One of the many natural wonders in the New Braunfels area is the Guadalupe River. This long river
runs for more than 230 miles right through the Hill Country. It offers visitors and locals alike
endless entertainment from camping to canoeing to fishing.
Guadalupe River History
In the Hill Country, the rivers have played a major role in development, particularly the
Guadalupe River. Guadalupe River history is now recognized as being tied to numerous industries,
including winemaking and tourism just to name a few.
Artifacts have been uncovered that suggest people have lived along the river for thousands of
years. The earliest people to inhabit the Guadalupe River Valley were Native Americans from the
Tonkawa, Waco, Lipan Apache and Karankawa tribes.
The Guadalupe River is named for the Catholic figure Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Guadalupe River
got its name sometime around or just before 1689, although different portions of the river have
gone by various names over the years.
New Braunfels was the first German settlement to be established along the Guadalupe River in
1845. Although the founders had originally chosen another site for the settlement, the beauty and
convenience of the river helped change their minds. Throughout the 1800s as more people settled in
the area, The Republic of Texas invested in making the lower Guadalupe River navigable.
Because the water flows freely down the Guadalupe, it's long been used as a power source. In 1912
The Guadalupe Waterpower Company was established and over the course of five decades dams were
built, which lead to the formation of Canyon Lake a few miles north of New Braunfels. In addition
to creating energy and a popular lake, the dams have also helped control flooding in the area.
In 1983 The Guadalupe River State Park opened to the public. The park includes four unspoiled
miles of river front where visitors can enjoy the Hill Country as it's always been for hundreds of
Tubing the Guadalupe River in New Braunfels
One of the preferred pastimes on the Guadalupe River is tubing. A number of businesses have
inflated tubes for rent that act like your own personal watercraft for floating lazily down the
Guadalupe. Every summer thousands of people flock to the area to spend the day making their way
down the water to cool off and surround themselves in the beauty of the Hill Country.