Where To Whitewater Kayak in Alabama
Kayaking in Alabama
Did you know that Alabama has more than 132,000 miles of river and stream channels? That means there are endless opportunities for kayaking! Many of Alabama's streams and rivers are classified as Class I, meaning they are great for beginners or those who just want a leisurely all day outing. There are also waterways ranging from Class II to Class VI, which is perfect for anyone who loves the adventure of whitewater kayaking.
What Is Whitewater Kayaking?
Whitewater kayaking is an intense and demanding sport of paddling a kayak on a moving body of water. If you have never been whitewater kayaking, it is important to learn from a professional. It can be a dangerous sport, and you will want to be fully prepared before pushing off onto your first river.
Best Places To Whitewater Kayak In Alabama
Little River Canyon
One of GO-KOT's ambassadors, Matthew Huddleston, is an avid whitewater kayaker. The number one place he recommends to go whitewater kayaking is Little River Canyon in Fort Payne, AL. He explains that LRC is composed of 3 sections suicide (Class IV), Upper 2 (Class IV), and chairlift (Class III), so it provides wide variety of choices for kayakers at different skill levels.
LRC is the deepest free flowing canyon on the east side of the Mississippi and the area also has some of the best views Alabama has to offer. The best part of LRC is that it is runnable for three, sometimes four, season each year.
The Sipsey River is one of the last wild, free flowing swamp streams in Alabama, and it is considered one of "Alabama's Ten Natural Wonders." It is also Alabama’s only river designated as “Wild and Scenic” by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1958.
The river canyon is narrow, steep, and stunning and takes kayakers on a 9.5 mile trip through The Bankhead National Forest, which is known as the "The Land of 1000 Waterfalls." The route is mostly comprised of Class II rapids and it is recommended to visit is during the spring and fall!
Locust Fork River
The Locust Fork River is the major tributary of the Black Warrior River and is located just north of Birmingham. It is the second longest free flowing river in Alabama and The National Park Service considers it to have "outstandingly remarkable" values.
Whitewater enthusiasts come from all over the Southeast and the rest of the country to enjoy the thrill of the Locust Fork's whitewater areas. It is not as demanding as LRC but does have some challenging Class II to Class IV rapids.
For more information on whitewater kayaking in Alabama, check out RootsRated!
All photos provided by Matthew Huddleston, @matthudd_