Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are some fast facts about Amistad Dam, Amistad Reservoir, and Amistad National Recreation Area?

Amistad Dam was dedicated on September 8, 1969.
The dam is operated by the International Boundary and Water Commission.

Dam length in the United States is 1.81 miles; dam length in Mexico is 4.25 miles.

Elevations above sea level:
Pre-dam Rio Grande - 900 feet
Spillway crest - 1086.4 feet
Conservation pool level - 1117 feet
Flood control level - 1140 feet
Subject to inundation level - 1144.3 feet

Record low lake level was 1055.94 feet on May 22, 2013.

At conservation pool capacities, Amistad Reservoir is the second largest lake in Texas, after Toldeo Bend and before Sam Rayburn.

Amistad Dam cost $125 million (1969 dollars) to build.
United States’ share was 56.2%; Mexico’s share was 43.8%

At conservation pool capacity of 1117 feet, Amistad Reservoir has:
65,000 surface acres of water
a capacity of 3,159,270 acre/feet
2/3 of its reservoir volume in the United States.

The Rio Grande arm extends up the river 78 miles.
The Pecos River arm extends up the river 14 miles.
The Devils River arm extends up the river 25 miles.

Total shoreline is 851 miles (compared with entire Texas coastline of 367 miles).
United States shoreline is 547 miles; Mexico shoreline is 304 miles.

At 100°F temperature, 3000 acre/feet or 131,000,000 gallons/day evaporate from Amistad Reservoir.

Amistad National Recreation Area was established on November 28, 1990.

Amistad National Recreation Area consists of 57,292 acres.
Amistad National Recreation Area has 17,820 land acres when the reservoir is at conservation pool level of 1117 feet.br>
The national recreation area border with Mexico is 83 miles.

2. Why does the lake level fluctuate?
Amistad Reservoir is in a desert. Since the Rio Grande is essentially dry below El Paso, Texas, most of the water the lake currently receives comes from rainfall in the adjacent parts of Mexico and Texas. Visit our Current Conditions page for more information.

3. What fees do we have to pay at Amistad National Recreation Area?
The park charges user fees for boating, camping, and hunting. All other activities (other than state fishing licenses and special park uses, including tournaments) are free. Visit our Fees & Passes page for more information.

4. Where can we find hookups for RVs?
Most of the recreation area campsites will accommodate RVs, but there are no hookups. Private RV parks in Del Rio and along US Highway 90 near the lake offer full services. The Del Rio Chamber of Commerce has complete information.

5. Being on the border, is Amistad National Recreation Area safe?
Incidents involving recreational visitors to the Del Rio and Amistad area are very rare. However, as is the case for travel anywhere, use common sense and caution during your visit. Report any suspicious activity to Park Rangers or other law enforcement (The local emergency phone number is 911).

6. How can I visit the prehistoric rock art sites in the Amistad National Recreation Area area? Panther and Parida Caves are archeological sites containing rock art. They are accessible by boat only. Walking tours are available nearby at Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site. For more information visit our How to See Rock Art page.

7. Why does the recreation area allow hunting?
Each park’s enabling legislation directs the National Park Service how to manage the area, including what activities may be permitted or prohibited. Visit our Hunting page for more information.

Did You Know?