Fort Worth District
Lakes and Recreation Menu
Frequently Asked Questions
These are some of our more common questions we receive throughout the year. Click on a Question below to see the answer. To submit a question, please use the contact page.
Current Top Questions And Answers
1) What are the rules or regulations of the parks?
Title 36 is the governing federal laws for the lands and waters of Canyon Lake. You can down load a copy at the link below.
2) What are the hours of operation for the park gate houses and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers main office at Canyon Lake?
|Overlook Park:||8:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday||The main office is open all year.|
|Office closed for federal holidays and on weekends, but a Ranger is usually available in the parks.|
|North Park||9:00 am to 10:00 pm||
Park Season: 1 April to 30 September
(opening late in 2013)
|Potters Creek Park||7:00 am to 10:00 pm||Park Season: Open Year Round|
|Crane's Mill Park||7:00 am to 10:00 pm||Park Season: Open Year Round|
Day Use Parks
|Canyon Park & Beach||Please refer to the WORD website for current details. WORD manages these parks. Please use this link. WORD WEB SITE|
|Overlook Park||8:00 am to sunset||Park Season: Open Year Round|
|Guadalupe Park||Sunrise to sunset||Park Season: Open Year Round|
|Hancock Horse Trail||Sunrise to sunset||Park Season: Open Year Round|
|Closed only during rain due to heavy mud at trail head.|
3) Why was Canyon Lake constructed?
In the 1930s there were several flood events along the Guadalupe River. These caused extensive damage. The local governments contacted the federal government and requested help with flood control. After Extensive studies and surveys, the location of Canyon Dam was selected and construction began in 1958.
Canyon Lake was constructed to reduce the potential for damages from flood events and to save lives. Recreation was not the purpose behind the construction. The lake has done its job several times over it history.
Major Flood Events Since the Dam was Finished in 1964:
August 1978 - July 1987 - 1991 to 1992 - June to August of 1997 - 1998 - July 4th Weekend of 2002
4) Who controls the lake water level?
Water flow out of Canyon Dam is controlled jointly by GBRA (Guadalupe Blanco River Authority) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. We own the gates and they own the water rights. The GBRA manages the flow of water out of the lake as is needed to fit and meet the needs of the down stream populations that depend on the water.
5) Why is the water level allowed to drop below the 909 conservation pool level?
The lake was never designed to stay at the 909 conservation pool level always. It was designed to reduce damage down stream due to floods. It is a flood control reservoir with a holding capacity designed to catch flood waters before they do damages down stream. This means that the lake level will fluctuate year round as water flows in and out of the reservoir.
6) I heard that there are parks specifically for the Military and their families. Where can I find them?
There are 2 parks set up for the military and their families. They are managed by the Joint Base San Antonio.
Click on the link below to get more information.
8) Is there a current burn ban in effect for Comal County? Can we have a fire at our campsite?
To know if there is a current Burn Ban in Comal County, which includes all of Canyon Lake, you will need to access the Fire Marshals web page at the following link. The Fire Marshall determines the limit and extent of what is acceptable during the burn ban. Please read and follow their guidelines. We DO enforce burn bans in the parks. When you check into a park, our gate attendants or rangers will let you know the current level of the burn ban .
9) Do all the parks have BBQ grills?
Yes for All the camping parks managed by USACE have a grill for each site you rent in North Park, Cranes Mill Park, and Potters Creek park.
No for Overlook Park with is an observation park.
To know about Comal or Canyon Parks you will need to refer to the WORD website. Click HERE
10) Can I have a fire arm in the park?
A concealed handgun permit is NOT valid on Federal property, which includes all of Canyon Lake, the parks and the shoreline. It is illegal to posses a fire arm of any kind within any parks, trails, beaches, shoreline, etc... This includes BB Guns, Air Soft guns, Paint ball guns, dart guns, etc...
Any device, toy or weapon designed to shot, throw, fling or eject a projectile at anyone or anything is NOT allowed. These items are PROHIBITED. Those individuals which choose to bring in such items will be asked to remove the prohibited items from the facilities. If they do not comply, we will ask them to leave Federal Property and not return unless they leave the item(s) at home. You can be issued a fine for ANY item that is deemed under federal law as illegal or prohibited.
