Canyon Lake Texas (Jewel of Texas)

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Canyon Lake, Texas, has it all! Water sports, outdoor activities, places to stay, and a hundred other things on this Guadalupe River reservoir. If you plan an overnight or longer vacation in Canyon Lake, you will find so many interesting things to see and do.

Canyon Lake, Texas, is the “Jewel” of the Lone Star State. There is an activity or something to do for everyone. The surrounding area’s natural beauty is some of the most majestic in the Texas Hill Country and can be enjoyed in various ways. Canyon Lake should be on everyone’s bucket list.

USACE Canyon Lake and Dam Texas - Texas View

About Canyon Lake Texas

Canyon Lake is the water capital of Texas and is called “the jewel” of the Texas Hill Country. Both names are fitting and give you a good idea about what you can expect when you get there.

The lake was built as a reservoir of the Guadalupe River and originally submerged several small towns. It is an area rich in history which keeps you coming back for more adventure.

With an abundance of parks, rivers, beaches, and the lake, you will find any water recreation and sport you can imagine, and probably a few you didn’t!

Facts About Canyon Lake Texas

  • Location: Texas, USA
  • County: Comal County
  • Towns: Sattler, Startzville, Canyon City, Cranes Mill, and Hancock
  • Land Area: 156,9 mi²
  • Lake Surface Area: 8,230 acres
  • Shoreline Area: 80 miles of shoreline.
  • Zip codes: 78070, 78132, 78133, 78623
  • Population: 31,124 at the 2020 census
  • Average Temperature June: 80°F
  • Average Temperature January: 63°F
  • Best hotels: The Lakehouse Bed and Breakfast, Holiday Inn Club Vacations Hill Country Resort on Canyon Lake, Equinox Inn at Biscuit Hill
  • Best Restaurants: Granny D’s, Gennaro’s Trattoria, Italian Garden restaurant
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What’s Canyon Lake Texas Known For?

Canyon lake is best known for its water recreation activities and outdoor activities. It is an adventure playground for all outdoor thrill-seekers. 

The lake is not only beautiful with clear water, but it also lends itself perfectly to:

  • camping, 
  • hiking, and 
  • fishing around the lake. 

Visitors to the lake also enjoy the variety of activities available to them on the water:

  • boating, 
  • water skiing, and 
  • other water sports.

Twenty-three boat ramps make it easy to access the lake and the many different water activities.

If fishing attracts you to Canyon Lake, the lake is known for its abundance of largemouth and smallmouth bass, Guadalupe bass, and Catfish. Because the lake has a surface area of 8,230 acres, there will always be a new spot to try or space enough for every angler!

Get permission from one of the marinas to cast a line from one of their piers or rent a boat to search for the many fishing spots around the lake.

Where Is Canyon Lake Texas?

Canyon Lake is in the heart of Texas Hill Country. Nestled almost an equal distance between Austin and San Antonio, this lake is perfect for weekend recreation if you travel from one of these cities. 

Canyon Lake is located just northwest of New Braunfels and west of San Marcos.

Canyon Lake is situated east of the Guadalupe State Park, and some park and lake activities interlink.

If you are traveling by road, travel times from major cities near Canyon Lake are as follows:

  • San Antonio: 1 hour
  • Austin: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Houston: 3 hours, 30 minutes
Blue Waters of Canyon Lake - Texas View
Blue Waters of Canyon Lake – Image by Dameon Hudson

Getting About Canyon Lake

Unlike most other destinations in the Lone Star State, getting around Canyon Lake can be a little tricky because it is a lake. Traveling is easy if you have a car and a boat available, but if you only have one or the other, it may be more difficult.

BoatPrivate or chartered boats allow you to get anywhere on the shore of the lake. Twenty-three boat ramps allow access to the water.
ShuttleHire private shuttle services between locations around Canyon Lake.
RoadDrive private vehicles between locations around Canyon Lake.
HikingMany private and public reserves and parks surround Canyon Lake. Enquire with each one about access, fees, and information.
Getting About Canyon Lake

Boating Around Canyon Lake

Being a lake, the most common way for people to travel from one area in Canyon Lake to another is by boat. With twenty-three boat ramps, access to the water is easy from almost anywhere on the lake.

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Driving Around Canyon Lake

Roads around the lake connect all the boat ramps and places of interest along the shore. Signage to restaurants, places to stay, and other attractions make navigating easy. 

