’t even let me finish that I was willing to pay for access or anything. I was told that he wasn’t as friendly as the previous groundskeeper, so that is unfortunate. After trying everything I could think of, I realized the only option was hiking.

After checking the Texas River Bum website on what conditions were necessary for the river to be dry enough to walk (we don’t own any kayaks or canoes), I checked the flow rates on the USGS site and checked the rainfall for the whole year. Everything looked good, so I started planning with others. I knew it would be a tough hike and definitely felt there would be safety in numbers. There ended up being five of us (3 guys, 2 gals) who made the trip to Blanco.


We had a late start on the morning of our trip and set off in the River around 8:30-9:00 a.m. When you first enter the riverbed from the bridge, on your right you’ll see a tree that has fallen with a no trespassing sign and a typed up paper that someone posted. They lie to tell you the hike is illegal and all that jazz to try to dissuade people.

narrows fence

This was just the beginning of lies and bullying we experienced there (except the sign was right about it being long and rough). I had already heeded the Texas River Bum’s advice and had familiarized myself with the laws so I knew we were okay to continue. I had even printed off and highlighted copies of all the laws to share in case we had issues with anyone (do this!).


The hike started off fine enough. There were a couple of short, calf deep water crossings at the beginning and a few pools at the edges during the first quarter of the trip, but it quickly went bone dry after that. The hike had some beautiful views along the way. There was a variety of substrates; dried mud, sand/grit, gravel, stones, and boulders. When we got to the rough large rock areas, it got tough.


There were rocky areas scattered throughout the hike, but towards the last half of the hike, it seemed the entire riverbed was comprised of large rocks. It was miserable. Our feet were killing us, we were hot, exhausted, and two members of our group were getting sick from the heat and exertion. It seemed like we’d never make it.


What made it worse was that we never knew exactly how far we had to go. Being poor college kids, we didn’t purchase the book from the Texas River Bum on the Blanco River. Not having good maps or a GPS really made it worse. We had a street map pulled up on a phone, but those aren’t exactly the best for river travel… Why we didn’t purchase the book beforehand or an app during the hike, I know not. So anyways, it went on and on. Forever. We took breaks and drank lots of water and kept on pushing. I’m sure everyone was thinking about turning back but it wasn’t mentioned, at least not to the whole group. It was miserable. Jokes were made about The Narrows not actually being there, and I’m sure there was some fear about that being true. Had I not looked it up on Google Earth, I would’ve been afraid of that too. We didn’t know how we would make the hike back, but we kept going, and going, and going.

And going.


The vegetation was increasing so we felt we were getting close, but the map wasn’t too easy to use to interpret the exact distance. Finally, we made it to a pool just up river of The Narrows. It was one of the most heavenly pools ever! After cooling off while being assaulted by minnows, we took off and finally caught sight of The Narrows. Of course, there was a no trespassing sign at the beginning of them, but once again the sign wasn’t in accordance with the law.


There were about 4 or 5 people swimming when we got there. As we entered, they moved off further down and out of sight. We jumped in and swam for a while.


Not too long after, we were joined by a lady in normal clothes. She awkwardly stared at us a while, so we made conversation. We found out she was one of the land owners. She wasn’t friendly, but wasn’t rude. She was really curious about my video gear, for some reason. She then jumped in and went down the narrows. Then who I can only assume was her mother came down in bathing suit and it was really funny watching someone at her age bail off into the swimming holes like she did! The two ladies went on and I started to get set up for a cable cam video shot through the steep walls.


As I was doing so, the Sheriff’s department showed up. They called us up to check our ID’s and to possibly put us in jail for trespassing. As we were packing our things, she asked where we had come from. I told her that we had hiked the river. She said if that was the case, we’d be fine. Then, a landowner or perhaps the groundskeeper for the retreat called out from the opposite side of the river in a very angry tone, asking if we had crossed fences. I replied that we had, but before I could finish explaining that these were fences across the riverbed, he threw his hands up and yelled something along the lines of, “There ya go, officer!” I told him that it was in the navigability laws that I was allowed to cross those riverbed fences and that I had print offs of the law and invited him to come review them with me. He started yelling about penal codes and that we were trespassing and he had already read and knew the laws, yet he wouldn’t come review the laws with me.


