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County
Gonzales
Region
Praries & Lakes
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Parks
Palmetto Texas State Park
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Palmetto State Park Information:
This 270 acre park is named for the stand of tropical dwarf palmetto plants (Sabal minor) found here.  The park is located on the San Marcos River northwest of Gonzales, and southeast of Luling.198 acres of the original Ottine Swamp were purchased by the state in 1933. The park opened to the public in 1936. The park features beautiful stone buildings constructed by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps). The CCC, one of FDR's New Deal programs, put unemployed young men to work on construction projects across the U.S. Park habitat consists of cypress and hardwood trees (some draped with Spanish moss), an artesian well and pond, and a 4 acre oxbow lake. Insect repellent is often needed. Park entrance and camping fees apply. For more park information watch the Park Video.  From Gonzales take U.S. 183 10 miles northwest to FM 1586. Travel 2 miles west on FM 1586, then go south on Park Road 11.
 
San Marcos River:
The spring fed San Marcos River rises in San Marcos, Texas from the San Marcos Springs in Spring Lake. Spring Lake is best known for the former privately owned (1928-1996) Aquarena Springs Amusement Park which was located lakeside. This former park is now the Aquarena Center and is managed and protected by Texas State University. The 1 mile river section from Lions Park (near the SH 82 Bridge and the railroad bridge) past Bicentennial Park to Rio Vista Park is mostly wide and tame, offering a favorable tubing area. Canoers, kayakers, and some tubers go beyond Rio Vista Park to the junction of the Blanco and San Marcos Rivers just above the very dangerous Old Cummings Mill Dam, a distance of approximately 3 miles from Lions Park. The San Marcos flows southeast for seventy-five miles, forming the boundary between Guadalupe and Caldwell Counties before reaching its mouth on the Guadalupe River, two miles west of Gonzales, Texas. Several endangered plant and animal species, such as Texas wild riceand the Texas salamander, are unique to the San Marcos River. The endangered Texas Wild Rice plant only grows along a two mile stretch of the river in Hays County. Reintroduction plans include growing the rice in a captive environment, then replanting a large number of plants very close together in a protected area of the river. The river is an extremely popular with canoers, kayakers and tubers. Recreationalists are encouraged to paddle clear of the rice plants; floating over the rice in tubes, kayaks, and canoes does not hurt the plant, but when flower stalks rise above the surface, it means the plants are going to pollinate; everyone should avoid the plants at this time. More information is available in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine’s, “Scout Wild Rice,” article, June 2009; page 10. Much of the riverbank is privately owned; public access is limited to a few parks (several in San Marcos) and bridge crossings. Three tall dams (dangerous due to their height), and two potentially dangerous rapids are located along the river. The 260 mile Texas White Safari Race begins at Aquarena Center (on Spring Lake), continues past the junction of the San Marcos and Blanco Rivers, passes through Luling, and then passes near Gonzales where the San Marcos River flows into the Guadalupe River; the Guadalupe River and the race end at Bayfront Park at Seadrift, Texas.
Comal, Guadalupe, San Marcos & Blanco Rivers Flow Rates   
Good Article on Canoeing the San Marcos River 
Canoeing the San Marcos River from San Marcos to Luling
Canoeing the San Marcos River from Luling to Palmetto State Park 
Southwest Paddler Information & Great Photos
 
Palmetto State Park Directions:  
From Gonzales take U.S. 183 10 miles northwest to FM 1586. Travel 2 miles west on FM 1586, then go south on Park Road 11.
 
From Luling, travel 6 miles southeast on U.S. 183, then go southwest on Park Road 11 for two miles.