Growing up in Del Rio, I had been on the lake many times but always in power boats. The last few times I've gone home to see my folks, I've taken my boat to start exploring this beautiful lake from a better vantage point-my kayak. I put in at Rough Canyon marina about 15 miles north of Del Rio on Highway 277. There are two boat ramps here and both are free and easy to access. My plans were to paddle a few miles up the Devil's River just to enjoy the afternoon's sun and the awesome scenery. The more I paddled, the more I wanted to just keep going! I finally decided to turn around after 7 1/2 miles when I realized I didn't have any lights with me.
Along the way, I explored several of the side canyons and saw a lot of birds-including what I thought at the time was an eagle, but the Park Ranger later told me was an Osprey. The south side of the river here is almost solid cliffs-most rising 200' out of the water.
I paddled up to Indian Cliffs to view the cave paintings. Unfortunately, the cliffs are strait up and down here and there's no easy way to climb up for a closer look. We used to access the caves from the top, but I don't even remember how to get out there. When the water is low, the Indian Springs flow down the hillside, but luckily the lake is back up to full after the 9 year drought, so they were covered up. Texas Highways had some great photos of the area in the Nov issue.
This is a wonderful day trip, though the afternoon winds are pretty strong on the trip back. Next time, I plan on spending the night and doing some hiking. The paddling is easy, the river has no flow since the lake has backed it up, the walls are spectacular and the solitude is well worth the effort.
There is a small store at the marina as well as a Ranger station-it was closed but the restrooms were open and very clean.
No fees required.
Access the Devil's River from the Rough Canyon Marina off Highway 277, north of Del Rio.
Didn't use any. None are needed because you go up the river and come back down.