Article by Abby Parks
It’s that time of year again….kayaking season! Have you ever been kayaking before? Those who have ventured out on a lake or creek in search of adventure or a relaxing summer afternoon on the water will testify that it’s a great choice for summer watersports in the Southeast. You may not be aware of all of the great kayaking opportunities in Calhoun County, so we wanted to share details in hopes you’ll consider getting your feet wet!
Creeks to Kayak in Calhoun County
There’s two watersheds that produce some great creeks for Class 1 kayaking fun. The first is the Terrapin Creek Watershed, which covers 184,000 acres in Cherokee, Cleburne, and Calhoun counties. One of the gems of this watershed is Terrapin Creek. It runs just outside Piedmont, Alabama, and features an 8 mile stretch of slow to moderate moving water that is perfect for kayaking, canoeing, swimming, and fishing.
The second, Choccolocco Creek Watershed, is located in East Alabama, crossing Calhoun, Cleburn, Talladega, and Clay counties. One of its most popular creeks is Choccolocco Creek, another option for slow moving water perfect for tubing or kayaking on a hot day.
Things to Keep in Mind When Kayaking
Generally, the outfitters on the Terrapin and Choccolocco Creeks rent equipment suitable for kayaking, canoeing, or tubing, provide shuttles to and from the put in and pick up points, and provide parking and the shuttle at a fee for those that wish to use their own equipment. If you are planning an outing, check the weather forecast and call the outfitter. Some will not operate based on weather conditions, creek levels, or seasonal closings.
The three main pieces of equipment included when you rent are the kayak/canoe/tube, a paddle, and a life vest. When you rent the equipment from the outfitter, you will usually sign a waiver, and there can be fees if you lose or break any of the equipment. Some outfitters are more child-friendly than others as far as proper equipment and rules go, so you should always call the outfitter you are considering to see if they have life vests small enough for your children, provide smaller kayaks, or even allow kids under a certain age. And for folks who like to bring a pet dog along, you should also check the rules first.
It’s important to take note of directions from the outfitter such as where to park, how the shuttle works, and where your journey will end. Some outfitters overlap in locations on the same creeks, and things can get confusing. And you may even need to bring a phone to call for a shuttle when your trip ends.
Floats can last anywhere from a couple of hours to six or seven. It’s important to think ahead and bring some conveniences along with you for your trip:
- Cooler (small soft type is ideal)
- Plenty of water or other drinks
- Bungee cord (to strap the cooler and other items on the boat)
- Water shoes
- Lunch and snacks
- Dry bag or box for car keys or phones
- Sunscreen, hat, etc.
- Trash Bag
One last thing to keep in mind. It’s highly recommended that if you want to go kayaking at one of these outfitters, that you call and book a reservation in advance, especially on weekends or holidays. Some will respond to email or Facebook messenger, but the best way to ensure that your kayaking trip happens is to book at least 24 hours in advance by phone.
Kayaking Outfitters to Check Out
Here’s where it gets fun! Below we’ve compiled the best outfitters you’ll find in Calhoun County so you can plan your day on the water in style.
Terrapin Outdoor Center (Terrapin Creek)
Family owned and operated since 1995, Terrapin Outdoor Center is the longest running outfitter on Terrapin Creek. They also sport an impressive store, where they sell new canoes, kayaks, SUP’s, paddles, PFD’s, and accessories from the top brands in the industry. Another thing that sets Terrapin Outfitters apart from their rivals is that they offer shuttles to the upper Terrapin Creek as well as the lower, so you can enjoy two totally different courses.
They accept credit cards or cash. They don’t allow pets or young children, so it’s recommended to inquire for specifics. They also prefer pre-paid, advance reservations.