Be aware, however, that many roads around the lake are dead-end roads that will take you to private property or the water’s edge, where you cannot access another road and will need to turn around.

Public Transport In Canyon Lake

There is no public transport around the lake, but several shuttles and hire services will be able to transport you to your destination and back. Contact each individually for rates and availability.

On Foot Around Canyon Lake

While hiking and nature trails are situated all around the lake, with 80 miles of shoreline, walking from area to area is not recommended.

What To Do In Canyon Lake Texas

Canyon Lake doesn’t only offer water activities. There is truly something for everyone, from relaxing on a beach to great food to Scuba diving. 

These are some of the activities you can do while visiting this beautiful lake:

  • Hiking, biking, and horseback trails
  • Visit the Canyon Lake Gorge
  • Picnic at Comal Park
  • Visit the Heritage Museum
  • Tubing on the Guadalupe River 
  • Drive the scenic River Road

If you are staying at the lake for a few days, plan multiple activities to make the most of what the lake has to offer.

Hiking, Biking, Or Horseback Riding

Hiking is by far the most popular outdoor land-based activity in Canyon Lake. With more than 31 trails on the shores of the lake and in surrounding areas, it is no wonder why people travel from all over the Lone Star State to hike these beautiful trails.

With a combined distance of over 171 miles, the tails range from beginner to expert. 

Some of the area’s hiking trails also offer separate biking trails or horseback trails.

See Why The Canyon Lake Gorge Is So Special

In 2002 torrential flooding of the spillway of Canyon Lake exposed a new gorge one mile long and covered 65 acres.

Not only will you be inspired by the power of nature when you visit the gorge, but you may also find yourself walking in prehistoric footsteps. As the gorge was exposed, many fossils were exposed too, making this a perfect place to find one.

Enjoy A Picnic At Comal Park

Boasting 65 picnic sites on this 116 acres of lakeside land, this park offers peace, tranquillity, and beautiful scenery in Canyon Lake. The park is also pet friendly, so your four-legged companions are welcome to join you for a day out.

Take A Historic Trip To The Canyon Lake Heritage Museum

The Canyon Lake area is rich with fossil finds and dinosaur footprints. The Heritage Museum offers more than 350 preserved dinosaur footprints and other attractions. Even for those who are not dinosaur enthusiasts, the displays and information of the museum will fascinate you.

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Ride A Tube Down The Guadalupe River

Let the flow of the river take you on a relaxing ride downstream. If you love beautiful scenery and want a unique way to experience it, then floating on a tube down a river towards the lake is the best way to do this. 

Take A Drive On The Beautiful River Road

Whether you drive this road on your journey to or from Canyon Lake, it is one of the best activities you can do in the area. The best part is that it doesn’t cost you anything other than the gas in your tank!

The River Road follows the Guadalupe River for about 10 miles from Canyon Lake and the New Braunfels area. Lined with cypress trees and other natural beauty, this stretch of road is jam-packed with tree tunnels, river crossings, farmlands, and parks.

Where To Eat

The three most recommended restaurants in Canyon Lake are:

  • Granny D’s – Comfort food and home-style recipes are what you can expect.
  • Gennaro’s Trattoria – Family-friendly with an upmarket menu. The most popular restaurant in Canyon Lake.
  • Italian Garden restaurant – A full-service Italian menu, open for lunch and dinner

Where To Stay

The three most recommended places to stay in Canyon Lake are:

  • The Lakehouse Bed and Breakfast, 
  • The Holiday Inn Club Vacations Canyon Lake (Hill Country Resort)
  • Equinox Inn at Biscuit Hill

Canyon Lake FAQs

Is Canyon Lake Safe?

Canyon Lake is generally considered to be safe. Being a vacation destination, there is the opportunity for opportunistic and small crimes, but more serious crimes also occur. 

Is Canyon Lake Worth Visiting?

There is no doubt that Canyon Lake is worth visiting. Because of its abundant natural beauty, the many outdoor activities you can do, the great places to stay, and the good restaurants in the area, it should be on your bucket list, and you should tick it off the list as soon as possible.


Author Profile

Christian Linden is a seasoned writer and contributor at Texas View, specializing in topics that resonate with the Texan community. With over a decade of experience in journalism, Christian brings a wealth of knowledge in local politics, culture, and lifestyle. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from the University of Texas. When he's not writing, Christian enjoys spending weekends traveling across Texas with his family, exploring everything from bustling cities to serene landscapes.

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