The San Antonio River Walk Association and San Antonio River Authority will extend kayaking on the portion of the San Antonio River that winds through the downtown business district of the River Walk.

The program, which began in October, will be offered Friday through Sunday until Jan. 31, except for Christmas and New Year’s Day, the City’s Center City Development and Operations Department announced on Wednesday.

“River Walk kayaking has proved to be a very popular activity for downtown residents and visitors,” Councilman Roberto Treviño (D1) said. “My office received numerous requests from the public to continue this program, and by working closely with our downtown partners, I’m happy that we are able to extend River Walk kayaking through the holidays.”

The River Walk Association partnered with the River Authority in October to open the downtown portion of the San Antonio River to kayak traffic after 30 years of being closed. The cancellation of downtown events as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and less river barge traffic led to greater access to the river for kayaking activity.

“Kayaking on the River Walk is a unique experience that gives participants the opportunity to experience the beauty of the River Walk from the river itself,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said. “I had the opportunity to kayak the River Walk, and I’m excited that we’re extending this popular program through the winter months so that more residents and visitors can enjoy this socially distant outdoor activity.”

An estimated 1,800 people have paddled through the business portion of the river, the City stated in the announcement. 

City Manager Erik Walsh said the City will explore the possibility of making River Walk kayaking a long-term program. “The popularity of this program has shown us that our residents and visitors are eager to explore the San Antonio River downtown,” he said.

The kayaking program allows people to paddle 3.5 miles of the River Walk area starting at and ending behind the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts at 100 Auditorium Circle. Launch times begin at 8 a.m. and take place every 15 minutes until 9:15 a.m.

Participants with their own kayaks, paddles, and life jackets pay $15 to launch from the location, and single-person kayaks are available to rent at a $50 rate for two hours. Paddlers can be on the water until 11 a.m.

A portion of the kayaking program’s proceeds will provide support for the River Walk Association. The program will be evaluated again at the end of its extension to determine if it will continue after January, the City said.

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Samantha Ruvalcaba

Samantha Ruvalcaba, who grew up in San Antonio, is a Shiner intern and junior at St. Mary's University studying international and global studies with a minor in communications.