Interestingly enough, the law enforcement officer didn’t agree with him and basically dismissed him, telling him to call his sheriff and have them contact her with his name and address. His outright bullying and lying by ignoring certain laws so that he could accuse people to fit his agenda of keeping people out made it hard not to get angry back at him. Thankfully, he left and we went up and spoke with the deputies. The one who did all the talking was interesting. She was trying to intimidate us with tough talk and vulgar, violent language in one sentence, but then admitting we had followed all the laws in the next. She insulted our intelligence in one sentence and then complimented me for doing my homework in the next. It was kind of weird, but at least she knew the laws and didn’t try to get us inappropriately, like some of the landowners would have liked to have done. Overall, I guess I’m glad we dealt with her; I’m sure it could have been worse with someone else.

She told us the other county sheriff’s office would check our cars and she advised we head back. The drivers in our group were worried about their cars, so we decided to head back. Of course if the cars were in danger of being towed it wouldn’t have helped, because it took so long to return. Before we did, I offered to pay the deputies for water and told them we were low. It was now 4 p.m., we had originally planned on waiting for it too cool off before leaving. They said they didn’t have any, but we should call 911 if we ran out and were too hot or light headed. The landowner that had come with the cops just sat beside them, still not looking any of us in the eye, while we were pleading for water and telling them we were almost out. Pretty obvious we wouldn’t be getting help from him but I also realize this was our planning mistake.

After we got a ways away, I remembered I hadn’t gotten the shots I wanted and was really bummed. At the time I never wanted to do that long, rough hike again, but I really wanted those shots, so I was pretty bummed. The two people who had been sick were feeling better after cooling off in the pools, eating, drinking, and taking medicine from my first aid kit.


Shortly after starting back, I got to feeling pretty rough. We took a longer break than usual and I tried to eat some and then we started off again. Thankfully the break and water helped and I got to feeling better. The sun was getting low, so there was more shade but it also gave us a sense of urgency to beat nightfall. The way back was really slow because one of us had bad blisters (around 15) on their feet and couldn’t walk by themselves by the time we got back to the car. I won’t go on about how long the walk is again, I did that earlier.


A truck stopped us on one of the private roads that crosses the river to tell us the sheriffs from both counties had called him to tell him he had 5 trespassers on his land. I replied that the sheriff had told us to come this way, and he acknowledged we were legal if we stayed in the riverbed. Of course, just like everyone else so far, he accused us even though he knew we were legal. If the sheriffs thought we were trespassing, they’d have taken us in, not allowed us to go back the way we came. He then tried to scare us by telling us not to get run over by the animals in the river bed. It was pretty juvenile of him… I was too tired to argue and I desperately wanted to buy water, so I changed topic and tried to buy water from him, but he denied. I guess the ride to the house in his truck was too much work to do for someone who dares go against their wishes (even though follows the laws) and go on “their” rivers. I could totally understand if we were trespassing or littering, but we weren’t and they all knew that.

Anyways, we rationed water to just a sip to wet our mouths and throats, but still ran out of water with a couple miles left to go. It was rough. If it had not been night, we would have called 911, because we barely made it as it was. Three of our group went ahead to go get water for everyone while one of us stayed behind with the one who could hardly walk. We all got back after dark, our 12.5 hour trip completed using the flashlights we had been lucky enough to pack. Cold water never tasted as good as when we got to our cooler! When I was putting stuff in my car, a guy stopped and asked if I needed help. I wish I had ran into him on the hike. Imagine that, a person who actually seems to care about others.


There was a note on our cars from a deputy that said, “Do not access The Narrows from here.” I’m pretty sure if we had done something wrong, he’d have had us towed or ticketed us, so I think this was more bullying to try to intimidate people not to go.


