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Amistad National Recreation Area

Amistad National Recreation Area - BEST Places to Picnic

4121 Veterans Blvd.
Del Rio, TX 78840

Phone
Visitor Information
(830) 775-7491

Explore a Borderland Paradise

Amistad NRA is the United States portion of International Amistad Reservoir, formed on the Rio Grande along the border of the US and Mexico. Amistad is known for excellent water-based recreation, camping and is surrounded by a landscape rich in prehistoric rock art, a vibrant border culture, along with a wide variety of plant and animal life.

Things to Do

Amistad National Recreation Area is best enjoyed out on the water, however there are some things you can do if you don't own a boat. See map in the right-hand column for locations.

Visit Amistad Dam
Visitors can drive across Amistad Dam for a great view and to visit the commemorative eagles marking the border with Mexico. The dam is open most days from 10 am until 6 pm. Please note that half the dam is in Mexico, and is an official Port-of-Entry. If you do not intend to enter Mexico, you can park or turn around before passing the United States flag.

The International Boundary and Water Commission operates Amistad Dam; tours are not offered.

Picnic, Swim, or Walk Down by the Water
Governors Landing has both a day use area and a campground. There are 8 picnic areas around the lake. Visitors can swim anywhere in the lake except in coves with boat ramps or marinas.

Rent a Boat
Forever Resorts operates marinas at Diablo East and Rough Canyon.

Take a Scenic Drive
Viewpoint Road at Diablo East (unpaved) leads to good spots for picnicking, swimming and SCUBA diving.

Tent or RV (dry) Camp
Amistad NRA maintains four primitive campgrounds located throughout the park.

U.S. Military
Active or retired military may use the U.S.A.F. (Southwinds) Marina located just off the road to Amistad Dam.

History

The Amistad NRA area is home to dramatic 4,000 year-old rock art. These mysterious paintings adorn rock shelter walls in the upper reaches of Amistad Reservoir. Boaters can usually access Panther and Parida Caves (depending on lake level), and hikers can go on a guided tour at nearby Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site.

Taking a closer look at the modern landscape of Lake Amistad can tell a person much more about the history of the area than they might at first expect. Surprisingly, the history of the Lower Pecos River Region begins far before the U.S. Military�s early camps and outposts and goes far beyond the beginning days of the Southern Pacific Railroad. 

The first visitors to the canyons that now form Amistad NRA arrived some 12,000 years ago following herds of large ice-age animals that grazed the grassy upland plateaus and ventured deep into the canyons for water. And although the people might be gone, they�ve left a legacy of their life ways in the artifacts and rock art that grace the canyon walls.

Nature & Science

Amistad National Recreation Area supports flora and fauna in a combination not found in any other National Park Service site. This biodiversity is a result of the park�s location in a transition zone between three major plant communities: Tamaulipan Shrubland, Chihuahuan Desert, and Edwards Plateau. This mix of habitats is combined with a huge expanse of the clear, clean waters of Amistad Reservoir.

People use Amistad Reservoir year round. In contrast, some animals utilize the area only during seasonal migrations. In the fall, thousands of Monarch butterflies roost on park lands before continuing their journey south to wintering sites in Mexico. Many waterfowl species spend the winter on the lake before returning north in the spring. Even endangered and threatened species, such as the Interior least tern, use the lake to nest and raise young.

The National Park Service and state agencies have implemented several projects in order to monitor the natural resources of the lake and surrounding areas. Extensive inventories of flora and fauna, yearly Monarch butterfly tagging, and monthly water quality testing provide invaluable data. 

By monitoring changes, park staff can quickly take measures to conserve the natural resources and beauty of Amistad National Recreation Area.

Did You Know?
The first Southern Transcontinental Railroad was completed in January 1883 by driving a silver spike into the track at a location on the Rio Grande just upriver from the confluence with the Pecos River.

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