The Narrows on the Blanco River in Texas
Some friends and I took a trip to The Narrows on the Blanco River in Texas. It is a gem.
However getting there was no easy task.
This trip is physically, logistically and legally challenging. The Narrows is on the Blanco River, but is surrounded by private property. And the property owners typically do not grant access to the general public. The county, sheriff and property owners would prefer that people not access the river because the journey is a bit risky, can be dangerous and nobody wants somebody to get injured nor die.
So, there are two ways to access The Narrows. 1. Obtain permission from one of the property owners. 2. Access the river via a public right of way and hike and swim the entire route.
Texas navigation law specifies access to inland and coastal waters as “public rights and duties” specifically recognized by the Texas Constitution. So we had to access the river via a public right of way and hike on the dry riverbed and swim in the river to reach the section called The Narrows.
Here's how we did it...
Warning: For the Hike and Swim option, one has to park legally (or your car may be towed), access the river at a public right of way, and stay on the riverbed or river the entire way (or you may be ticketed for trespassing). Follow the law and you should have no problems. Stray from the law and you may have issues.
There is no trail. The route traverses dry riverbed, sand, rocks, brush and water. The journey can take between 12 to 16 hours, cover 6 to 8 miles in and 6 to 8 miles out and may require swimming 1 to 3 miles in and 1 to 3 miles out depending on the flow of the river. The route and conditions may vary at different times of the year. DO NOT attempt this prior, during or after a rain - the river may flash flood. Tread lightly and leave no trace principles should be practiced. Due consideration should be given to the property owners and their property rights.
Out of respect for the property owners I am not posting parking locations.
If you do attempt this hike be prepared with the proper gear, food, water, water filter, sun protection and self-rescue equipment.
My gear list:
Gregory Inertia hydration backpack 3 liter capacity
Nalgene bottle 16oz capacity for mixing Nuun electrolyte tablets
Sawyer Squeeze water filter
Bluewater 8mm rope 50ft
Adventure first aid kit
Gerber folding knife
Midland two-way radios
Black Diamond Distance Z trekking poles
OZ Outdoor Gear sun hoodie
OZ Trucker hat
Altra Superior trail running shoes
Darn Tough socks
Food 3 to 4 energy bars
Water 3 to 4 liters
Electrolytes 3 to 4 tablets