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 1063.70 feet on May, 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 water elevation of 1117 feet Amistad Reservoir has:
65,000 surface acres of water
Capacity of 3,159,270 acre/feet
2/3 of the reservoir volume is 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.
At a water elevation of 1117 feet , the NRA has 17,820 land acres.
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. Click here for more information.
3. What fees do we have to pay to use Amistad National Recreation Area?
The park charges fees for boating, camping, and hunting. All other activities (other than state fishing licenses and special park uses, including tournaments) are free. Click here for more information.
4. Where can we find hookups for RVs?
The recreation area campsites are primitive. RVs are welcome, 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 (911 is the local emergency phone number).
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.
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. Click here for more information on hunting at Amistad NRA.
Did You Know?
Panther Cave and Parida Cave contain spectacular examples of prehistoric Native American rock art. They are only accessible by boat when the lake levels permit. More...