If I am wrong and we were parked too close, than I am very grateful for his being lenient. But I’m pretty sure we were parked right. This was the one area I hadn’t fully researched the laws on.

This community tries to keep it hidden like they’re hiding bodies out there or something. I totally would understand if we were trashing the place or trespassing, but I was very strict on informing everyone about the laws when they joined up on the trip. People tried busting us, but never found anything against us because we followed the laws. My opinion of the landowners we ran into isn’t too high. If you buy land on a public waterway, you have to realize your preference to be greedy and keep people out doesn’t trump state law. And I don’t buy for one second that they just care so much about whatever endangered species may be there. I’ve seen tons of people there on all the pictures and videos I’ve seen on Facebook and YouTube on The Narrows, and while researching the retreat. On the blogs I’ve read, people will be there already swimming, as was the case when we got there. Last I checked, our feet don’t harm anything more than theirs do. The hike itself is so rough that it will never be a huge destination with lots of people visiting. Personally, I wish lots of people would legally make the trip. I wish they’d do it so that the Sheriffs would get tired of hearing the whining, crying, and lying of the landowners and hopefully everyone would stop harassing law-abiding citizens. However, I don’t want people going unprepared, like we did. With preparation, the whole trip would be fun.

There were quite a few things we learned on this trip that I feel should be shared with anyone that might be planning an attempt. There are a few things you should know before going:

• Take tons of water. I would say 6-10 Liters per person, if possible.
• Have good shoes that you know are good for rough terrain.
• Condition yourself. The two people in our group who have gone hiking recently were the only two who never got sick. Do some challenging prep hikes.
• Print off and learn the laws from the TPWD website. My research saved us.
• Be prepared for lies and bullying. Make sure everyone in your party can control their temper. Yelling and cussing back at the deputies and landowners will probably land you in trouble.
• Start early, time your hike (to calculate return), and take a GPS and maps.
• Take flashlights- just in case you are coming back later than expected, like we did.
• Take a first aid kit- I used the ankle wraps, gauze, bandages, and medicine in mine.
• Take socks if you’re wearing Tevas, Chacos, or any kind of sandals. You’ll be glad.
• Park legally. Research it.
• Enter only from the bridge. Do not take any shortcuts through any of the bends by cutting across land. This is a long hike and there is no way of getting around it. I’m pretty sure that as soon as people see your car parked, they alert everyone.
• Never step foot out of the river bed.
• Take a couple snacks, but not too much. Water is most important.
• Keep weight down. Don’t bring clothes or excess camera equipment unless you’re prepared for back aches.
• Take rope. A lot of it; 50 ft. minimum, 100 ft. would be great. The top pools of The Narrows are elevated above the others. Once you get down, it is too slippery to get up. If you go all the way down and then try to climb up and walk back to the start, the landowners can get you for trespassing, at least according to the deputy we dealt with (I’m not so sure you couldn’t argue that the banks outside of those wouldn’t count, but that might be pushing it and we didn’t risk it, we used rope). There are some rocks to tie to at the start.

Dave’s Op-Ed

Before I give my opinion on the legal aspects, I should probably point out to everyone that I thought the hike was fairly tough and until recently, I was doing 20 to 24 miles days in the mountains of California weeks at a time. Even now, in the cool months I can bang out 27 miles over rough trail in a day hike. So before tackling this hike in the heat, be certain of your experience and conditioning.

Now I want to be very clear, I am NOT a lawyer nor do I recommend you take my opinions as fact. If you get in trouble because you used my opinions as guidance, you are on your own.

With that disclaimer out of the way it appears that the landowners and local enforcement are attempting to use intimidation to keep people out of The Narrows. As I understand it a lot of college age groups have been driving down the road near the retreat and jumping the fence to cross their property as a short and easy access to The Narrows. Also very illegal and I hope each of these trespassers gets arrested. However, I think that they’ve over reacted and are also running a campaign of intimidation to keep people from hiking the riverbed. All of my research has shown that it is legal to hike this section of riverbed as long as you stay in the riverbed.

