Look at the Alabama state seal and you’ll see a web of lines that resemble veins. These mark major river systems that have been the lifeblood of Alabama, providing sustenance for people in region and fueling the growth of towns, cities, and industries. Over millennia, the rivers have also inspired people in this area to value nature—not only for its practical benefits, but also for its ability to help us relax, entertain ourselves, stay healthy and connect with others.
Each spring, the states rivers, streams, lakes and Gulf waters prompt people who love the outdoors to take up a paddle and explore. Alabama literally has it all when it comes to paddling adventures—dark alligator-infested bayous, raging whitewater, slow-moving blackwater rivers, and tropical Gulf water. There’s even a 631-mile paddling route from the mountains to the sea.
Within Alabama, there are also a number of canoe and kayak “trails,” where local boaters, organizations and state officials have identified specific routes as well as campsites and amenities available along the way. Whether you’re interested in day trips or longer paddling journeys, this quick and dirty guide will point you in the right direction with highlights of several prominent water trails in the state.