There is nothing like that first moment of getting in your tube on the Guadalupe River Horseshoe! The cold water running out of Canyon Lake Dam chills you, even on a hot Summer day! It’s one of the best ways to beat the heat! On our Covid-trip, we went down to celebrate my friend Pam’s birthday with a float!
There are plenty of ways to get on the Horseshoe, but we chose Shanty Tubes. Due to Covid-19, Shanty Tubes is not allowed to rent tubes, but we were able to bring our own tubes and park at their location, which is located in the middle of the horseshoe. We paid $20 to park our car, $2/tube to inflate them (of course, we could have brought our own and saved that $4.), and simply walked the short distance to the river put in.
The horseshoe is marked by a leisurely float for the first half, followed by small riffles with plenty of river rocks. These also make great places to take a break and just sit for a bit, eat lunch, etc.
It’s all about the river flow! During our latest trip, the river was flowing at 69 cfi, which is a butt-dragging flow. We didn’t have to walk, but we did need to lift our butts several times, and I was caught on a rock a few times. Be sure and check the flow with GBRA before you go. It’s the number right below Canyon Lake Dam on their map.
Our float took us just about 2 hours to do the Horseshoe. We did paddle a little, just to assure social distancing. We waited to stop at the take out, and stayed there about another hour to just talk and swim.
The walk back to Shanty Tubes is about a block, and you pass one of my favorite places to eat in the area, Jay and Diane’s Horseshoe Grill, so don’t forget to bring a credit card or some cash.
During the regular non-Covid season, Shanty Tubes rents tubes and also offers a shuttle to the longer 4th crossing take-out, about a 4-hour trip. Shanty Tubes also offers camping and small cabins, as well as a restaurant, the Shanty Salsa Kitchen, with tacos to go!
Cans are allowed on the river. No Glass, Please! Please take a bag for trash and clean up after yourself. In fact, go ahead and clean up after others while you’re there. It’s perfectly okay to heckle would-be litterers, too. It’s our river and we need to keep it clean!
Know Before You Go:
It’s a great tube for kids! Bring a football for a fun game.
Bring a rope to latch together your tubes, especially with kids. Mine usually jump out of their tubes about 5 minutes in to swim in the cold, deep water, and I’m left managing 3 or 4 tubes by myself. Be prepared to unlatch those tubes when it gets shallower.
Keep it light. Don’t bring anything heavy.
I bring a small dry bag for phone, sunscreen, etc. I love this adorable pink elephant dry bag from Amazon! I am an Amazon affiliate and if you purchase using my link, I do receive a teeny-tiny commission. Thank You!
Here’s a tip: Always test your dry bags and phone bags before each trip.
Don’t forget to pack water, at least a bottle an hour that you’re on the river.
Things To Do in Canyon Lake
The Heritage Museum of the Texas Hill Country has hundreds of dinosaur tracks, as well as Native American artifacts on exhibit.
Take a tour of the Canyon Lake Gorge!
Overlook Park above the Canyon Lake dam is a beautiful scenic overlook, as it’s name applies. Just below the dam, Guadalupe Park offers a view of the river, hiking trails, and a fishing pier. During the winter, this is a great location for trout.
Goofy’s Bar and Grill has terrific burgers and chicken fried steak!
We love Jellystone Park Hill Country, just on the other side of the river from Shanty Tubes. They have a fun, dinosaur-themed little pool and slides, and all the fun activities you’d expect from a Jellystone Park, including Hey, Hey, Hayrides and much more!
12120 FM 306
Click HERE to visit their website.
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