Canyon Lake and Dinosaur Tracks

Canyon Lake is a reservoir on the Guadalupe River in the Texas Hill Country. It was formed in 1964 following the completion of the Canyon Dam that was built to control devastating flooding from the Guadalupe River and provide water conservation for the communities downstream from the dam. 

Canyon Dam is a rolled-earth dam that spans 6,830 feet long. The top of the dam is 224 feet above the riverbed and 974 feet above sea level.

A spillway protects the dam by releasing water when the lake level rises to 943 feet above sea level.

In July of 2002 record flooding caused water to top the spillway by more than 7 feet resulting in significant damage below Canyon Dam. The amount of water that flowed over the spillway was approximately 3.5 times the amount of water the reservoir holds. Erosion over the course of three days washed away part of the spillway forming what is now known as Canyon Lake Gorge.

The gorge is one mile long, several hundred yards wide and nearly 50 feet deep. There is exposed rock strata as old as 111 million years showing fossils and a set of dinosaur tracks.

The 2002 flood was responsible for the loss of 9 lives, damage or destruction of 48,000 homes and around one billion dollars in damages.

Canyon Lake has a surface area of 8,230 acres and a shore length of 80 miles. The surrounding area has been given the nickname of “The Water Recreation Capital of Texas”.

Popular recreation activities include, camping, hiking, boating, and fishing. 

The area is also abundant with wildlife.

We spent a week exploring Canyon Lake and the surrounding areas while staying at the Cranes Mill Park. It is a beautiful area and one that we would highly recommend to others to put on their list. 

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