The Bear Creek Floatway is considered one of the best trips a canoeist can take in Alabama. Releases from Upper Bear Reservoir are made to provide adequate flow on all weekends and holidays, Memorial Day thru Labor Day. Releases will begin each Saturday at 6 a.m. central time and shut off at 4 p.m. on Sunday.
About the Floatway
The Bear Creek Scenic Floatway, beginning below Upper Bear Creek Dam and ending at Bear Creek Reservoir, is very popular for canoeing and kayaking, featuring scenic undisturbed forests and fast moving waters and rapids. A 26-mile float stream makes the Floatway one of the top trips one can take in Alabama. Releases from Upper Bear Creek Reservoir are always cool and provided adequate flow on weekends and holidays from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Except for holidays, releases from the dam are shut off at 4:00 p.m. on Sundays. To plan your trip, check current flow conditions by downloading the TVA lakes Info app for smartphones, visit www.TVA.com/environment/lakelevels, or call 1-800-238-2264. The Floatway is generally considered a Class I course with a few obstacles approaching Class II. The exception is Upper Factory Falls, ranked as a Class IV and Lower Factory Falls, ranked a Class VI. Both falls are dangerous, should not be attempted, and require mandatory portage.
The Lower Bear Creek Canoe Trail begins downstream from Bear Creek Dam at the Dixie Youth Park in Red Bay, Alabama. The park provides seasonal primitive camping and restrooms. This is a flat-water Class I stream winding into Mississippi through undeveloped forests, bottomlands and farms. It provides a more leisurely float requiring paddling for most of the 34 miles to Bishop Bridge. Or the trip can be extended 8 miles to the backwaters of Bear Creek Embayment of Pickwick Reservoir ending at the ramp off County Road 1. The only other improved access sites are located at Tishomingo State Park, Colbert County Highway1/Allsboro Bridge, and Hayes Landing off Riverton-Rose Trail. Other road crossing sites may be accessible, but should be scouted ahead of planning a float trip.
Floatway information provided by TVA.
For more information about the floatway and current conditions contact TVA at 1-800-882-5263
Keep in mind, Bear Creek Floatway is not managed by BCDA, nor is a BCDA permit required.
Boating Below Dams
Water discharges from dams may occur without warning. Evacuate stream immediately if water starts rising. Wear PFD in these waters.
Wading Below Dams
Special hazards exist where waters may rush over spillways and through sluice gates. Many of these operations are automatic and occur without warning.
Spillways and Sluice Gates
Do not enter or tie up structure or anchor in DANGEROUS WATERS immediately below dams. Always wear a PFD when boating.
The Floatway is considered a Class I course with exceptions.
Take Special Note -- Upper Factory Falls and Lower Factory Falls are Class VI and are dangerous.