Newbie in Central Alabama
Posted by: old_user on Jun-07-09 11:51 AM (EST) Category: unassigned
I've wanted to take my family out on canoe or kayak for a while now. I'd like to find an easy section of creek in the area (Cahaba or Choccollocca) to try paddling. My ideal set up would be my wife and I in a canoe or double kayak and my teen daughters in individual kayaks. My wife would strictly be a passenger because of some medical issues so I'd like to find an easy run that could be done in a few hours. Somewhere where there would be a decent flow but not be any portages. Just something relaxing for my family to enjoy a half day out. If any of you know of such a section in Central Bama please let me know. I have a GPS, so "put in, take out" spot coordinates would also be appreciated so I could check it out in advance. Thanks.
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Posted by: old_user on Jun-07-09 1:22 PM (EST)
Why not make the first trip on a lake? Launch and take-out at the same place, that way you can control how long you spend on the water. If you are newbies and you want to keep it to a half-day, the mere process of packing, loading, driving, unloading and launching is going to take up most of that time, the first time you do it.
Posted by: old_user on Jun-08-09 1:50 AM (EST)
Lake or Slow River|
Posted by: old_user on Jun-12-09 11:40 PM (EST)
I concur with Memphis. It sounds like you and your wife have physical limitations in addition to being new to paddling. Still water is the place for you to practice initially. Letting the flow take you downstream sounds nice, but once you leave the put-in point, there is no turning back and if you hit obstacles you cannot handle or you are not fit to make the whole trip, you could be in trouble. If you insist of moving water in Central Alabama, I would start with sections of the Tallapoosa or Coosa rivers. There are any number of bridges you could paddle between on both rivers. Just don't start with the stretch between Jordan Dam and Wetumpka on the Coosa or try to take on the two miles below Thurlow dam on the Tallapoosa. I live in Dadeville by the way and recently completed what I claim to be the first total descent of the Tallapoosa River from Paulding County, Georgia to Fort Toulouse below Wetumpka.
Watch for posts by "autiger."|
Posted by: ezwater on Jun-07-09 10:48 PM (EST)
An Auburn alum, I believe. He posts more on the Paddlers Place Discussion Forum, usually to share some pictures of his Alabama exploits. He might have some suggestions.
Posted by: old_user on Jun-08-09 1:52 AM (EST)
I live in central Alabama|
Posted by: karsmi on Jun-08-09 9:22 AM (EST)
I paddle 4-6x per week at Oak Mountain State Park. There are 3 lakes there, each takes about an hour to paddle the perimeter at pretty much full speed - longer if not doing it for exercise.
I'm in North Alabama|
Posted by: jimyaker on Jun-08-09 1:50 PM (EST)
and though it may be a bit of a drive for you, Bear Creek near Hackleburg is a nice easy creek with only a couple of class II rapids and it has water all summer long from the dam release.
Google Terrapin Creek|
Posted by: old_user on Jun-08-09 8:50 PM (EST)
Posted by: old_user on Jun-09-09 2:32 PM (EST)
There's another more recently published book called "Paddling Alabama" that has 29 trips all over the state. I picked this book up at a local Books-a-million for about $16. All of the trips are geared for half-day to full-day trips. No overnighters. It should give you plenty of ideas. I'm not sure where in central Alabama you are but the Coosa River stretch below the Jordan Dam is very family friendly. The rapids are not bad at all and the big rapid, Moccasin's Gap can easily be portaged over the bolder in the center of the river. There are two outfitters that I've used for the river. There websites are coosaoutdoorcenter.com and coosariveradventures.com.
Posted by: old_user on Jun-09-09 3:13 PM (EST)
Thank you others for the additional replies. Been studying the links and have them all bookmarked. I know this state is "eat up" with paddling opportunities. :)
Posted by: old_user on Jun-09-09 3:16 PM (EST)
Oh, BTW, I live near Logan Marin lake outside of Pell City.
I live in South Alabama|
Posted by: miriamcanoe on Jun-09-09 9:56 PM (EST)
If you are ever in this area, I would love to paddle with you and introduce you to our lovely streams.
if you're in St. Clair Co.|
Posted by: old_user on Jun-10-09 9:48 AM (EST)
these would be close to you
Posted by: lbrown on Jun-11-09 9:12 AM (EST)
the Upper Tallapoosa near Heflin. www.tallapoosariveroutfitters.com
Posted by: autiger94 on Jun-11-09 3:31 PM (EST)
Someone beat me to making a comment about Terrapin Creek....it's about 15 minutes north of Piedmont right on the Calhoun-Cherokee County line. www.canoeshop.com is their website (Terrapin Outdoors) and there's a link to the local river gauge for flow information. The upper 8 mile trip is nice between 200-350 cfs...much higher than that it can be rough on the inexperienced. A little less than that it can turn into a dodging rocks and getting hung up too much trip. They rent SOT kayaks for $25 per person and that includes the shuttle...I'm not sure about canoe fees. Make sure you call ahead to check the river levels and make a reservation (they are closed on Mondays) The water levels have been really good so far this year...last summer they dropped below 100cfs. The owner (Mike) is a real nice guy...I bought 2 new SOT's from him and ran the upper trip a month or so ago. The water was somewhere between 300-350 that day and I covered the 8 miles in about 3 hours...I was by myself and didn't make many stops...you could easily make it a 4 or 5 hour trip. Here's some pics of that trip and the creek in general:
Posted by: autiger94 on Jun-11-09 3:56 PM (EST)
Here's some additional info and shots from the creeks around Lake Guntersville State Park and a few others in NE Alabama you might consider: