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Wilderness Wanderings: A Long Paddle on the Cahaba Blueway

52 Weekends on the Water
On the Alabama Scenic River Trail, there’s something new to experience every weekend of the year.
Wilderness Wanderings: A Long Paddle on the Cahaba Blueway


Bodies of Water to Explore

Cahaba River

Best Season

Summer, Fall

Skill Level

Paddles: 1 – no skill, desire to learn; 2 – moderate, knowledge needed; 3 – advanced, know what’s up


12.6 Mile Paddle

Trip Duration

1 Day

Recommended Put In & Take Out
Outfitters Nearby
  • Adventure Shoals is the nearest outfitter and is open May- September for tubing floats on the Cahaba.

Trip Summary

Pack your lunch and explore the picturesque Cahaba River Blueway on a captivating 12.6-mile paddle adventure. Begin with a scenic walk along the Cahaba Riverwalk in downtown Centreville before launching your canoe at the Cahaba Riverwalk and Canoe Launch. Drift downstream, soaking in the tranquil beauty of the river’s surroundings, and pause for a refreshing break at Blob Sandbar, nestled on the edge of the Talladega National Forest. As you continue downstream to the Harrisburg Bridge takeout, marvel at the Cahaba River’s renowned biodiversity, recognized as one of the world’s eight Hotspots of Biodiversity by the World Wildlife Fund and the Nature Conservancy. Whether you’re a novice or seasoned paddler, this day-long journey promises an unforgettable outdoor experience amidst Alabama’s natural wonders.

If you need additional help planning this trip consult the Cahaba Blueway- Know Before You Go Guide. If you need assistance with local recommendations and local paddling knowledge, please reach out to our volunteer Trail Angel Network.

Trail Highlights

Day 1

  • Stop 1: Walk along the beautiful Cahaba Riverwalk in downtown Centreville, AL
  • Stop 2:  Put in in Centreville at the Cahaba Riverwalk and Canoe Launch and paddle down about 6 miles
  • Stop 4: Take a break on Blob Sandbar an ASRT designated campsite/stopping point on the edge of the Talladega National Forest for lunch at 32.881912, -87.16175 (Remember to pack your trash and leave no trace)
  • Stop 5: Continue on down about another 6 miles and the takeout will be on the left-hand side at the Harrisburg Bridge, Coordinates: 32.855903, -87.199105
    • Much of the property in this area is private and its use should be avoided, but the road has a right of way where you can take out.

Side Ventures & Optional Activities to Add to Your Trip

  • The Cahaba Lily Festival is held in May each year is and worth making sure you return to this area for the canoe trip with Cahaba River Society during this annual event.
  • Consider getting involved in the Cahaba River Society or the Cahaba Riverkeepers that work to protect and keep the river clean throughout the year.

Bonus Sightings

  • The Cahaba River is the longest free-flowing river in Alabama and has a wide diversity of plants and fishes due to the variety of its physical habitats and ecology. World Wildlife Fund and the Nature Conservancy recognized the Cahaba River as being one of only eight Hotspots of Biodiversity in the world.  The diversity of the Cahaba River’s fish population is greater than any other temperate river its size. Learn more about the Cahaba River on the Outdoor Alabama website.

Non-Paddler Recommendations

  • Downtown Centreville has The City Cafe a great place to stop and eat in the charming small downtown.
  • The local Outfitter, Adventure Shoals, does tubing and float trips down the Cahaba too which are a great way to spend a lazy afternoon.

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