Huntsville paddling

May have a job relocation to this area and wondering what the paddling opportunities are around the Huntsville , AL area. Lakes, flatwater rivers, whitewater? How far? Whats climate like in winter?

Thanks for any comments.

Check out

Several large lakes near by if you check around and find areas not overrun with power boats.

Me too…
I may end up going there soon as well. I know that there are supposed to be lots of lakes, and good whitewater as well.

My questions is this…are the lakes big enough, and the winds high enough to creat some more challenging paddling conditions / good wind waves, or is it pretty much dead flat water paddling?



North Alabama

– Last Updated: Jan-08-06 10:39 AM EST –

I used to live in the Huntsville area but that was before I got into paddling. Since then I have done some research and hope to spend some time near there paddling myself this year. As far as the winters go, they are relatively mild with the coldest part of the winter usually coming in January and/or February (occasional hard freezes, measureable snow every 2 to 3 years). For the most part, it's not unusual to have daily highs in the 50's or 60's. For open water paddling, the Tennessee River and any of it's man-made lakes are your best bet. The largest ones are going to be near Florence (1 hour west of Huntsville) and Guntersville (30 minutes south of Huntsville). I've seen the wind kick up to the point of whitecaps on the lakes. The river from Guntersville east to Scottsboro and on to Chattanooga, TN offers the best scenery. For an overnight trip, the City of Chattanooga has "The Chattanooga Blue Way", a 50 mile paddling and camping trail along the Tennessee River. Smaller incoming streams to Lake Guntersville offer some open water with some shelter from the wind. As these streams go up in elevation they offer plenty of whitewater opportunities (Class III and IV+). Check with Alabama Small Boats in Helena, Alabama (near Birmingham) for some organized trips as well as the Huntsville Canoe and Kayak Club (do a Google search for a link to their website). In the late fall/early winter several groups organize Bald Eagle watching trips on the lake in the vicinity of the Lake Guntersville and Buck's Pocket State Parks. There are several people from the Huntsville area that I see post on this site from time to time. Check the "Getting Together and Going Paddling" section of this board to find some of their posts. Good luck!


Check out the links page…

Alabama Whitewater lists runs and provides up to the minute weather reports…

I live 9 Miles from Lake Guntersville, and yes, wind waves, current waves, and oportunity to run 80 Miles of river from Nickajack Dam(Chattanooga TN), to Guntersville Dam (Guntersville AL).

River is Navigable to Large Yachts and Barge Traffic…It also provides MANY miles of backwaters through Wildlife Refuges and TVA Lands…

Google “Wheeler Wildlife Refuge”.

White Water is close enough, with the Ocoee River and the Nantahala River within commuting distance…

email me for more info…

I live in Huntsville and we have everything from flatwater (rivers or lakes) to Class V whitewater (mostly in the winter, not dam controlled) within a two hour drive. Weather is very changeable. Highs anywhere from 30 to 60 degrees. I’ve paddled most of the flatwater in the area, so contact me if you want. As for waves, generally not. If you get into a big section of Lake Guntersville with enough wind coming from the right direction, sure. Everywhere else 6" to 1’ waves mean there’s a lot of wind. I also have seven kayaks (soon to be eight!) and don’t mind loaning them. Let me know.