Enjoy nature on the unspoiled rivers of North Alabama

Two untouched rivers in North Alabama offer nature lovers a quiet opportunity for fishing, rowing and birding. The Flint River and the Paint Rock River are the last free-flowing tributaries of the Tennessee River Basin in the north of the state. Unlike the Tennessee River and its four popular TVA saved lakes, however, the Flint and Paint Rock rivers are relatively unknown and crowded. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy leisure activities while the waters are pretty much for themselves.

The Flint River flows into southern Tennessee and flows south of Madison County, Alabama, north of Huntsville. Flint's two major tributaries, Brier Fork and Mountain Fork, bend over 65 miles before joining the Tennessee River. Development along the river is minimal and anglers can enjoy excellent fishing. You'll find spotted bass, big bass, bass, catfish and long-range sunfish among the Flint River fish. The upper section of the river is suitable for both hiking and canoeing. The section below Hwy 431 is well suited for fishing on flat bottom boats.

The lower stretches of the river are also enjoyable for canoeing and kayaking. The river is usually 2-5 feet deep, with some smaller Class I waterfalls. Rowers can meet fallen trees. Good loading and unloading locations at Hwy 72E, Hwy 431S, Old Hwy 431, Cloud Cove Road and Hobbs Island Road. There is no facility along the river.

Pedestrians can enjoy the Flint River Greenway in Madison County near Owens Cross Roads. The 1.8-mile paved trail passes through the Hays Nature Reserve. The trail at the north end is connected to the Big Cove Creek Greenway, which continues for another three miles to the north. Trail users will discover wildlife, including deer, rabbits and various birds. The pedestrian bridge over the river offers scenic views. Parking is available at both ends of the greenway, next to Hwy 431 and Old Hwy 431.

The untouched Paint Rock River flows south of the Cumberland Plateau in southern Tennessee in the counties of Jackson, Marshall and Madison, Alabama. It discharges into the Tenterssee River under the Guntersville Dam. The river is largely undeveloped, with the best water access points on the county road bridge. The river is home to a variety of aquatic life, including 100 fish species and 12 species of rare mussels. Alabama mussels and pale Lilliput mussels are found only in the Paint Rock River.

For those who enjoy birding, the Roy B. Whitaker Paint Rock River Preserve is one of 50 stops along the North Alabama Milky Way. The conservation organization maintains the reservation, which is located on 72 Hwy on US Hwy, between Gurley and Paint Rock. Birds can be adorned with observation of grasshopper sparrow and scissor-tail flycatcher on pasture or large-winged flycatcher and vireos nesting in forests. Spring and autumn migrations bring other species of birds to the area. Entry to the tank is free.

There are two clothes rental boats and shuttle services in the area. North Alabama canoes and kayaks in Huntsville rent canoes and kayaks with reservation on the Flint River. 1.5, 3 and 4.5 hour swimmers are available. Rates are $ 45 per person in a single boat and $ 35 per person in a twin boat, including paddles, personal floating equipment and shuttle. Pipes rental is $ 20 per person. The shuttle service with their own boat is $ 15 per person. Alabama Eco Adventures leases canoes for $ 50 a day and kayaks for $ 35-45 a day on both rivers. Shuttle service is available on request.