My Mom and Dad are heading down to visit us in the hill country soon, and when I spoke with my Dad on the phone the other day about the pending trip, I mentioned the Colorado River. He said something to me which I’ve heard before, in one variation or another. “I can’t believe that the Colorado River runs through Texas.”
His questioning the location of the river is understandable. When many non-Texans hear “Colorado River,” they immediately think of houseboats on Lake Powell in Utah, rafting through the Grand Canyon, visiting the Hoover Dam and, boating on Lake Mead.
But, there is another Colorado River, and it’s right here in Texas, and like most other things in this state, it’s all Texas. There is nothing Colorado about it.
Beginning with its headwaters in western Texas, just south of the Texas Panhandle, the river runs southeast through the state before it empties into the Gulf of Mexico. Various dams have been built along the river in the hill country creating the Highland Lakes. The lakes the river creates provide water reservoirs, flood control, the generation of electricity, and recreation. Eventually, as it heads toward the Gulf of Mexico, the river brings water to the rice farms near the coast.
Unlike the “other” Colorado River, which actually has its headwaters in the State of Colorado, but then runs through several other states and into Mexico, our Colorado River begins in Texas and it ends in Texas. Like I said, it’s all Texas. Well, except for the name.