The parking is another matter. I spoke to a couple of engineers at TXDOT and they agreed that it is most likely legal to park well away from the bridge (at least out of sight of it) along the side of the road, walk up next to the bridge then step off into the riverbed. However, they pointed out that given that the local commissioner and sheriff are elected by the same landowners that are complaining, it is fully possible that you could be ticketed and towed regardless of the legality. In that case you would have to go to trial court and these are the issues you would need to address:

1. Was there county ordinance declared to post the no parking signs. This is normally printed on the sign but these don’t have it.

2. Does the term “near” hold up to legal scrutiny as it would be completely at the desecration of the deputy to determine that distance.

3. Does the sign meet TXDOT standards? The engineer I spoke to had copious doubts.

4. Have the county provide a PLAT map of the area pre-trial so the easement agreements can be determined. The road appears to be a 20′ width so any amount over that width would be split on each side. (ex. a 40′ easement would mean the county’s public easement would extend 10′ to each side of the road.

I would think that any 1 of these could get the case dismissed, if there were a few of them you might be able to take action in civil court against the county. I really don’t know how that works but using intimidation does seem like something you should be able to fight against.

43 Replies to “Hike and Hassled to The Narrows”

  1. Wow! I’ve heard about the narrows and always wanted to check it out. I think I will ASAP and we will take your advice, sounds like a great adventure.

    Thanks for publishing this article!

  2. I hate to say it, but you were trespassing the entire trip. I remember about 8 years ago, Slick Rick perry signed SB 155, that states that any land including river bed, is owned by the land owner. You are free to float on the water, the minute you touch the riverbed, you ARE trespassing! You are free to navigate the navigatable water way by boat or floatation device, but do not touch the bottom! Unless you want a 500 dollar agricultural trespassing violation. We used to off-road in the llano riverbed before our slick gov sided with the land owners! They used to only own 100ft beyond the 100 yr flood plain, but now the land owner owns to the middle of the river bed! Just FYI! You might get a very mean land owner that might fire at you, or an actual sheriff that absolutely knows the law!

    1. Mike, check out http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publications/nonpwdpubs/water_issues/rivers/navigation/riddell/index.phtml and you will see that SB155 only applies to vehicles driving in riverbeds. What it does is specifically exclude vehicles that drive on land as being excluded from the standard navigation laws.

      They clarify the dry riverbed issue in a FAQ page, “Q: What if the stream is dry? – A: A navigable stream does not lose its public character during periods of low water. A stream is navigable if the bed of the stream averages 30 feet wide from the mouth up, regardless of the actual water level on a given day. (http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publications/nonpwdpubs/water_issues/rivers/navigation/kennedy/kennedy_faq.phtml)

      1. Cresi,

        I love the rivers in the Hill Country. They’re beautiful when they have water.

        The actual site for the the TPWD information in the article that you mention actually begins one page before the link you provide.

        You can see the beginning if you go to:


        TDPW has an important disclaimer at the bottom of that page about the article:

        • This article does not represent official views of Texas Parks And Wildlife Department, and is not intended as legal advice.

        I’m not sure Nathan and his friends should be relying on things like that to trek across river-bottoms on ranch land in Texas? His description of the deputies sounds strange. I’ve had a few run-ins with TX deputies but not in Blanco. They’re all over the map and they aren’t lawyers for sure. One time my favourite dog (for good reason) bit a deputy sheriff on the butt. It was a painful – for both of us.

        I also found this link on the Narrows.


        No offence to anyone whose pro-whatever, but after watching this, I can sort of see why the owners and sheriffs are suspicious and less than friendly. Those folks don’t look like college kids to me. Watch them go past those signs!

        1. Albert,

          Boyd Kenny’s paper (which that TPWD article is drafted from) is widely regarded as the most complete and thoroughly researched source for matter’s regarding public access on Texas rivers. The reality is that the Texas legislator has never delegated the task of creating access policy to any agency and so have by default retained that task to themselves, something they have no interest in. Regardless the laws are still in place and court cases all of Texas have set precedent in the matter. These cases were the primary reference for Mr. Kenny when drafted this paper. So while it is always possible an upper court might decide to go against precedent rulings, it is highly unlikely.

