San Marcos River

Written by Blaire Chandler-Wilcox
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The San Marcos River runs for 80 beautiful miles. It originates in San Marcos, Texas from the Aquarena Springs and travels southward until it merges and blends with the Guadalupe River in Gonzales County. The waters are said to be pure and crystal clear, and enjoy a day-in, day-out temperature of 72 degrees. The river is carefully tended to by its citizens, where it serves as a beautiful center of community.

San Marcos residents are found every day picnicking on the riverbanks, enjoying a lunchtime dip in the water, or simply resting and taking in the beauty of the landscaped banks. Tubing the river is one immensely popular local pastime, as are walking and biking the trails, all meticulously cared for. As the river flows through the campus at Texas State University, most days are filled with river-side study sessions, casual sports competitions, and colorful blankets upon which doze sleepy students.

The San Marcos River was "discovered" and named by Franciscan monks on Saint Mark's Day in 1709. However, life was teeming on its banks and in its waters for thousands of years prior to the monks taking their exploratory journey. In fact, many geologists and local historians claim that the San Marcos River (and its environs) is the oldest continuously inhabited site in the entire western hemisphere. Evidence of human existence here goes back 12 thousand years, with the earliest residents believed to have been nomadic Native Americans.

Teeming with Wildlife: And We Don't Mean the Coeds

Beyond its history of human habitation, the San Marcos River is considered a veritable biological laboratory. Teeming with wildlife, it contains a number of unusual aquatic creatures, many of which are located no where else in the world. Enjoyed by swimmers and tubers in town at the northern end, the waters become more "wild" further south. Here, in the more rustic 40-mile stretch outside San Marcos, the waters and surrounding wilds are filled with a great variety of sport fish, thousands of turtles, herons, egrets, buzzards, feral pigs, and a wide variety of snakes, including water moccasins. The landscape bears increasingly rare plant species as well, including not only pecan, oak and sycamore trees, but also a wide variety of flowering plants, herbs and shrubs. Along the banks of the San Marcos River, when they say "wildlife," they mean it.

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