“The Jewel of the Texas Hill Country” Exploring Canyon Lake

Written by Kay Boothe

January 22, 2022

Story by Sarah Naron

In the midst of the frequent rainstorms that have blanketed large areas of the Lone Star State throughout recent weeks, Texans have also been graced with a few of those hot, sunny days which serve as the perfect reminder that summertime is upon us. With school out and the days seeming to stretch endlessly, many families are scouting out the perfect spot for relaxation and recreation in the great outdoors – and what better place to find that than one of the many lakes sprinkled through the state?

In the May issue of TFH, we explored Lake Texoma, which prides itself on being “a lake for all seasons” and features plentiful opportunities for family fun and the chance to get up close and personal with locations of historical significance in the states of both Texas and Oklahoma. The June issue shed light on the hidden wonders beneath the surface of the lake which are theorized to have been left behind by the ancient Aztecs. For July, it’s time to set our sights on the Edwards Plateau and dive into everything that Canyon Lake – prided as being “The Jewel of the Texas Hill Country” – has to offer.

Once referred to Canyon Reservoir, this lake makes up a portion of the Guadalupe River just over 10 miles from New Braunfels, the county seat of Comal County. The lake is the property of the US government and maintained by the Fort Worth District of the US Army Corps of Engineers. The conservation of water – as well as the use thereof – is overseen by the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority.

Construction on the 6,830 foot long earthfill dam by which Canyon Lake was formed began on June 27, 1958 and was undertaken by the Tecon Corporation of Dallas; water was introduced to the lake on June 16, 1964. With a spillway crest rising 943 feet above the average sea level, the lake occupies a total surface area of 8,240 acres. Its shoreline is situated at 909 feet above average sea level and stretches for a length of 60 miles.

The establishment of the dam which created Canyon Lake is regarded as one of the most momentous 20th-Century alterations in Comal County’s history. The lake was constructed in a portion of the Guadalupe River Valley which was home to the small towns of Hancock and Cranes Mill and, as a result, a sizable portion of cultivable farmland was lost. However, the creation of the lake also paved the way for other developments which revolutionized the county’s demography and economy. Following the filling of Canyon Lake, the northern central portion of the county grew to rank among the most largely populated areas of Central Texas. While agriculture and manufacturing had long been the fields which kept the county’s economy afloat, the lake allowed for the introduction of a tourist and resort industry to which these professions soon paled in comparison.

Today, Canyon Lake offers a wide variety of activities sure to please vacationers of all ages, many of them outdoor excursions which allow those who partake the opportunity to bask in all the glory of being in the midst of nature’s wonders. Horseback riding, hiking, guided fishing trips, and boat tours are among the ways in which families can make memories of fun in the sun while soaking up the beauty that Comal County has to offer.

The shores of Canyon Lake are also home to several parks, some of which – such as Potters Creek Park – offer guests the opportunity to camp overnight. Potters Creek boasts accommodations for both tents and recreational vehicles up to 40 feet in length. Pavilions, bathrooms, and showers are available for use, and the views of the lake campers are afforded from their campsite is a highly praised element of the park by past guests.

Both the Cranes Mill Marina and Canyon Lake Marina stand ready and waiting to assist visitors with everything from storing belongings, shopping for necessities that may have been forgotten while the suitcase was being packed, and satisfying hearty appetites worked up throughout a day of adventure in the outdoors. These locations also offer the rental of aquatic vehicles such as jet skis and boats.

Those looking to gain a better knowledge of the area’s history are sure to enjoy paying a visit to The Heritage Museum of the Texas Hill Country, which also provides guests with the chance to get a close look at tracks said to be left behind by the dinosaurs that roamed the area long ago. The museum features a special space for little dino-enthusiasts to try their luck at unearthing fossils and is also home to a collection of Native American artifacts.

For the shopaholic or simply a visitor looking for the perfect memento of their trip to Canyon Lake, the Guadalupe River Rocks! Designs antique shop will certainly delight. A family-owned and operated business, the shop offers a variety of yard art, collectibles, and vintage pieces and also boasts lower prices than similar shops found in larger Texas cities.

For more information on Canyon Lake, please visit www.texashillcountry.com/canyon-lake-texas.

 

 

 

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