          I watched the video you posted. I think that if this group was not there with permission of the owner then he should press charges. The sheriff can subpoena Vimeo for the identification of the poster and at least charge him. I really don’t want there to be a misunderstanding here, I vehemently oppose trespassing and littering. I just can’t believe that the few people who make the difficult hike up that riverbed are a problem. I think the effort should be toward the people breaking the law to get there the easy way.

  3. I have been trying to make this hike all year. Something had come up every time we tried. I plan on making the hike with my dog this week before the time and weather change. Thanks for sharing your story. I will make sure to print and reread the laws before going. Sucks that people can’t share the beauty.

  4. Can you hike from the other side when the water is very low? Start hiking from Valley View and go up. Is it shorter? Or more difficult?

  5. I would just like to point out some additional legal issues that can apply when dealing with law enforcement.
    First, you are perfectly within your rights to not talk to a law enforcement officer. You don’t have to answer their questions or say anything to them. In my opinion one should never answer their questions and should film all encounters with them.
    Second, you don’t have to identify yourself to an officer in Texas unless you are under arrest. The Texas failure to ID law is clear on this, as is court precedent.
    Third, police must have probable cause to arrest you and reasonable suspicion to merely detain you. I don’t see how being in a riverbed where it is perfectly legal to be could amount to either of those. They would need some kind of evidence that you were trespassing at some point. It seems like it would be easy to beat in court if they did decide to arrest you.
    I’d like to make the trip and film any encounters with police like I always do. Also right now the area is totally flooded, but at some point pretty soon I imagine that you will be able to paddle most if not the whole way there. Just guessing because I’ve never been. If I do get any video, I will post it on my youtube channel called Afreedomlovingtexan.

    1. What dates were you wanting to kayak it? There’s safety in numbers, and it would be difficult to intimidate a group of 5+ people. I’m an Austinite whose been wanting to do this trek for a while, but would prefer to go with a good sized group.

  6. Hey! Thinking about doing this next week possibly. Anybody know if I’d be able to hike it still? Is it still flooded?

  7. I’ve been wanting to make this trip for years. Thanks for posting this write up. I would love to make the trip this summer.

    One thing I might add though. Is the road you accessed the river bed from and weather it was up stream or down stream of the narrows as well as an approximate distance of the hike. I live in the Houston area and would like to make the trip up, but could use a few more details to make a solid trip plan.



    1. Did you ever make the trip Justin? I am wanting to visit in the next few weeks and am hoping to get a clear idea on what to expect, where to park, ect. Suggestions?


  8. Thank you so much for this info I have been reading a lot of blogs and this really helps. I actually made a call yesterday to the blanco sheriff’s department and I was told that I would be arrested if I was found hiking the property. I understand how strenuous the hike would be, but I’m wondering what the current conditions are considering the recent floods, do you have suggestions on how I can obtain that info? Thanks again!

  9. I contacted the Texas Land Conservancy to see if they offered any guided tours of The Narrows. In my email I mentioned that I was trying to avoid the 6.7 mile hike in and out, but stay within the limits of the trespassing laws. Their response was: “You are correct in that you can legally access the Narrows via the river bed. However, once you reach the actual Narrows the only way to traverse it or see it from above involves trespassing as you must leave the river bed and climb up the cliffs. This is a violation of the landowners property rights and both the north and south landowners are very serious about enforcing their rights against trespassers. -Leigh Stuemke” Any response to this? I’m willing to make the hike, but do not want to do it if there is even a chance that we are trespassing. Sounds to me like these landowners are doing everything that they can to keeps folks out and I don’t want to land in jail over a swimming hole! Thoughts?

    1. Natasha, they are correct. You have no right to be up on the cliffs unless you are scouting for hazards in the river and/or portaging your boat. So by default, if you are not passing through, you stay in the riverbed.

