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Black Warrior River in Alabama

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

Birchfield Park / Lock 16

Cold weather finally broke and with no rain to swell the creeks it was time to get the Touring boats out. Martine met me at Birchfield Park for a day of exploring on the upper end of Holt Lake on the Black Warrior River. This lake is the first impoundment above the fall line, so it is like a mountian lake, not mud banks and sandbars like the ones below Tuscaloosa.

First we paddled up Blue Creek to the first shoal. Hawks, Blue Herrons, Kingfishers and Woodpeckers kept us company. This time of the year one can see all of the rock formations and caves along the creek before the trees leaf out.

Davis Creek is two miles dowstream on river left. You can paddle several miles upstream before you reach the first shoal. About half way up we were joined by an Eagle. Atop the ridges you can see where the timber has been replanted.

After lunch we returned to the beach where some of the campers children were swimming. I told Martine that I wish that I was tough enough to swim in that cold water.

80 degree sunny weather and clear water makes for a good day trip. The reason this trip was rated moderate is there are few places to get out of your boat to stretch ones legs. We paddled a total of 17 miles.


This is a Federal Campground. There is a swimming beach, paved boat launch, restrooms and campsites.


If you don't swim or use the boat ramp there is no fee. Otherwise its $4 to launch from ramp. There is a higher fee to camp.


I-59/20 West from Birmingham to Allison/Bonnett Parkway which becomes Warrior River Rd, follow the signs to Bankhead Lock & Dam, Birchfield Park is 1 mile past dam.

Trip Details

  • Trip Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)

Trip Location