Canoeing the Colorado – Bastrop

We usually put in on the Utley bridge on 969. There is a turnaround and boat ramp under the bridge. Then I drive my car/trailer to Bastrop library which is adjacent to the Bastrop Fisherman’s park. Just drive down 969 and it hits 71 just outside of Bastrop. Takes 20min max.

Prearrange shuttle (taxi) with John at Rising Phoenix. He is a Colorado river outfitter. 512-677-2305 or 512-985-5057. He charges $20 to pick you up at the Library and drive you back to the Utley 969 bridge. That way your rig is waiting for you when you get finished floating and you can load and go. Rising Phoenix picks up and drops off at the library and Fisherman’s boat ramp and will keep an eye on your car, plus the Library parking lot is lit. I’ve never had any problems. I’ve never left a car at the Utley bridge. It looks kind of creepy under there.

The float from Utley to Fisherman’s is about 13miles I think. Just past halfway is a big island where we camp, unless somebody is there already then we go river right around the island and camp on a sand bar on the right hand side just past the end downstream side of the island. The sand bar is probably private property but we’ve never had any trouble, just a few cows wandering around from time to time.

This island is pretty big. Plenty of firewood. Not much protection from the north at the gravel bar campsite on the upstream side of the island.

There is an noticeable pump intake facility just upstream of the island on the left side.

Take some time to explore up Wilbarger creek on your way to the island if the water is high enough

Canoeing the Colorado River - Camping Site


We usually make it a two night trip just because it’s a lot of work to pack everything up. Float to the island and set up camp first afternoon, then spend the entire next day there, then depart morning of day 3 and go to Bastrop, which takes only 2-3hrs.

I’ve never gone past Fisherman’s to Smithville park but have heard that’s a nice float. The river is very sparsely populated from Utley to a mile or two past the island. Much less so that from Austin to Weberville, for example. About a mile or two past the island you’ll start seeing more houses and noise, especially as you float into Bastrop.

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