Lake Amistad on the Rio Grande

The Rio Grande, as Americans call it, is one of America’s great rivers.  It flows from Colorado to the Gulf of Mexico, where the Mexicans call it Rio Bravo.

Lake Amistad is a reservoir on the Rio Grande, just near its confluence with the Devils River near the Texas town of Del Rio. The Lake is fed not only by the Rio Grande and Devils Rivers but also the Pecos Rivers in southern Val Verde County. Lake Amistad is a remarkable sight with the clear blue skies and rugged limestone cliffs offset the stunning indigo blue water.

Amistad is now a National Recreation Area (NRA) which forms the border between the US and Mexico.  One of the reasons for it being declared a NRA is because it is home to dramatic 4,000 year-old rock art. There are many of these mysterious paintings which adorn rock shelter walls in the upper reaches of Amistad Reservoir. In fact, with an estimated 1,400,000 prehistoric artefacts in the park’s museum collection, Amistad National Recreation Area has the National Park Service’s third largest collection of such ancient relics.

There are also over 400 Indian archeological sites, including caves, rock shelters, mounds and Indian pictographs for one to explore and miles of shoreline to hike.    

It is for its natural beauty that folks flock to Lake Amistad.   If you like water adventures, Lake Amistad is a great place for water skiing or because of the crystal clear waters, it’s perfect for scuba diving and snorkelling.

The Lake has top-quality year round fishing, especially for largemouth, smallmouth, and striped bass. Some fishermen also try for channel and blue catfish, crappie, sunfish, and alligator gar. To maintain the high-quality fishery, “catch and release” practices are encouraged.

With approximately 60,000 surface acres of water and good weather most of the year, Amistad is a boater’s paradise. Houseboats, ski boats, sail boats, and personal watercraft are commonly seen on the lake.

The recreation area offers five campgrounds. All are primitive without RV hookups. Campsites are on a first-come-first-served basis and cannot be reserved. There are however RV parks and campgrounds with full facilities located nearby.

There are a number of resorts dotted around the lake as well as marinas.  House boating is very popular for families, and the range of boats available are easy to operate safely.

The park is 150 miles west of San Antonio on US Highway 90, and about 250 miles east of Big Bend via US Highways 90 and 385. Access to Amistad from the north or south is on US Highways 277 and 377.

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