How Wide Is the Trinity River in Texas at Its Widest Point?

Written by Katie Melynn Wood
Updated: September 29, 2023
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Rumor has it that everything seems bigger in Texas. This is true of many things, including the massive Trinity River, the largest in the state and home to many amazing wildlife species. The Trinity River begins with four branches and ends by flowing into the Trinity Bay. It is a great place to fish or go boating, especially if you are in one of the nearby cities.

How Wide Is the Trinity River?

The maximum width of the Trinity River was 1.5 miles. This was during record-breaking flooding in 1908, however, and the current width is significantly less. This river is 710 miles long and around 30 feet deep in most areas. It provides water for a lot of Texas residents, especially those in the major cities along its path, Dallas and Fort Worth. It has flooded in the past, however, especially near Dallas.

Where Is the Trinity River?

This river traverses nearly the entire state of Texas. It begins in the northern part of the state. There are three main branches that make up the beginning of the Trinity River. These are the East Fork, the Elm Fork, and the West Fork. The Clear Fork is sometimes included in this but it is much smaller than the other three. The East Fork flows into the West Fork in Kaufman County. The Elm Fork joins the other two near downtown Dallas.

From Dallas, the Trinity River flows southeast. The river is used as the boundary line for many counties in Texas. It eventually reaches Trinity Bay, which is near Houston. From there, the water from the Trinity joins Galveston Bay and eventually makes it to the Gulf of Mexico.

The Trinity River portion where all of the forks are joined accounts for 432 miles of the river’s length. The total length of the river is 710 miles and it covers almost 18,000 square miles. This area includes Dallas and Fort Worth.

Trinity River Fort Worth, Texas. Sunset over the water, orange and golden colors. Green grass and trees in a public park. Peaceful and calm summer evening. Horizontal orientation.

The Trinity River runs near Fort Worth, Texas.

©Megan McHatten/

Things to Do Near This River

There are plenty of fun activities to enjoy both on the river and in the areas surrounding it. The Trinity River Audubon Center is near Dallas and offers a wonderful natural environment to enjoy. There are hiking trails, a nature store, birding, and many special programs to educate visitors about the Trinity River. The Center also provides resources for school groups both onsite and virtually. The Great Trinity Forest includes 6,000 acres of forest directly on the banks of the Trinity River near Dallas.

Dallas and Fort Worth are two notable cities near the Trinity River. If you want something a bit more urban, a day trip to one of these cities is the way to go. You can enjoy fantastic views of the Trinity River, especially from one of the larger buildings in Dallas.

Dallas, Texas, USA skyline over Dealey Plaza

You can see the Trinity River from some vantage points in Dallas, Texas.

©Sean Pavone/iStock via Getty Images

Fishing in the Trinity River

You can fish in the Trinity River and all regulations are governed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Most of these regulations dictate how large the fish need to be in order to keep them. This can vary by size and location. There are also daily bag limits for most species. If they are too small, you have to release them back into the river. In order to fish in the Trinity River, you’ll need a license. If you use a boat, you have to drain and rinse the boat thoroughly before and after using it in the Trinity River to prevent potential contamination of invasive zebra mussels.

Black bass, striped bass, white bass, sunfish, catfish, crappie, and trout are all popular fish to go for in the Trinity River. Alligator gar is also a popular game fish, although there are strict limits on the number of gar that you can take. If you harvest a gar, you must report it within 24 hours. There are also periodic limitations on gar fishing during their peak spawning times.

The alligator gar is a "living fossil" found largely in the southern United States.



gar is a “living fossil” found largely in the southern United States.


How Does the Trinity River Compare to Other Rivers in Texas?

Spanning 710 miles, the Trinity River is the longest river that is entirely in the state of Texas. While there are others that go through the state, many on their way to the Gulf of Mexico, they begin in other states. The Trinity River is entirely in Texas.

The Rio Grande is the longest river that goes through Texas. It is an impressive 1,896 miles long. It goes through New Mexico and Texas. The Rio Grande originates in Colorado and goes all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. This river forms the border between the United States, specifically Texas, and Mexico. It is the fourth-longest river in the United States.

The Red River of the South is 1,360 miles long. Rocks on the bottom of the river give the water a reddish hue and the river its name. It also gets salt from the land that it passes, which is rich in salt. It begins in New Mexico and flows to the east through Texas. The Red River of the South forms the border between Texas and Oklahoma. It eventually joins the Mississippi River.

Taos, New Mexico, USA at Rio Grande Gorge Bridge over the Rio Grande at dusk.

The longest river in Texas is the Rio Grande, which begins in Colorado.

©Sean Pavone/

Animals around the Trinity River

In addition to fish in the river’s waters, there are plenty of animals that live in and around the Trinity River. A visit to the Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge in Liberty, Texas is a great way to see many of these species as well as learn about the ecosystem around the river. The area allows hiking, kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. There are many trails, although some of them are closed during hunting season.

American alligators and snapping turtles can be seen in the water in this park. White-tailed deer, raccoons, squirrels, and rabbits all live in this area. There are also plenty of birds, many of whom eat small animals and fish that live around the river. Hawks and bald eagles are two that are easy to spot.

Bald Eagle flying over a lake.

Bald eagles are large flying birds and fierce predators.

©Jack Molan/

The photo featured at the top of this post is ©

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About the Author

Katie is a freelance writer and teaching artist specializing in home, lifestyle, and family topics. Her work has appeared in At Ease Magazine, PEOPLE, and The Spruce, among others. When she is not writing, Katie teaches creative writing with the Apex Arts Magnet Program in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. You can follow Katie @katiemelynnwriter.

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