11) Are there any alligators in Canyon Lake?
Our rangers have not seen any alligators in the lake their selves. Over the past decade, a few locals have reported seeing an alligator or two in the lake or basking in the sun on the shore.
It is not impossible for alligators to live in Canyon Lake. Before Canyon Dam was built, the Guadalupe River ran murky and warmer than it does today. Stories exist of alligators living in the warmer waters of the river, but no one has seen them in the river down stream of the lake in years now that the river runs colder and clearer.
12) Can I fish on the lake from the shoreline?
YES! You can fish anywhere on Canyon Lake or at the river coming in and out of the lake. You are required to purchase and have on you a valid and current Texas Fishing License. To get a license please follow the link below to the Texas Parks and Wildlife web site. You can be fined for not having your fishing license.
13) I like to fish often. Where can I get information on the Share Lunker program?
Texas Parks and Wildlife runs the Share Lunker Program. Click on the link below to get to them directly.
14) Can I bring Alcohol into the parks?
Each park has rules on alcohol consumption.
In Overlook Park, alcohol is prohibited and you can be fined and expelled from the park for possession of any quantity or type of alcohol.
In all the other USACE managed parks it is allowed, but we would ask you to not use glass.
Anyone found to be a public nuisance due to drinking is subject to fines, being expelled from the park(s) and arrested by the county law enforcement.
15) Can I bring my pet into the park? Some parks allow pets and others do no. Use the list below to know if you can bring a pet.
Pets Allowed ?
Pets are allowed in most parks USACE manages as long as they are on 6 foot or shorter leash.
To know about Comal or Canyon Parks you will need to refer to the WORD website. Click HERE
We reserve the right to ask you to remove any animal from any park if the animals presence and or behavior is potentially detrimental to public health and or safety.
You cannot leave a pet unattended in the sun, a car or else where. They can die of heat stroke just like you. If your pet relieves themselves on Federal property, you must remove the solid waste or be fined.
This includes day use areas, camping parks, trails, boat ramp facilities and any other property managed by the Federal Government.
16) What are the rules on golf cart type vehicles in the parks?
In accordance with Texas Transportation Code , Golf Carts are not allowed to be operated on Public Roadways. This includes all roads with in an U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Projects.
In some of our camping parks, you will find a representative of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers driving a golf cart, ATV, scooter or moped. These individuals are gate attendants and park hosts making the rounds to fulfill their required duties. They are allowed to use them since they work for us and have approval by the lake manager.
17) I am interested in Employment. How do I look for jobs with the US Army Corps of Engineers?
All federal jobs are posted on the USAJobs web site. Click on the link below to go there and do a search for jobs in your area or around the nation.
18) Why can I not launch my kayak or canoe from a closed Corps operated boat ramps?
Some ramps close when the water level is too low. This prevents boats and jet skis from being launched. As a precaution and preventative measure, we excluding all water craft from launching from the closed ramps within Corps parks. This includes kayaks and canoes. We understand that you can carry those to the water and launch them by hand. At this time we feel it better to have those launched at ramps that are open or at other points upriver or around the shore that you can access free of charge.
The usage of the ramps by kayak and canoe owners often causes boat owners to demand the right to launch their craft also. To prevent damage to anyone's property and to reduce potential conflicts, we are asking that you launch from other areas that are not closed at this time. If this policy changes we will let you know.
Here are a few options:
1-You may launch the kayaks or canoes from the fishing pier area just outside of Cranes Mill Park gates.
2-Launch from the marina next door to Cranes Mill Park.
3-Launch from one of the other county ramps that are near the river.
4-You are welcome to rent a camping sight and launch from the shore inside the parks.
19) How do I get a permit to pump water out of the lake?
Contact GBRA in Sequin and start the request there first. Once you have their approval in writing, then come to the Corps office in Overlook Park and make a request to put you water line across federal property. We will need to have everything in writing from the land owner. Include plans showing exact locations of pumps, water lines and power cutoffs. We need property lines marked and the flood plane marked also.
