07:29:11, Alabama, 33° 53.820’N, 86° 6.626’W – Start at this gps and paddle up Canoe Creek Southwest of Gadsden, Alabama. You’ll have plenty of deep water with not much current. Around the curve from the landing paddle under the Rainbow Drive Bridge and then past several shore front homes. No worries. You’ll soon leave that all behind.
The next section of the creek is wide with high hills on your left that shut out all the noise. It seems to dead end into a lake but Canoe Creek splits apart. To the right is Little Canoe Creek and to the left is Big Canoe Creek. You want left. Almost immediately the creek gets thin, curvy and real pretty. Just hills, woods and fields. Pull over and hike a bit. I found an Indian Trail Tree at the bottom of a gully.
Back in the boat you’ll soon reach an old iron bridge that connects two cow pastures. This spot is what I call feature rich. On the left is a truly raw Alabama junk yard packed with all sorts of relics from cars to boats to mobile homes. You might want to have a look around.
Paddle just a little ways past the bridge and take a right up a small side creek that’s no more than a few feet wide but deep enough to paddle for quite a ways. Don’t be surprised if you surprise deer cooling off in the water.
There’s much more of Big Canoe Creek to paddle than one day can hold so save some for the next time and turn around. By now it’ll be late afternoon and you might catch the sun’s rays bouncing off the water and dancing on the rusted underbelly of the old iron bridge.
– Steve Tanner