      On the other hand, if you are there to swim then there is no reason to be on the cliffs anyhow. You can access the pools right as you reach the Narrows from the riverbed.

  10. Hello,

    I have also been wanting to take this trip for a while and am interested in going with a group. I live in the Houston area.
    If anyone could help in putting together a plan for this I would greatly appreciate it. Natasha, I also read somewhere about the guided tours but did not find information on how to contact them.

  11. Thanks for your response, David. It seems like there is a lot of bullying going on here to keep folks out. I’m bound and determined to make this trip! Roxy…..or anyone else for that matter……feel free to contact me directly: natashanichole@yahoo.com. I’m thinking of putting this together in early October. The scorching heat should be over, but
    it should still be warm enough to appreciate the cool waters. As far as the guided tours, they do not do this. I’m not sure why it’s listed on the website. She mentioned that the landowners deal with a lot of trespassing and vandalism. I suggested putting a volunteer group together to assist landowners with clean up efforts in exchange for access to the Narrows for a few hours. I haven’t heard anything back, but if I do, I’ll definitely share on this forum. Natasha

  12. Christian- I wish I had researched the laws on dealing with cops beforehand and we wouldn’t have wasted 1-2 hrs getting drilled by them.

    Natasha- Volunteer for access would be awesome, but honestly, it was spotless when I was there (aside from the no trespassing/”you are a criminal” garbage). There was some trash upriver; beer cans, targets, shotgun shells, were all at one site and some sunglasses were half-buried in the mud just above the Narrows, but there really wasn’t much at all.

    And like they said, the hiking is legal, but to get back without going up on cliffs would be hard without rope and/or someone to help you up, because climbing back is slippery and going up without footholds in some parts. Or you could have someone drop you off and get picked up down-river. I spoke to a guy who did it that way and camped out in the river bed.

    Brandy- it might be dangerous/difficult when kayaking if the levels are super high (I believe they have gone down considerably now, but I’m not in the area so I’m not sure). I’ve seen video of people going down them, which is for the really skilled, but if the levels are really high and flow is fast, crossing the fences could be a challenge. I spoke with a guy who kayaked and paddled it when it was lower. His experience sounded more pleasant than ours.

    Roxy- Half the time we were hiking, I was thinking that getting a group would be great if you were sure that everyone in group will stick to the rules and can make it. It sucks if not prepared.. If get group going, some of use might be interested again.

    Justin- the road is upriver of the Narrows around seven and a half miles or so one way.

  13. my wife and i have been wanting to do this hike for over 2 years but are more inclined to an overnight trip is this possible? we saw one video of a group that did the hike and camping

  14. I have been researching this for a while now and determined to go. Like Neko said, I saw that video to camp there aswell. Is this possible to do and do you think we could take an offroading jeep that’s made for this or no? I wouldn’t want to destroy any of the beautiful nature around, or break any laws by taking a vehicle.
    Just trying to think more proactive on how to spend a little bit more time to swim there, since the hike is pretty long and hard.

  15. Neko and Tiffany,

    I want to be sure that my position is clear here. In the YouTube video you reference the group is shown stepping over a gate at the end. This clearly shows that they were trespassing and I wish they had been caught instead of posting a video that is more or less advocating illegal access to the Narrows. Its people like that who make it tougher for the rest of us as they are the ones who alienate the landowners the most. I would imagine that they are also the people responsible for leaving trash behind since they seem to think they are above the law.

    That said, there are no laws preventing you from camping within the confines of the riverbed. Finding a soft sandy spot for a tent is really challenging so expect a hard surface sleep. After the last flood I would count on finding any trees along the riverbed for hammocks either. Other than a tough surface to sleep on I can’t think of a reason not to camp.

    There is no legal way to off-road to the location. You either break trespassing laws crossing private property or the new state laws that prohibit motor vehicle use in rivers/riverbeds. Not to mention your Jeep would spend a lot of time submerged in the current riverbed conditions. So short answer to a Jeep is no.


