River Legacy Paddling Trail

Entrance to the River Legacy Paddling Trail


Know Before You Go

Parking is FREE and close to the put-in.

Just before we put in, while waiting for my husband to return from parking our car, a young man and woman walked up to us.  My children were climbing over the canoe and kayak, and we were all wearing our life jackets and I was holding the paddles.  “Are you about to go in the river?”  the man in his early 20’s asked me.  I smiled the awkward smile of someone who has just been asked a silly question, and nodded my head that I was.  “I could never do that,” he continued, “I don’t like to swim in any water where I can’t see the bottom”.  I glanced up at him, with a smirk on my face, shifting my camera hanging from around my neck, and replied, “Well, I’m planning to stay in the boat”.

And although I’m not bothered by water that is less than transparent, I wouldn’t go swimming in this stretch of the Trinity River.  The water that runs through the park is polluted, a ban is placed on consuming any fish from this portion of the river, (N of Fort Worth down through Freestone County).  That’s not to say it isn’t fine for paddling, and it was interesting to see the trash that lined the river.  How did a freestanding basketball goal get in the river?

The entrance to the paddling trail is not in the main part of the park, but at a seperate entrance off Collins.  Bring a canoe trailer or strong arms for hauling your boat up and down the steep bank to the put in.  The paddling trail map would have you paddling upstream for a mile to a small dam, and then returning.  If you choose to portage around the dam, you can continue to paddle upstream 8 miles through the park, before returning.

We choose to paddle downstream away from the park, which is off the paddling trail.  Even with a nice current, the river was slow and easy to paddle, with just a few fun riffles along the way.  My 12 year old son was in his kayak, and the four of us in our canoe.  My son received his kayak this past Christmas, and as a mom, it makes me a little nervous to have him out of our boat.  However, being much lighter than us, he was able to glide about the river with little effort.  The trip was very relaxing and hard to believe that you are in downtown Arlington.  We only saw a handful of people, mostly fishing along the banks.  I wonder if they know about that consumption ban?

We paddled almost all the way to Hwy 360 before turning back.  The upstream trip was laborous, but we only stopped to portage around one of the riffles we came down.  We might have been able to make it back up, but we really didn’t want to go swimming in there.  Like climbing a mountain, or hiking a trail, when we made our last paddle stroke we were hit with the adrenalin rush, that primordial pride of accomplishing something, of conquering the river (even if most of that river retained a mirror like sheen most of the trip)!  It’s a great feeling to emerge, to say to yourself, I owned that!  The greatest boost, though, is seeing that feeling, that self appreciation in your child when they know that they, for a short time, owned the river!

Being an avid paddler, and always encouraging other to give it a try, I can’t help but think that River Legacy has a unique opportunity to offer this experience to so many urban Texans, who might never have the chance otherwise. I would love to one day see a put in constructed upriver in the park, and canoe and kayak rentals and a shuttle to be offered. 

My Mommy Tips:

Picnic tables are provided in the park at the same area as the put in.  We had a nice picnic under shade trees.  Numerous fast food restaurants are a quick drive away.  So are potties, as there are none in that section of the park.

Potties and a playground are located in the main park, off of Green Oaks.

Things To Do in Arlington (near River Legacy)


Levitt Pavilion host FREE concerts all summer long!  Click HERE to read more!

River Legacy Paddling Trail  

703 Northwest Green Oaks Blvd., Arlington 

Click HERE to visit their website.    

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