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Sabine River in Texas

Trip Overview

I have been paddling for only 2 to 3 years, and have made several day trips on the Guadalupe, Brazos, and Navasota rivers in Texas, and Buffalo and White rivers in Arkansas. I have been chomping at the bits to do an extended trip on the Sabine River on the Texas/Louisiana state line, so I began planning for that trip in June 04. For 2 months, I listed, relisted, then pared down the list.

My paddling buddy and I put in at the Texas Highway 63 bridge at 3 PM on a Sunday, and were a little worried as both kayaks had every possible nook and cranny crammed with gear, as well as everything lashed to the tops as they would possibly hold. Neither of us had ever been on an extended 40 mile, three day outing, and we were a little nervous. However, this trip had taken the shape of a great adventure and we were both really looking forward to it as a challenge. If you like solitude, if you like unspoiled country, if you like 1/2 mile long snow-white sand beaches, then this is the trip you should take.

The first evening, we paddled approximately 8 miles, then set up camp on a gorgeous white sand bar in a big bend of the river. After a ribeye steak cooked over a campfire, we settled in and began to catch catfish in the 3 to 5 pound range. After a good nights sleep and breakfast the next morning, we got an early start on the paddling. If you have not been on the upper Sabine in the summer, you would not believe a river of this much beauty would be found in deep east Texas. It was as clear as the Guadalupe and had shoreline views of hardwood and pine bottoms that can only be found in that part of the state.

On day two, we paddled from 8AM until 6PM, and covered around 20 miles. On day one, we did not see a single other boat, kayak, or canoe. On day two, we finally encountered 2 flatbottom boats checking trotlines. During the entire trip, we saw one fishing camp and one actual residence on the Texas side. There were a few more camps on the Louisiana side, but very few. In other words, once you commit to this trip, you had better make sure you have all you need.

On the second night, we were both plenty ready to set up camp. Once again, finding a great camping spot was not a problem, as the river has one great snow-white sand bar after another. On this night, we camped 1/2 mile below the mouth of Anadarko creek, which comes in on the Louisiana side of the river.

We broke camp on the morning of day 3 at around 7:30AM. Below Anadarko creek, the river takes on a whole new look. We encountered a lot more camps and boaters, compared to the upper river. In this area, the river is also much wider and we had to deal with a headwind for the first time during the trip.

After 3 days of paddling, we were filled with mixed emotions as we reached the takeout bridge at Bon Weir, located on Texas highway 190. We were both tired physically, but sad at the same time to leave such a quiet and peaceful setting. This trip was like a Huck Finn adventure to me, and it far exceeded my expectations. It was also a learning experience, as I found a very few things I forgot, as well as discovering several areas in which I had gone far overboard, such as food. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone and everyone who wants to get away from the crowds and experience the beauty and solitude of deep east Texas.

Accommodations:

There are NO accommodations on this river. You had better plan, plan, and then plan some more. We were there during the deep part of the summer, and mosquitoes and snakes were not a problem. Never even saw a snake. The sun was more of a problem than anything else. I would not think about this trip without a fully charged cell phone and a working GPS. During this trip, there was no water being released from Toledo Bend, so the river was pretty flat. Pay attention to the release schedule of Toledo Bend and the Sabine River Authority, as the flow will pick up and you will have to pay more attention to where you camp.

Outfitting:

15 foot Ocean Kayak Scupper Pro, and 14 foot Ocean Kayak Drifter.

Fees:

None.

Directions:

Texas/Louisiana state line, Highway 63. Take Highway 63 from Jasper, Texas, headed east, and you can't miss it.

Resources:

Only information I had picked up from this web site.

  • Duration: Extended Trip
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip

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