  16. That’s correct about ATV’s and Jeeps. Although it is legal on many riverbeds in Texas, it is not legal to camp or build fires in the Blanco riverbed in Hays and Blanco Counties. I think that the concern is the possibility of dramatic flash floods and grass fires with the droughts.

    I agree with David about that video – those people were trespassing. Interesting that most of the photos on the internet that I’ve seen also show trespassing in one form or another. I wonder how many people who get to this place actually portage and are passing through…? I don’t think very many. But they are obviously hanging out on private property.


  17. The irony of all of this is that the property is owned by a non profit corporation operating as the Well Spring Foundation.
    If you will seek conventional methods of visiting the property, you should be able to visit without a hassle. It is indeed unique, beautiful property and nothing I have seen replicated in the Texas Hill country but, please, respect the rights of the owners to protect and preserve this treasure. The property has its’ hazards and we live in a society willing to sue for the least cause so, obviously, the owners are attempting to protect themselves from the unknown.

    Don’t be lured by these absurd stories of paddling and hiking bravery in the wilds of Texas–it is not worth it!

  18. Seems like you encountered my Cousin and my Aunt. They also own Deadman’s hole. My Aunt built the stone walk by herself as a 74 year old. So next time you think if funny how she gets in the water, try to have some respect for the owner of the land you are standing on, the person to keeps it clean and has promised to never develop the land. Give her a break and don’t trespass her property.

    1. And that’s the problem, the land within the river bed belongs to me as much as your aunt. She obviously holds herself in higher regard and has ‘special’ self contrived laws to suit herself. I don’t care if she’s 17-or 74, she deserves the same respect as she gives.

    2. XYZ- There was nothing insulting about it. I was impressed to see her jumping in and enjoying it like she was. I said, “It was really funny watching someone at her age bail off into the swimming holes like she did!” Nothing offensive there.
      I was never disrespectful, and I was never on her land.

  19. Here’s an idea stay the fuck in Austin and of everyone’s property and there won’t be any problems thanks

  20. Bullying/intimidating? No, the landowners are trying to protect themselves and their property. Once a place like The Narrows is opened up for everyone, low life’s trash it, spray paint grafity and inevitably get hurt then try to sue the landowners.

    If all the people on this blog that are whining and complaining about the police and landowners being “bullies” had such a beautiful piece of property, I bet you wouldn’t want a bunch of people using and abusing their “legal right” to visit it.

  21. One of the land owners recently broke their leg and had to be air lifted out due to the severity of the fracture, this was someone who knows the area very well, just to let everyone know how dangerous it can be

  22. FYI, the entirety of Chimney Valley Road is now a no parking zone, the county commissioners passed it at the end of last year. So if you park legally somewhere you are looking at an 18 mile hike on rough rocky river bed. Good luck with that.

  23. Whats the rules on Bicycles? I have no issue doing a little hike-a-bike, but we could easily traverse many miles this way.

    SB155 seems to be for “motor Vehicles” bikes would be excluded from this

    1. It’s not great terrain for a mountain bike, you would probably need a fat tire bike for it to help much. Not sure how that affects the legality.

  24. Hey Mike! This is some really great, helpful info thank you for posting! I have a couple of questions Id like to ask privately if possible, so as not to give anyone reading your comments section bad ideas. But I believe I found an entrance point much closer to the Narrows and cannot see any reason why it would be illegal. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
    Thank you!

      1. Brittany, I am sending you a direct email separately but I don’t believe there is any other legal access closer than the 2nd Chimney Creek crossing. Perhaps now that you have to walk aa ways down to the crossing it might be a little closer to start at the Valley View crossing and hike downstream but as I have mentioned before, there are a lot of deep pools going that way so be prepared to swim.

  25. Has anyone attempted to come from down river? Starting at the Burnett Ranch Community Park (30° 1’52.55″N 98°13’15.72″W)? It is still a hike but it looks like 1-1.5 miles shorter.

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