Section U.S. 59 to Goliad State Park and Historic Site, Goliad
Length and duration 6.6 miles, 2–4 hours
Reward yourself Throw back a pint at Ervie Jay’s Beer Garden, where Goliad’s mayor provides the musical entertainment some evenings.
Canoeing/Kayaking, Tubing, Overnight Camping
From Texarkana to Laredo the eastern swath of the state consists of soft earth. At Goliad, on the edge of the Gulf Coast prairies, the San Antonio River has cut a deep channel into the sandy, oak-covered plain. Plants and animals thrive in the mild South Texas climate, and the lush woodlands along the river support a large variety of birdlife, including the herons, hawks, and kingfishers that are a common sight on most of our waterways. There are no dams on the lower San Antonio, so a heavy rain can quickly create flood conditions. When I was there, the current was strong from recent storms, but by no means unmanageable. Access, on the other hand, is a little difficult on this stretch. Both the U.S. 59 and Ferry Street put-ins have steep, narrow concrete steps that are hard to navigate when carrying a boat, and there’s no shuttle service, so you really need at least two people and two vehicles to make this trip work. (The San Antonio River Authority plans to improve these facilities.) Goliad itself, with its missions and charming downtown area, is a big part of the reason to make the journey south. Mark your calendars for the Canoe Trail Goliad Summer Flotilla , on June 5.