The Brazos River forms at the confluence off its Double Mountain Fork, beginning in Lubbock County, and Salt Fork, beginning in Crosby County, then merging in eastern Stonewall County near the Haskell County Line. Navigable flows begin below the Clear Fork confluence in Young County just southwest of Graham. The river is a long, slow flatwater stream that flows south by southeast to the Gulf of Mexico in Brazoria County, near Houston. While the river runs for about 840 miles, this report will detail those navigable sections where people can go to paddle, particularly below Possum Kingdom Dam in Palo Pinto County, Highway 180 near Mineral Wells in Palo Pinto County to FM 1189 near Dennis in Parker County, Mitchell Ford to Brazos Point Crossing in Somervell County, Lake Whitney in Hill County to Waco in McLennan County and the Hidalgo Falls section near Navasota in Brazos and Washington Counties.
Parts of the Brazos are absolutely beautiful and paddling is quite enjoyable. Except after heavy local rainfalls, the upper sections tend to run low and slow, though the river picks up a faster current the farther you paddle downriver, especially below Waco. There are dams below Possum Kingdom Lake, Lake Granbury and Lake Whitney, none of which is navigable, making continual downriver trips difficult due to the long shuttles required. The Brazos is also characterized by high southwest headwinds that can literally blow you back upriver if you stop paddling. In fact, the winds may be the biggest hazard on the Brazos River, so plan accordingly because it can slow down a trip by several hours and make you wish you were dead! It is fed by several smaller rivers including the Bosque and the Paluxy, among others.
The Upper Brazos, between Possum Kingdom Lake and Mitchell Ford offers some scenery that is most enjoyable, including some 500+ foot tall cliffs around the lake, and dense vegetation along the river banks. This gives way to flatter terrain and scrub brush the rest of the way though central Texas. Alligators have been found on the Brazos as high up as College Station and Huntsville, though they are not known to be a problem. There are few other hazards on this river other than the aforementioned winds and the hot Texas summertime temperatures and direct sun exposure - those can combine to cause dehydration and muscle fatigue, as well as sunburns and windburns. However, those negatives aside, the Brazos is the first river many people paddle, particularly because short, relatively safe trips can be taken without great fear of dangerous waters. If you fall out of the boat, then STAND UP!
Fishing in most parts of the Brazos is good to excellent, so if you like to wet a hook and drown some worms, then bring your Texas fishing license, fishing tackle and bait and get ready to enjoy the river. More specific details will be provided in the descriptions of the individual sections of the river discussed on pages at the links below.