Kayak the Paint Rock River in North Alabama

3-minute read + 10-minute video

The Paint Rock River in North Alabama is a perfect choice for anyone who loves a relaxing day on the water. No tough rapids, lovely scenery, a refreshing summer float—whether you’re a new kayaker or an experienced one, you’ll love the Paint Rock.

man kayaks on a river with a heavily-treed shoreline

Aqua Bound Ambassador, Ken Whiting, on the Paint Rock River

Join Aqua Bound Ambassador Ken Whiting and his new friend Dan Truitt as they kayak down Alabama’s Paint Rock River on an early spring day:

About the Paint Rock River

The Paint Rock “is one of the most relaxed, calming waterways in north Alabama,” says Dan, who’s from the area. “There’s current to help you out, but nothing tricky or dangerous. I often tell people if they have young children or if this is their first time on the water—go to the Paint Rock.”

It’s also a treasure from an environmental perspective:

“The Paint Rock River supports an extremely diverse array of aquatic life, including some 100 species of fish and about 45 different mussel species. More than 12 globally-rare mussels are found in the Paint Rock and its tributaries. One of the mussel species are found nowhere else in the world and one fish species is confined to the Paint Rock River and one stream in Kentucky.” (nature.org)

It flows through three Alabama counties, with a watershed encompassing 460 square miles that includes part of Tennessee. The river is almost 59 miles long. It joins the Tennessee River just northwest of Lake Guntersville.

Its beautiful green water and the natural terrain it meanders through make it an ideal river for paddlers. Dan points out that the waters stay cool in the summers so that, along with plenty of shade, you’re guaranteed a refreshing day of kayaking or canoeing.

The Paint Rock watershed’s biodiversity makes for fun wildlife watching. Paddlers should keep their eyes open for some of Alabama’s residents like fox, coyote, bobcat, black bear, deer, otter, raccoon, myriads of birds and other animals. Several species of poisonous snake inhabit the area, too, some of which swim. Alligators don’t usually find their way this far north.

Sharing a Love of River Paddling

Dan and Ken share a love of river paddling that they talk about along the way.

“People think that because I’m a whitewater paddler I wouldn’t appreciate flatwater or Class I paddling. But that really couldn’t be further from the truth,” said Ken. “I love exploring any type of river.”

man kayaks on narrow river surrounded by tall trees

Dan agrees: “There’s a type of water for everybody. None’s better than the other. There are multiple ways to enjoy the water.”

Part of the adventure is the ever-changing scenery and not knowing what’s around the next bend. Water levels change depending on the season and precipitation. There’s always a chance you’ll spot wildlife along the way. And when you paddle your local rivers you can enjoy them in every season.

Learn More

To rent a kayak or canoe for your Paint Rock River trip, look up Paint Rock River Canoe & Kayak.

To see more from Dan Truitt take a look at: Southern Paddler on YouTube.

Follow all Ken Whiting’s paddling adventures on Paddle TV, also on YouTube.

(Photos courtesy of Paddle TV)

Do you have paddle questions our friendly Customer Service Team can help you with today? Contact them: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]

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