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Cahaba Lily Canoe Trip 4: Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge – June 2nd


Join us in the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge as we visit Hargrove Shoals, the largest known Cahaba lily shoals in the world.

The Hargrove Shoals trip is one of our more physically demanding trips because we have to drag our boats through each shoal on our way down the river and back up to the boat launch. We will advise participants to use caution when they step out of their boats to pull across the shoals because the rocks are slippery! The walks across the shoals are why we wear close-toed shoes.

But Hargrove Shoals is worth the effort. You’ll remember your time among the lilies for the rest of your life. The Cahaba lily is uniquely adapted to moving water. It’s the close cousin of the swamp lily. The main difference is that Cahaba lily seeds sink in water, finding resting spots among the rocks. Swamp lily seeds float, so they grow in marshy areas since they can’t find a home in the river. Cameras are welcome, but remember that we will be in the river.

What to Expect

The Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge is located east of West Blocton. A group will meet at 8:15 at Amped Fitness (3427 Colonnade Pkwy, Birmingham, AL 35243) at the Colonnade in Birmingham to caravan to the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge. We will depart for the Cahaba River NWR at 8:30 sharp. Join us if you can, but you may also choose to travel to the refuge on your own. Please notify Wil Rainer at [email protected] if you plan to meet us at the boat launch.

The Cahaba Lily guided canoe trip is a down-and-back trip made easier by the local geology—the riverbed changes between limestone and sandstone, a remnant of ancient rising and falling sea levels. Where the riverbed is limestone, you will see the shallow shoals the lilies call home. Where the riverbed is sandstone, there are deep pools with slow-moving water. These deep pools allow us to paddle back upstream after viewing the Cahaba Lilies to take out where we put in.

We will find a comfortable spot to eat our brown bag lunches on the river.

At the end of the trip, we will pack up the gear and head back to Birmingham with smiles on our faces.

Guided canoe trips are weather and water-dependent. If there are changes or cancellations, Wil Rainer will contact each guest and let you know the plan.

What to Bring

  • Water (at least 1 liter)
  • Lunch
  • Sunscreen
  • Sun hat
  • Close-toed water shoes. Sandals and flip-flops are not protective enough when walking through the shoals. This site shows some of the shoes our team might be wearing.
  • Photography equipment (don’t forget we will be on the water)

You are welcome to bring a cooler for your water and lunch, but alcohol is prohibited.

Reserve Your Spot

Space is limited! Click here and fill out the registration form to reserve your spot.

Event Details


  • Name: Wil Rainer, Field Programs Director, Cahaba River Society
  • Phone: (901) 210-7850
  • Email: wilr@cahabariversociety.org


Cahaba National Widlife Refuge
River Trace
West Blocton,AL35184United States
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