We thought we'd centralize our collection of river put-ins, take-outs, and other notable river locations into one place for your general use and enjoyment. The below maps cover the basics of the area: Flint River, Paint Rock, Indian Creek, and Sipsey. We hope to grow this list in the near future with maps for Bear Creek, Cahaba, Terrapin, and others.
Click the headers below for the corresponding maps.
And if you, our readers, want to send us notable locations, we'd love to add them here. You can recommend a location in the comment section.
We at Huntsville Outdoors have canoed and kayaked the Flint numerous times so we've amassed a respectable number of points of interest (POI). POIs include rope swings, caves, camp sites, obstructions, etc. Read our Flint River Canoe/Camping trip report for more details. The Flint is great for recreational canoe/kayaking north of Hays/Cherokee Landing. The river widens and slows south of there but is better for fishing.
Paint Rock River
We've canoed the Paint Rock only once so we just have a put-in and take-out.
Read the Indian Creek Trip Report to understand more on this little-known gem.
The Sipsey is located in Bankhead National Forest and is considered Alabama's only "wild and scenic" river. For much of the year, the water level is too low to float. The winter months offer the best water flow. According to a park official, the USGS gage height should be between 4-7 feet. We've kayaked it at 4.20ft and the 100 yard dash still sunk one in our group. Take a look at the full article for more info.
An excellent place to paddle if you don't want to have to use the buddy system to return to your car up the river. Pick a spot anywhere in Limestone Bay to park and you can pretty much paddle around and return to your car wherever it is parked. Be aware that alligators inhabit most of this area, which may either be a bonus or factor that weighs against paddling here, depending on who you are. Remember though: never approach or feed alligators -- both activities are illegal and pretty stupid.
Hambrick Bat Cave
For an amazing experience, take a short paddle to Hambrick Cave and watch the nightly emergence of ~60,000 gray bats which is most impressive between May and September. Bats begin trickling out within just a few minutes of sunset and are swarming within another 5-10 minutes. Keep an eye out for horned owls as they feed on the bats.
The put-in is on the north side of the river just east/upriver of the TVA-operated Guntersville Dam. TVA has created a recreation area that is open to the public. See the map for exact location. Interesting note about Hambrick Cave bats is they are all female and one of the largest maternity colonies of gray bats in the country.
This is a popular sightseeing activity so expect other kayakers and bigger motorized boats. Please do not shine non-red lights on the bats during emergence as it affects the bats and the viewing. Besides, it's typically light enough outside during the busiest part of the emergence.