|Section:||Hargrove Shoals Section|
|Class:||I-II||Put-In:||CR24, Cahaba River Dr. (Piper)|
|Gradient:||~7'/mile||Take-Out:||CR26, River Bend Rd|
|Shuttle:||River Bend Rd (CR26) / Truman Aldrich Pkwy (old CR5) / Cahaba River Dr (CR24)||Delorme Gazeteer:||P. 36 C5/D5|
|Water Q:||Primary Gage:||Cahaba at Centreville|
|Links:||TOPO MAP||Required Level:||600 cfs (1000 better)|
|TRIP REPORT||Required Level:|
|The Cahaba river has so many runnable sections that John Foshee
broke it into about 14 of them in his Alabama Canoe Rides and Float Trips guidebook. Of the four sections that
have any real whitewater, this is by far the furthest downstream. Interest in this section is mainly generated
by the three long shoals that serve as ideal habitat for the Cahaba Lilly. The Lilly is indeed the star of the
show, a ~2' high white and yellow flower that grows right in mid-stream. They bloom between about Mothers Day to
Fathers Day, with peak around May 20. The third set of shoals down from put-in (Hargrove Shoals) is the largest
stand of these flowers in the world.
This part of the Cahaba is wide. The shoals are class basically I-II, though they may approach easy class III here and there with surfing waves at high water. The three main shoals slope fairly evenly, with one abrupt 24" drop at the end of Hargrove. Stay generally to the left on the first two shoals, generally to the right on Hargrove. Hargrove is about 1 mile long. After this, it gets deeper and easier for the most part. Tandem canoes are at home here, take a fishing pole if you wish. Lots of threatened fish and snails. Good swimming abounds with a rope swing 150 yards above the takeout.
Level is somewhat important, though this can be run down to a low level. Even at 850 cfs there will be much scraping on the shoals. Go anyway if you want to see the lillies all the way down to 400 cfs or less. Somewhere a bit above 1000 cfs the scraping will subside. It can be a challenge to catch enough water during lilly season. Too much H2O, probably above 2000 cfs, puts the lillies under water.
Put in at Piper Bridge, Take out at River Bend Rd on Nature Conservancy property. -- with help from Shane Hulsey