Personal boat launch/shuttle $10
Tuesday-Sunday, 9am-5pm (boats must be turned in by 5pm)
4114 County Road 175, Piedmont, AL 36272
Redneck Yacht Club (Terrapin Creek)
The Redneck Yacht Club is a great place for the whole family to put in and enjoy a great day on Terrapin Creek. Or if you’d like to make it a weekend get-away, they have three cabin rentals and RV and tent sites available. And in recent years they’ve built up an area coined “The Hippie Hole” where you can relax and buy food and drink at the Creekside Cafe. It’s open 11am-6pm Saturdays and Sundays, and they sell items like hamburgers, hot dogs, nachos, chips, drinks, and specials. The Hippie Hole is also the stopping point if you decide on their shorter 3 hour float. The longer float lasts up to six hours and lets out at a parking lot that is serviced with one of their multiple shuttles (the other serves the Hippie Hole parking).
The Redneck Yacht Club accepts cash only and requires advanced reservations. If doing the long float, you must put in by 12 noon, while you can start as late as 3pm for the short float.
Double Kayaks $50
Personal boat launch/shuttle $5
Cabin and Camping rates here
Boats must be turned in by 7pm
Drop off: 3850 CO RD 175, Piedmont, AL 36272
Bottom Takeout: 3112 CRD 59, Piedmont, AL 36272
Hippie Hole: CO RD 336, Piedmont, AL 36272
No Worries Kayak Rental (Terrapin Creek)
No Worries Kayak Rental sprung up in 2014, and has since become a popular choice for kayakers. Their put in point is the lovely 7 Springs natural cold spring, which feeds the lower portion of Terrapin Creek with fresh, icy cold spring water. They offer tenting sites there, as well as RV hook up sites at the Hippie Hole, an area they share with the Redneck Yacht Club. Other amenities they offer are a new full bathroom and private showers, an outdoor shower, and rinsing for your private boats. Credit cards and cash are accepted, and advanced reservations recommended.
Double Kayaks $50
Personal boat launch/shuttle $5
Camping rates $40/night
593 County Rd. 336, Piedmont, AL 35960
Choccolocco Kayak (Choccolocco Creek)
If you’re looking for a nice, easy-going float down Choccolocco Creek, then visit Choccolocco Kayak in Oxford, Alabama. They feature a gentle two hour float that begins near Cider Ridge Golf Club and ends at their office located across from the Choccolocco Park entrance at the Leon Smith Parkway/Boiling Springs Road intersection. Rentals are for ages 18 and up, but younger children and teens can take part if an adult is present. Children under 8 years must ride in a tandem kayak.
Tandem Kayaks $50
Personal boat launch/shuttle $10
Parking only $5
Across from the Choccolocco Park entrance at the Leon Smith Parkway/Boiling Springs Road intersection
Talladega Creekside Resort (Choccolocco Creek)
The Talladega Creekside Resort is unique in that it’s the only outfitter to offer tubing, which is a great family activity. They also offer kayaking, and the course for both is 2.5 miles long on Choccolocco Creek. Other things they offer are 10 cabin rentals and 15 RV sites if you’d like to make a trip of it. They are also located 8 miles from Talladega Speedway, so this is a great camping location if you plan to go to the races. They require a minimum of 24hrs notice in advance for a reservation to kayak or tube.
Cooler Tube $10
Per person with personal equipment $5
Monday; Thursday-Sunday 9am-3pm
256-362-9053 (texting preferred)
760 Lake Whitland Drive, Talladega, AL 35160
Sunnyside Daycation LLC (Cheaha Creek)
Just over the line in Talladega County, you can kayak on Cheaha Creek at Sunnyside Daycation courtesy of Darren Knight, the ultra-popular local comedian who portrays his “Southern Momma” character on comedy stages across the country. The float lasts about 2 ½ hours and they accept cash only, so plan accordingly.
Personal equipment $5
Weekends and some holidays 10am-5pm (drops till noon)
1568 Curry Station Rd. Munford, AL 36268
Summary of the Top 6 Kayaking Outfitters in Calhoun County
If you’ve been missing out on one of the best summer water activities available in Calhoun County, we hope you’ll take advantage of it now! Here’s a recap of the best 6 places to kayak: