Wanting to try out my new Wilderness Systems Pungo, Memorial Day weekend, I headed to the Guadalupe Delta area, just north of Tivoli. I had planned to camp on the bank, but the radio gave flash flood warnings. Opting for discretion over valor, I spent the night in the Tivoli Motel. It met my needs, but as for stars, I dont think it has even any asteroids. I was bemused when the proprietor informed me all the rooms with king-size beds were taken because of high school graduations. Hmm.
Hog Bayou is one of three major bayous crossing Highway 35 between Tivoli and Port Lavaca, the other two being Goff and Schwings. Hog is the one with a boat ramp. I had initially planned to paddle up the Guadalupe itself to its junction with the San Antonio River and then a little farther to check out Elm Bayou, which flows out of the San Antonio River and joins the Guadalupe just north of the San Antonios confluence. But my skills getting in and, especially, out of the new kayak are limited and, in all but one of the four corners of the Highway 35/Guadalupe intersection, the bank dropped off vertically to the water. Had I successfully launched, I could have gotten back out only by turning over and trying to scramble up the bank. At the fourth point, I would have had to traverse a thicket of thigh-high poison ivy. The situation with Schwings Bayou was similar, plus getting to its put-in is a further adventure. The map makes Goff look less interesting, so I opted for Hogs boat ramp.
I paddled down Hog toward the bay, but only a side channel goes that far. The main channel flows into Alligator Slide Lake. That side channel is choked with water hyacinth almost immediately, and the main one is the same slightly farther on. The landscape is lush, and birds and other wildlife are plentiful. I briefly glimpsed a small alligator that dropped beneath the surface before I could get a photo. I often saw gar hanging just beneath the surface, and several times one would splash at my elbow when my attention was elsewhere. Being much closer to the water than I am used to in my canoe, the splashes always got my attention.
The round trip back and forth to the water hyacinth barrier is surely less than four miles; there is no discernable current and no obstructions. Although fisherman in power boats can and do travel the bayou, the only ones I saw were near the boat ramp, and they were heading in the opposite direction. According to the map, in the direction of the power boats, the bayou goes around to the north shore of Green Lake and may originally have crossed what is now the Victoria Barge Canal. Traveling from the boat ramp in that direction, according to the map, you should come to a small slough that diverts Guadalupe River water into the bayou. That slough may be travelable, or it may have too many fallen trees and overhanging branches. I have not seen it.
The trip I made on Hog Bayou is an easy and pleasant afternoon paddle. The whole area is worthy of detailed exploration. And the fishing is reportedly great.
There are no close camping facilities, except at the Hog Bayou boat ramp. There were a few camper-trailers there. If you camp in tents, you may have to pitch them on the pavement of the old highway, which is just to the side of the present highway and is what leads to the boat ramp. Nearby Port Lavaca has a slightly wider selection of motels than Tivoli.
From Victoria, Texas, drive southeast on FM 185. Pass Bloomington and Heyser. When you come to Green Lake (which consists of an abandoned store and a sign announcing "Green Lake"), turn right toward Tivoli. You will cross the Victoria Barge Canal and Goff Bayou. After that, be alert for the entrance to the Hog Bayou boat ramp, which will be on the right.
I printed out a map from Mapquest.