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Trinity River, Texas
Report by Marc W. McCord

East Fork of the Trinity River
Grayson County to the Main Stream Confluence
~ 78 miles

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SOAR Inflatable Canoes - Somewhere On A River

General Description

The East Fork of the Trinity River forms south of Sherman in Grayson County, then winds its way southward through Collin, Rockwall and Dallas Counties to the confluence of the main stream in Kaufman County. Dams erected on the East Fork create Lake Lavon in Collin County and Lake Ray Hubbard in Dallas, Rockwall and Kaufman Counties. The river flows through bottomlands heavily wooded with Elm, Ash, Post Oak and Pecan trees, as well as a wide variety of indigenous ground cover vegetation.

Typically, the East Fork is not navigable above Lake Ray Hubbard, but 40 of its 78 total miles, between IH 20 and SH 34, has excellent potential for recreational activities, with the last 20-25 miles considered to be the best section to paddle. Flow in the East Fork is dependent upon dam releases from Lake Ray Hubbard or recent heavy local rainfall. Generally, it is a good idea to travel light and lash all gear to your boat. Downed trees in a narrow channel can cause unexpected swims, especially at high flows. Rapids are virtually non-existent and there are no significant hazards other than downed trees in a tight, narrow channel with sometimes swift currents. For the most part the East Fork is a gentle, slow-moving river flowing through largely undeveloped land. Much of the river is shaded by a canopy of overhanging trees that are usually many feet above the water level.

Located just south of Dallas, it is a great place for a secluded paddle trip on typical north and east Texas flatwater. Flow from Lake Ray Hubbard is generally of a good quality, though it will tend to be murky or muddy because of the earthen streambed and silt dumped into the river by runoff from local rainfall. Catfishing can be moderately good, and there is an abundance of raccoons, squirrels, possum, skunks, feral hogs and other small wildlife to be seen on your journey downriver.


Distance from major cities

(all distances are approximate and depend upon starting point, destination point on the river and route taken.)

Water Quality and Flow Rates

Best time to go

Hazards to navigation

There are no rapids of any significance on the East Fork of the Trinity River. However, log jams, low-hanging vegetation, a narrow channel and high flows from runoff or dam releases can create dangerous conditions for paddlers, boat fishermen or others playing in the water.

River Access Points

Campgrounds and accommodations

There are no campgrounds located along the East Fork of the Trinity River. The often steep banks are not condusive to camping along the streambed, and most adjacent property is privately owned. The East Fork is not the best place for overnight trips, lending itself more to day trips where you paddle downriver, turn around and paddle back to your car at the put-in.

Liveries, outfitters and shuttle services

There are no liveries or shuttle services operating on the East Fork of the Trinity River. However, you may be able to rent boats and arrange shuttles from several outfitters in the DFW area.

Reviewer's comments

Technical Data
Class Rating I
Length 78 miles
Minimum Flow cfs
Optimum Flow cfs
Maximum Flow cfs
First Put-in
Lat. / Long.
Last Take-out
Lat. / Long.
Elevation msl
Gradient fpm
USGS Gauge Web:
Boats Canoes, Kayaks
Season Year-round, weather permitting
Permits No

Dallas Down River Club - Promoting paddlesports, safety and environmental protection

Houston Canoe Club

Alamo City Rivermen - Paddling the fine line between geek and bubba

Texas Parks & Wildlife Department

Canoeman River Guide Service - Guided river trips in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah

Click the links below for information regarding the section of the Trinity River and its tributaries where you want to paddle.

[ Trinity River Homepage ] [ West Fork ] [ Clear Fork ] [ Elm Fork ] [ Sylvan Avenue to Dowdy Ferry Road ]
[ Lake Livingston Dam to FM 162 ] [ FM 162 to IH 10 ] [ Denton Creek ]

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© November 5, 2002. All rights reserved.
Last updated December 31, 2014

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