Texas has plenty of rivers, but there are two stretches of Texas rivers that are unlike any others. The Devils River and the Pecos River (the Lower Pecos, to be specific) in Val Verde County exhibit qualities that are found nowhere else.
The Devils River gets, and deserves, plenty of publicity, given its beginning and end in Texas, its smallmouth fishery and its ability to wreak havoc on paddlers. While the Devils is bordered by private lands, for the most part, it does have some limited public access/use points at various places along its path that provide for reasonable paddling expeditions. This rare experience is enjoyed by several thousand folks each year.
The Lower Pecos River is reinvigorated and reincarnated south of Interstate 10 by Independence Creek’s inflows (27± million gallons of fresh water per day), and it is a different story altogether. It has only one public access, at Pandale, for putting in, and the public take out is some 60 miles downriver at the highway 90 crossing near Lake Amistad. That is a five-day paddle if everything goes well. We estimate that less than 100 brave outdoors types tackle the Lower Pecos trip on an annual basis.
According to the University of Texas at Austin: “Although the Lower Pecos Canyonlands contains a uniquely vital cultural legacy of worldwide importance, many Texans don’t even know it exists.” While this reference is to the many historically significant archeological sites located in the region, the same can be said for the recreational aspects of the river as well.
Although the access at Pandale is relatively gentle, those gentle slopes quickly transform into dramatic and scenic canyon country, growing as the river courses southward with some of the most dramatic walls visible at the Highway 90 bridge, a popular viewing spot for travelers.
In between those two spots is probably the most private, pristine, unspoiled and minimally impacted stretch of river to be found in Texas, if not the United States. With its deep holes, stretches of rapids, uneducated fish and insane beauty, this stretch is truly spectacular.
For those not able or willing to tackle the multi-day journey on the Lower Pecos and who may be in the market for a ranch, our French Ingram Ranch listing may very well be the answer. With its seven+ miles of river frontage in this spectacular stretch of the Lower Pecos, the new owner of the French Ingram will be able to enjoy the river in ways that very few lucky people will ever experience.
During our trip, the only sign of human activity were a few pasture fence line terminations on the rim. Bird life in the river bottom was ever-present, and deer eyed us curiously from shady perches along the rim. We probably missed more wildlife than we saw because we were concentrating on the river and her fish. Our primary target on this trip were largemouth bass and they were ready to play—between the four of us, we landed over 80 fish that day! We found bass everywhere, from shady banks in still water, fast running water below rapids and out in the middle of large deep water pools where you can clearly see the bottom in water that is too deep to stand in. What an incredible experience!
French Ingram Ranch is listed through Republic Ranches.
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