Paddling Trails

Kayaking and Canoeing on Dickinson Bayou

Dickinson Bayou

Dickinson Bayou is located in southeast Texas in the San Jacinto-Brazos Coastal Basin.[1] Dickinson Bayou rises two miles northeast of Alvin in northwestern Galveston County (at 29°29′ N, 95°14′ W) and flows east for over 20 miles to its mouth on Dickinson Bay and Galveston Bay, just south of San Leon and a mile east of the Southern Pacific Railroad (at 29°28′ N, 94°57′ W). It traverses flat to rolling prairie surfaced by dark, commonly calcareous clays that support mesquite, grasses, and cacti. In the lower reaches of the bayou the soil changes to sandy and clay loams that support scrub brush, hardwoods, and pines.


Those who do so engage in fishing, canoeing, water skiing, swimming, and sight seeing. Two locations are designated for launching watercraft one location being where highway 3 intersects with the bayou for launching boats and small watercraft. The other location located at Paul Hopkins park on FM517. Kayaks and small shallow water boats can travel deep i to the tributaries. The greatest concentration of tributaries fall within the city limits of Dickinson, Texas. These tributaries pass through many neighborhoods. Major named tributaries that flow to Dickinson Bayou include Gum Bayou, Benson Bayou, Magnolia (Geisler) Bayou, Bordens Gully, Cedar Creek, and LaFlore’s Bayou. Many of these tributaries flow over private property.


Fishing is a popular activity for those visiting Dickinson Bayou. In dry summers drought the water becomes saltier and produces many smaller saltwater fish not usually seen in brackish water. These include ladyfishredfishcroakerpiggy perch, and an occasional speckled trout. In the winter months, flounder make an appearance in the section of the bayou closest to the bay. Spring brings out small largemouth bass and catfish in the lower reaches of the bayou.

Flora & Fauna

Dickinson Bayou has a great diversity of flora and fauna along its banks. Egrets, herons, hawks, and other birdlife are commonly seen. Rabbits, turtles, fishes, snakes, and even an occasional alligator might also be found along the bayou and the tributaries. The bayou has huge numbers of trees such as black willow, box elder, cottonwood, loblolly pine, and sycamore. It also has less common trees, like oaks and hickories and a surprising amount of understory.

Private Property

Respect private property by not trespassing or littering and keeping noise levels down. This river is classified as navigable, which permits public use of the streambed and, if necessary, the banks to portage any hazard. Any other use of private river banks without permission of the landowner can be considered trespassing. Under Texas Penal Code (§30.05), criminal trespass occurs when one enters property after receiving notice not to enter. Notice includes verbal notice, a fence, sign(s), purple paint on posts or trees, or the visible presence of crops grown for human consumption.

Water Quality

As with all bodies of water quality of the is variable, but is generally unsuitable for swimming. Precautions such as washing hands and using hand sanitizer are recommended.

Where to Launch

Paul Hopkins Park

Highway 3 Boat Launch

146 Boat Launch