Dam construction update: starting on June 1, LLELA visitors will not be able to cross the outlet works. There will be no access to the Bittern Marsh Trail or east side of the river. Sometime soon (date currently unknown), all access east of the Cicada Pavilion will be prohibited for about 8 weeks. This will include the following areas and trails: Bittern Marsh Trail, kayaking and fishing in the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, all camping areas, and the Redbud Trail. Only the Blackjack, Green Dragon, Cottonwood, and Cicada Trails will be open during that time.


Kayaking and Canoeing


Moving Water

self-guided/bring your own boat

Moving water: The cities of Lewisville, Carrollton, and Irving have cooperated with several other organizations to open 22 miles of the Elm Fork to paddlers. LLELA hosts the northern-most access point for this route. Things to know before you come:

  • Entry to LLELA is $5/vehicle.
  • Vehicles left at our parking lot must be picked up by closing time on the date of entry: 5 p.m. November 1-February 28 (winter hours); 7 p.m. March 1-October 31 (summer hours). Launch at least four hours before LLELA closes. NO admission after hours to retrieve a vehicle.
  • Due to strong currents just below the dam, we ask paddlers to launch at LLELA and go downstream to a takeout point. Please don't try to take out at the same spot you put in; this advice comes from highly skilled kayakers who were unable to fight the current to paddle back upstream. Arrange a downstream shuttle vehicle in advance. The first public takeout location downstream from LLELA is at Carrollton's Dimension Tract park, 1199 Elm Park Drive. The Hebron Parkway bridge location many paddlers have been using informally is being improved and is inaccessible due to parking lot and launch construction as of May 2020.
  • You can check the current water flow rate at the Corps of Engineers' web site. Kayaking is not possible at less than 80 cfs, and not recommended for most paddlers above 600 cfs. The river is closed to all boating activity if the release rate is above 3,000 cfs. It is your responsibility to determine whether your skills match the current river conditions before you decide to launch.
  • The Elm Fork is subject to a great deal of erosion, and fallen trees are common. Be vigilant and cautious as you navigate the river. Strainers and other hazards are common.  
  • The put-in location at LLELA is primitive. You'll drive a short distance down a gravel road to a dirt parking lot. The parking area is separated from the river access by a pipe fence and gate; you must pass your boat over or through the gate. From there it is a 50-100 yard walk over open, sandy ground to reach the put-in location. There is no formal put-in, but the slope is very gentle, and easy to manage on foot. Wheeled carts or wheelchairs will struggle in the sand, though.
  • Map of the Elm Fork Paddling Trail.
  • Info on a proposed Trinity River Paddling Trail, submitted in 2019 for National Recreation Trail status.

Still water

self-guided/bring your own boat

The Beaver Pond is in the public portion of LLELA, but has limited water feeds and is prone to going dry during long periods of drought. Check our current conditions before you go. **Please note that fishing is not allowed in the Beaver Pond.

There are several private businesses from which you can rent kayaks or canoes, but none inside LLELA. Some of these businesses will deliver boats to LLELA for you to use, and some do offer a shuttle service to bring you back to your starting point if you are paddling on the river. Some possible contacts are below. Rates and services offered vary; please check directly with the providers for details.


  • Paddle Bound River Outfitters
    Jimmy and Edie Gray, 817.498.9589