Pearl River - Spillway to Maye's Lake
I left from boat ramp at the Spillway and paddled to the boat ramp at Mayes Lake. The water level of the river was at around 7.5 feet. Between 3.5 - 4.5 miles in I was close to having to drag my boat across parts of the river that weren't very deep. Thankfully I only actually had to do this once. If the water level was much lower I would probably advise not making the trip.
There are a lot of alligators from about 3.5 miles past the spillway until close to the bridge at Lakeland Drive. None of them seemed to show an interest in me at all. But it certainly got my attention the first few I encountered until it was apparent they weren't particularly aggressive. Still, I gave them plenty of distance.
Also, there wasn't much current and there was an occasional headwind. So a lot of paddling was involved. Also, there were a lot of downed trees. I made a mistake a couple of times and ran into a few branches under the water line. For the most part it is easy to navigate around them if you pay attention.
I didn't see anyone after getting a few miles past the spillway until I got to Mayes lake. There is unfortunately some trash all over the river. At one sandbar about halfway through the trip it's obvious that a lot of teenagers must party there because the place was covered in beer cans.
Overall it's a good trip that takes between 4.5 - 5 hours. There are a lot of sandbars along the way too.
There is parking, a boat ramp, and bathrooms at the spillway area. Mayes Lake is a primitive camping area. There is a boat ramp and a $4 charge for parking.
No fees or permits.
Mayes Lake is a primitive camping area. There is a boat ramp and a $4 charge for parking.
Take Old Canton Road to Lake Harbour Drive. Turn onto Lake Harbour Drive and it becomes Spillway Road. The exit to the pearl river boat ramp will be on the right.
I spoke to some locals I saw camping on a sandbar, which was more useful than what I got from Google maps. At the time I went, the Google satellite images were taken during some flooding in the spring and so they weren't very accurate.