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Cahaba River NWR in Alabama

A self-supported trip created by guest-paddler

Trip Overview

About a four hour trip and a first for my 10 year old son and me, an avid, at best, kayaker. The water level is key to making this run, especially when you have 200 lbs weighing down the kayak. We made this run about three days after a good rain. I believe the water level was around 2 feet and discharge was around 200cfm (using the USGS 02424000 CAHABA RIVER AT CENTREVILLE AL).

We never really had to get out of the kayak, however the water was low enough that you could stop, fairly easily to plot the run you were going to take. I don't think there was really any "bad" runs, however, if your going by yourself or with a younger or less experienced kayaker, use good sense. The water moves pretty quick.

The shoals were scary at first, cause it sounds like a huge waterfall and you can't see the falls, until you right upon them. Most of the shoals are about two to three foot drops, straight forward. There are a couple areas where you can get out and just swim or take a break.
There are about 7 drops over the 150 to 200 yard run. After that, it's mostly sitting back and relaxing.

The take out is just past the first bridge you go under, on your left. they say there is a rope swing 150 yds before the bridge, but I didn't see it.


I put in near a concrete ramp. 2WD vehicles should make it without any major problems. I didn't see any restrooms or water, so load up your water before you leave West Blocton.


No Fees or Permits, unless you are fishing


Cahaba River NWR is located in Bibb County, Alabama, approximately six miles east of West Blockton on County road 24. River access is provided by a gravel road on the south (right) side of Bibb County Road 24 approximately 250 yards past the refuge entrance sign.

Take out is more of a challenge, due to the fact that you have to carry you kayak up a somewhat steep incline. Obviously my 10 year old and I made it, but it will make you break a sweat. To get to the take out, go south on Hwy 5, turn right on River Bend Spur. This will bring you to a "T" intersection, turn right on old hwy 5 / hwy 26, approximately 1/2 miles, turn left on 26. Go about 5 miles and you will cross the Cahaba River. Just past the bridge, there will be a dirt / grass parking area on your right. Park there and follow the dirt trail down to the river.


Maps off the internet will give you a good idea of the what you're in for.

Trip Details

  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)

Trip Location