Medina River Activities Near Bandera, Texas

Located in south-central Texas, the Medina River starts from springs in the Edwards Plateau and empties into the San Antonio River 120 miles later. The Medina River is a calm, peaceful river that has very few natural hazards, making it a waterway that can be enjoyed by the entire family. Keep in mind that much of the shoreline is privately owned, so plan your access and exit points carefully.

The one significant danger posed by the river is the possibility of dramatically changing water levels. For water sports, life vests are strongly recommended, especially for kids. Note that, on all Texas waterways, glass and Styrofoam are illegal. The Medina River is no exception. Leave that stuff at home.


Kayaking the Medina River doesn't really take a lot of planning, other than the entry and exit points for your trip. The river is typically quiet and peaceful, allowing you to relax and enjoy the ride through the Texas Hill Country. Make sure you check the river's water levels before you start your trip since depth can vary a great deal, depending on recent weather conditions. Note that, because water levels can be very low in some places, kayaking is preferable to canoeing.

If you'd rather let someone else plan the trip, give The Medina River Company a call. They specialize in kayak and tube trips down the Medina River, and they're prices are reasonable.
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The Medina River is perfect for tubing. The river's slow flow rate and beautiful scenery makes for a fantastic tubing trip. All you need is a tube, a few friends, and a little time to kill. Be sure to note recent weather conditions and check current water levels. For the most part, the Medina River is clear and clean; however, right after rainfall, the river will be muddy and somewhat cluttered with debris. And, depending on recent weather events, water levels can vary a great deal. (Ideal flow for tubing on the Medina River is 200 cfs to 700 cfs.) Plan accordingly.

Looking for someone to handle the details, so you can simply enjoy the trip? Contact Medina River Company. They'll help you plan, and carry out, the perfect tubing experience.


There are a number of excellent hiking possibilities near the Medina River.

Probably the best known trail is the appropriately named Medina River Trail. The trail is seven miles long, with a paved (concrete) surface. End points are at the Medina River Natural Area and Mission Grande (Jim Mattox Park). Most of the Medina River Trail closely follows the banks of the Medina River. The trail is wheelchair accessible. Biking is allowed. 

Another enjoyable hike in the Medina River area is the El Camino and Rio Medina Loop Trail. This 2-mile loop has a slight elevation gain of 85 feet and is perfect for all skill levels. Kids are welcome; dogs are not. 

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The Medina River is a great place to cool off on hot summer days. Much of the river is relatively secluded. But, keep in mind that most of the shoreline is privately owned. If you want to take a dip and not worry about encroaching on someone's property, stay with us! You can enjoy a day of swimming, as well as picnicking and bird watching.

Picnicking and Other Activities

One of the best places along the Medina River for simply enjoying a family picnic is the Medina River Natural Area. The 511-acre property has a covered pavilion, restrooms, plenty of parking, and, of course, picnic tables. Medina River Natural Area has pecan trees and cypress along the river banks. You'll have access to plenty of scenic hiking and biking trails.

Dogs are welcome, but have to be leashed. Note that boating and swimming are NOT allowed. Medina River Natural Area is open every day, from sunrise to sunset.
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You can stroll along the river or swim in it and the water is so clear you can see the roots of the trees and fish swimming up and down. There are also some wood carvings in the trees welcoming you to the river.
Nicole S, TripAdvisor
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