Kayaks & Canoes

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Cypress Creek

(courtesy of Natalie H. Wiest - Canoeing and Kayaking Houston Waterways) - book available in-store

Cypress Creek is a tributary to the San Jacinto River that joins it at Lake Houston. This beautiful un-channelized stream has several paddleable segments. It is also heavily wooded, so be on the lookout for trees that are down in the water or just above the surface. Canoeists call tree branches in the water “strainers”. Like the cooking utensil, they will strain the solid items (you and your canoe) from the liquid (the creek). At best this is uncomfortable; at worst, it can be deadly, so if you do not have good maneuvering skills you may want to leave at least the upper stretches alone and the bottom ones when the riverkayak trips and lessons alerts in houston is up and the current racing. At low-water levels (especially too low for paddling), there are beautiful big white sandbars, which may or may not be visible at higher water levels.

               Most of the year there isn’t enough water to make the upper runs, so check the gaging stations before you decide whether or not to paddle. Your other pre trip arrangement should be to call Mercer Arboretum (281-443-8731) if you plan to use the canoe ramp there for either putting in or taking out; or call Jesse Jones Park (281-446-8588), located at a point after Cypress Creek joins Spring Creek.


Access 1: Meyer Park

               Directions. Meyer Park is located at 7700 Cypresswood Drive in Spring. From Stuebner Airline Road, turn west on Cypresswood. The park appears on both sides of the road; you want to drive in to the south part of the park to unload your boats and gear. If there’s enough water to paddle the stream, this will not work well as an out-and-back trip, so arrange a shuttle for the distance you want to paddle downstream. The park has a large sports complex, thus nice restroom facilities, and hiking/jogging trails.

               Cypresswood Park is not very far downstream and could be an alternative put-in or very short distance take-out; 4 miles from Meyer Park is the Kuykendahl Raod crossing; or for a much longer paddle, Mercer Arboretum is 12 miles downstream (8 miles from Kuykendahl).


Access 2: Kuykendahl Road Crossing

               There is a “no motor vehicles” sign posted on the north-eastern corner of the crossing. That is the spot to carry your craft down to or up from the river. To be safe, you should probably park away from the crossing and well off the side of the shoulders of the road. If this is your put-in, make sure you have contacted – well in advance – Mercer Arboretum (281-443-8731) if you plan to use its boat landing area for a take-out. Mercer is located 8 miles downstream, so you don’t want to find out you can’t take out there when you arrive on the spot. Cypress Creek near here has been built up, but there are fewer and fewer signs of development as you head downstream. Like the previous segment, beware of low water and/or strainers in the water. You will see more and more of the namesake cypress trees as you continue along. You will be crossing under I-45 and the Hardy Toll Road. Immediately after the toll road is a railroad crossing that you may wish to portage (carry around). Slow down there, and look before you leap or get into a situation that could be very dangerous. When you approach the Aldine Westfield Bridge, look for the trail to the take-out on your right. You scouted for it and noted its location when you ran your shuttle, didn’t you?


Access 3: Mercer Arboretum

               Mercer Arboretum is located at 22306 Aldine Westfield Road in Houston; the canoe launch is on the opposite side of Aldine Westfield Road from the arboretum. You need to call (281-443-8731) to make sure you can use the put-in/take-out. The bank is a quite steep sandbar, so you may want to scout it before you decide to try to put in here.

               I am very fond of gardening, and of all the public gardens around Houston, this is my favourite. This may be a good lure for shuttle drivers who otherwise don’t want to join you on the stream, and if I’m on a trip in the vicinity, I will be sure to find time to walk through the gardens and down the woodland trail to the iris pond. Japanese pagoda, and bamboo display. I go there as often as I can to enjoy a wide variety of plants in bloom every month of the year, to see which plants are featured and how they are managed, pruned and displayed. The restroom is available when the center is open. Jesse Jones Park is 6 miles downstream, After Cypress Creek has joined Spring Creek. Be sure to call Jesse Jones Park (281-446-8588) to be able to use the facilities there.

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