Main Stem

The Main Stem of the Trinity River begins at the confluence of the Elm Fork and the West Fork, in the Dallas Floodway, and flows east and south past downtown Dallas into the Great Trinity forest. The Main Stem runs between very steep banks of floodplain soils and occasional shale and limestone outcrops, and is bordered by floodplain trees, grasslands and wetlands in the Dallas Floodway and extensive bottomland hardwood forests in the Great Trinity Forest. Bird watching is excellent, and wildlife sightings include coyotes, snapping turtles, alligator gar and beaver. A number of creeks and drainage ways flow into the Trinity Main Stem, especially at higher river levels. There are trips from 5 to 10 miles in length on 23 miles of the Main Stem, which has a dependable flow all year. One small rapid is located beneath the Inwood-Westmoreland bridge. There are a number of navigation lock and dam structures downstream of South Loop 12 on the Main Stem, beginning with Lock and Dam #1 at McCommas Bluff. The lock area on river left is often blocked by logs or flood debris, but might be navigable at higher river levels. The dam ruins on river right have been run, with caution, straight over the drop. Lock and Dam #2 is upstream of Belt Line Road; it requires scouting and usually must be portaged. Below Malloy Bridge there are more structures, starting with a dam near the mouth of Ten Mile Creek, which must be portaged.

There are two trips on the Trinity River main stem. Each map below represents approximately a day trip 

Sylvan to S. Loop 12
10 river miles


S.  Loop 12 to Dowdy Ferry
8.5 river miles
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