Boating and Fishing
Amistad National Recreation Area is known for excellent boating and fishing opportunities. If you don't fish or have a boat, read on! There are plenty of other fun activities. Grab your cameras, binoculars, swimsuits, and fins and have fun!
Viewing Native American Rock Art
Prehistoric Native American paintings abound in the Amistad area. Visitors may view these 4,000 year-old pictographs by boat or on foot.
Panther Cave, located on the Rio Grande near the Pecos River, is accessible only by boat. Forty minutes west of Amistad Visitor Center is Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site. Guided walking tours of caves featuring rock art are available Wednesdays through Sundays at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. (morning tours only during summer). The Rock Art Foundation, a non-profit conservation organization, also offers guided tours to regional pictograph sites. Click here for more information on visiting rock art sites.
Swimming at Amistad is a great way to escape the desert heat. Water temperatures range from 54°F in winter months to 86°F in late summer. Unsupervised swim areas are located at Governors Landing and at Diablo East.
Swimming is not allowed in harbors, within 200 feet of fishing docks, near mooring areas and boat ramps, and in any other area posted as closed to swimming or visitor use. These areas are unsafe areas for swimmers because of vessel concentrations and fishing hooks and lines that might cause injuries.
There are no lifeguards on duty and swimming is at your own risk, so life vests are recommended.
Remember, Safety First when Swimming!
- Stay within reach of children.
- Do not swim alone.
- Diving from the cliffs is extremely dangerous and is not recommended.
- If you swim from a boat, make sure the boat is anchored. Never start the engine while swimmers are overboard.
- There are no lifeguards on duty; all swimming is at your own risk.
- Small children and non-swimmers should wear Coast Guard approved life jackets; some areas in Amistad Reservoir have sudden drop offs.
- Remember: Water activities and alcohol do not mix. Many drownings are alcohol-related and can be prevented by not drinking alcoholic beverages before or during water sports.
Picnic By the Lake
Relax and enjoy lakeside views at any of Amistad National Recreation Area's eight picnic areas. Each area is equipped with tables, grills, and shelters. There is no charge for picnicking.
Amistad operates five limited-development (sometimes called "primitive") campgrounds that are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Three group campsites are also available by reservation no more than 180 days in advance and can be reserved on pay.gov.
There are several established hiking trails in the Diablo East area. The shortest of them has interpretive signs about the local flora. The Sunrise Trail begins at 9685 Hwy 90 West on the north side of the road and ends at Spur 454. The Figueroa Trail is on the old Figueroa Ranch with rolling trails and views of the lake. This trail network is closed during hunting season. See Hiking for more information.
The Amistad area is a transition zone between eastern, western, northern, and southern avifauna. While there are no specific 'destination' species, the mix creates great opportunities to see a wide variety of birds. The area is also centrally located as a good base for some Texas specialties like Black-capped vireo, Golden-cheeked warbler, and Colima warbler. Click here for more information.
Amistad's desert-like environment offers photographers vast landscapes, beautiful skies, clear waters, and the surprise of cactus flowers after a good rain.
Amistad's exceptionally clear water makes it an excellent place for scuba diving. A dive cove is located at Diablo East. Use your dive flag, know your safe limits, and never dive alone. Don't try scuba diving without training.
Limited hunting is allowed in designated hunt areas of Amistad during specified seasons. Click here for more information.
Visit the Bookstore
If you are interested in purchasing a field guide for your outdoor adventure, visit the bookstore at the Amistad Visitor Center. The bookstore is operated by Big Bend Natural History Association (BBNHA), a non-profit organization which donates portions of the proceeds to Big Bend National Park and Amistad. BBNHA has a nice selection of sales items from field guides on numerous subjects, to books on local history and Lower Pecos Rock Art. There are also postcards, videos, children's books, note cards and more!
Attend a Free Program
See our Schedule of Events or call the Visitor Center at (830) 775-7491 for more information.