Between Dallas and Fort Worth flows Denton Creek, an 11.6 mile twisting, turning flatwater run that is fun for the whole family at low water levels (60-100 cfs) and skills building for experienced canoeists and kayakers at flows over 100 cfs. The trip is scenic, almost remote considering its short distance from Dallas, Fort Worth and the Mid-Cities area of the Metroplex. It is short enough for a half day or full day trip depending upon how you paddle. Denton Creek usually relies upon water releases from Grapevine dam, but recent local rainfall can quickly flood and swell the creek to dangerous levels. There are numerous turns and chutes that require quick decision-making and action to negotiate properly. Experience in swiftwater paddling and rescue is recommended at flows above 300 cfs, and strongly advised at flows above 500 cfs. Vegetation is lush along the river, often overhanging and obscuring tight, narrow channels with sharp twists that require good control skills to run. Access is decent, and at the end of the day it is a short drive back to anywhere in the DFW Metroplex.
Tarrant and Dallas Counties in North Texas, about equidistant between Dallas, Fort Worth and Denton.
Dallas 30 miles; Fort Worth 25 miles; Denton 35 miles; Austin 230 miles; San Antonio 310 miles; Houston 280 miles (all distances are approximate and depend upon starting point, destination point on the river and route taken.)
Good with a dam release from Grapevine Reservoir, muddy after heavy local rainfall and stagnant in the dog days of summer if water is not being released from the reservoir.
Anytime there is adequate flow, which normally means spring, early summer or late fall, but moderate to heavy rains anytime can make Denton Creek navigable.
The hot Texas summer sun and blast furnace winds can be a real problem from June through September. At flows exceeding 500 cfs there is a dangerous rapid just below the put-in that will have large standing waves and haystacks capable of swamping an open canoe. In such conditions the best boats are canoes that are either decked or filled with airbags for flotation, or kayaks. There are no other hazards on Denton Creek other than the sharp turns if you are not on your game when approaching them.
Dam control outlet immediately below Grapevine Dam at 0.0 miles; Denton Tap Road crossing at 5.3 miles; McInnish Park on Sandy Lake Road at the crossing of the Elm Fork of the Trinity River at 11.4 miles. There are no other access points on Denton Creek.
There are no camping facilities on Denton Creek. Day camping can be done at Sandy Lake Park a few tenths of a mile east of the McInnish Park take-out on Sandy Lake Road.
Trinity River Kayak Company, located at 1601 E. Sandy Lake Road at the Trinity River (southwest corner) in Coppell, Texas 75019 (214-513-0649) offers kayak, canoe and gear rentals and sales, shuttles, and a river store for snacks and supplies just below the confluence of Denton Creek and the Trinity River. At least four other DFW area commercial outfitters offer rentals, shuttles and river information for Denton Creek.
Denton Creek is a great weekend, or even weekday afternoon paddle trip close to the heart of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. It is a flatwater stream teeming with an abundance of fish, wildlife and vegetation that makes you forget just how close you are to one of the five largest metro areas in the nation. The creek flows into the Trinity River just north of Dallas in suburban Carrollton, just above Carrollton Dam. Nearby rentals and shuttles can be obtained from North Texas Canoe Rentals on Whitlock Lane in Carrollton on the east side of IH 35 (Sandy Lake Road west of IH 35.) This is an easy paddle trip that almost anybody can enjoy regardless of previous experience.