Frequently Asked Questions


1. What are some fast facts about Amistad Dam, Lake Amistad, 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 1,048.51 feet above mean sea level (ams) on June 12, 2024. The record low prior to that was 1,052.48 feet ams on August 15, 2022.
  • At conservation pool capacities, Lake Amistad is the second largest reservoir 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 1,117 feet amsl, 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, 3,000 acre/feet or 131,000,000 gallons/day evaporate from Lake Amistad.
  • 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 1,117 feet.
  • 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 the park's 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 the park's 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 more 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 pictograph (rock painting) sites in the Amistad National Recreation Area area?

Panther and Parida Caves are archeological sites in the park containing pictographs; however, they are only accessible by boat when water levels are high. Walking tours are available nearby at Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site. For more information visit Amistad's How to See Pictographs page.

7. Why does the recreation area allow hunting?

Each park’s enabling legislation directs the National Park Service's management of the designated area, including what activities may be permitted or prohibited. Hunting was one of the recreational activities specifically permitted in the park's enabling legislation (16 USC 460fff, Section 506(d)(1)) as was fishing.

Last updated: June 12, 2024

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10477 Highway 90 West
Del Rio, TX 78840


(830) 775-7491

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