The Red River, which borders Hardeman, Wilbarger, Wichita, Clay, Montague, Cooke, Fannin, Lamar, Red River, and Bowie Counties, is the second largest river associated with Texas. Even though the river forms a major Texas boundary, it is considered to belong wholly to Oklahoma. For this reason, the Red River has not been investigated in-depth by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. However, because of the Red River’s proximity to Texas population centers, it must be considered a major recreation resource for Texans.
Above Clay County the Red River is seasonal, and recreational use is feasible only during periods of heavy run-off. Reportedly, the following points of access for this section are: SH 30 crossing – 21 miles northwest of Quanah, SH 283 crossing – 7 miles north of Quanah, US 283 crossing – 18 miles north of Quanah, US 183 and US 70 crossing – 12 miles northeast of Vernon, and US 277 and US 281 crossing – 14 miles north of Wichita Falls.
The Wichita River flows into the Red River in Clay County. From this junction to Lake Texoma, the Red River is feasible for recreational activities year round. Quicksand is common to this stretch and is a limiting factor to recreational use. The following points of access have been reported for this section: SH 79 crossing – 20 miles north of Henrietta, US 81 crossing – 12 miles northwest of Nocona, and IH 35 and US 77 crossing – 6 miles north of Gainesville.
The Red River is a popular recreational waterway from below Lake Texoma near Denison, Texas, to the Arkansas border near Texarkana; especially when Denison Dam is generating. In the summer months, Denison Dam usually releases water for power generation on the weekends. The river is most feasible for recreational use when the crest of the water release from the dam is caught. This provides good floating to the Texas-Arkansas Line.
The Red River from Denison Dam to Arkansas flows through remote, rugged, wild country, with few points of access available. From Lamar County, eastward, recreational use is feasible almost all year long. The following points of access have been reported for the Denison Dam to the Arkansas section: US 75 and 69 crossing – 4 miles north of Denison, SH 78 crossing – 10 miles north of Bonham, US 271 crossing – 14 miles north of Paris, SH 37 crossing – 16 miles north of Clarksville, US 259 crossing – 13 miles north of DeKalb, and US 59 & US 71 crossing – 6 miles north of Texarkana.