Not every request can be approved. Do not expect to receive a permit just because you have approval from GBRA.
Do NOT start construction to put the line in until you have official documents in hand that say you have a permit for crossing federal property.
20) Can I get a permit to construct on the shoreline next to my land?
NO ! You can NEVER construct on federal property.
There is a moratorium on construction of anything on federal property. No gazebos, steps, ramps, roads, docks, porches, etc. Anything, currently on federal property without permission will be required to be removed. If your neigbor has something on federal property, please do not follow their behavior. We will make you and your neigbors remove the construction at your own cost.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call the office during business hours and we will answer your questions.
PLEASE read the web page for adjacent land owners. This describes everything in detail. Click HERE to access that page.
21) How do I get a permit to construct in flow easement on my land?
Contact the Corps office in Overlook Park and make a request in writing. Details on what is needed in a request packet are on the adjacent land owners info web page. Click HERE to access that page.
22) I would like to go metal detecting. Where am I allowed to use the metal detector?
Basically, you can use a detector at Canyon Lake. We ask that you restrict usage to the designated beach areas. If you find anything with a value greater than $25, it must be turned in to a Ranger for processing. The actual rules are shown below.
Refer to ER 1130-2-540 Chapter 6-3. Cultural Resources Protection Policy, in section C. Enforcement, sub-section (3), paragraphs d and e
"d. Use of Metal Detectors on Water Resource Projects. The use of metal detectors shall
be allowed on beaches, or other previously disturbed areas, that do not contain or would not
reasonably be expected to contain archaeological, historical, or paleontological resources. Digging
shall be limited to hand tools that can be used by one hand only. Hand tools shall be limited to
four (4) inches wide and twelve (12) inches long. District commanders are authorized to restrict
metal detector use in these areas, until completion of a cultural resources survey. If upon
completion of the survey, archaeological, historical, or paleontological resources are found, district
commanders are authorized to restrict the use of metal detectors in these areas.
e. Found Items. Non-identifiable items, such as coins (of nominal value less than $25) that are found, with or without the aid of a metal detector, do not need to be deposited with the Operations Project Manager or a Ranger. All identifiable items, such as rings, watches, etc., or items of greater than nominal value (i.e., $25 or greater) shall be deposited with the Operations Project Manager or a Ranger for disposition in accordance with 36 CFR Part 327.15, 36 CFR Part 327.16, and subsequent revisions. All archaeological, historical, or paleontological items found shall be deposited with the Operations Project Manager or a Ranger."
23) Do I need a fishing license to fish at Canyon Lake?
Generally, an adult is required to have a Texas State Fishing License in order to fish in any Texas waters. Use this link below to see the current rules for License in Texas for resident and non-resident.
26) Why are no walkers and bikers allowed in Cranes Mill or other parks like in the past?
The response is a little long. Please click HERE to down load the document that explains the situation.
We do allow a 10 minute drive through at any of our camping parks on the lake. BUT this is NOT allowed on weekends, when the park is at capacity or on holidays. Gate attendants have been instructed to turn away drive throughs during these times. You are welcome to visit and drive through any other time of the week or year when the park is open.
If you are coming in late to camp and have not registered at the gate house before it closes at 10 pm, you will NOT have access to the park until the next morning when the park gate house reopens at 7 am.
If you are a registered camper at the park and leave the park for the evening and find your self outside the gates after 10 pm when the gate house closes, you can access the park by foot only. NO vehicles are allowed to enter the park after the gate house closes at 10 pm.
If you have a reservation in Potters Creek Park or Cranes Mill Park and have not checked in and registered with the gate house before the gate house closes at 10 pm, you will not have access to the park until 7 am the next morning when the park gate house opens for business.
Gate attendants do NOT have to allow anyone in the gates after 10 pm. If the clock says 10:01 pm and you show up at the gate house, then you are outside of business hours and must come back the next morning.
There is NO pass word, code or key or special pass that will allow anyone in the gates once the gate house closes at 10 pm.
Make arrangements to arrive early enough to check in before 10 pm so you are not caught outside the gate when it is locked.