A fun paddle on a very shallow, tea-colored creek that gives kayakers the feeling of total isolation.
SKILL LEVEL: Advanced beginners. There are objects to dodge and some potential strainers depending on the current. Be prepared for pullovers.
SCENERY: Nicely wooded along the way in a 10-foot deep canyon.
LOCATION: Near Bay Minette, Alabama.
ONLINE GAUGE: No guage; visual inspection required.
Majors Creek is a very pretty, narrow, tea-colored creek that flows into the Alabama River (part of the Mobile River delta area) about 37 miles above Mobile Bay. At normal paddling levels, much of the creek is very shallow -- as in, there's a good chance that your paddle will be hitting the bottom much of the day. That's OK, though, because if the current is flowing, this is a unique and fun kayaking trip. Once you've been here, you'll want to come again.
The creek has formed its own 10-foot deep canyon that creates a feeling of isolation. It is easy to get lost in the experience of this nice creek. You won't see any signs of development along the river.
Majors Creek serves up enough obstacles to dodge that it keeps you on your toes. Kayakers should also be alert for strainers and the occasional tricky current, but most of the paddling is not difficult. While the paddling itself is not overly difficult, kayakers should be prepared for pullovers.
If a tree falls in the river, and no one is there to hear the sound, you will still have to drag your canoe over it. Some pullovers may be lone trees that are relatively easy to get over, but may be in deep water. On our last trip down the creek, we had three or four like this, but we also encountered one bigger jam that was probably 25-30 feet across. We opted to go up the steep bank and through the woods to a spot well past the jam where we could get back in the water. The pullovers add to the adventure aspect of the trip, but may not be a good fit for heavy boats and families.
One drawback of the high banks on Majors Creek is that there are not a lot of sandbars along the way. That means that if you do see a stopping spot that you think looks all right, you might want to just pull over and take a break because you may be waiting a while for the next spot. Of course, there is the old river truth that the perfect stopping spot is just around the next bend from where you decided to stop. One thing to keep in mind is that there is an old road crossing about 4 miles downstream from Silas Ganey Rd that is a nice break spot.
We have only paddled the 7.5 mile section of Majors Creek from Silas Ganey Rd to Hwy 59. Access above Silas Ganey Rd is limited and the creek would be even shallower than it is for much of the remainder of its run. The creek does flow on for another 2 miles or so past Hwy 59, but that puts you into the very large Alabama River with limited exit points.
Timing your kayaking trip on Majors Creek can be a little tricky. You don't want to go if the water is too low because you may spend a good bit of your time dragging your boat, and you don't want to go if the water is too high because the water will be zipping dangerously through tree limbs. You want the water level to be just right.
Unfortunately there is no online gauge for Majors Creek, so the only way to know if the water level is good or not is to check it out visually. The water level under the bridge provides a pretty good clue of what you should expect downstream. If the water level at the Silas Ganey Bridge is a foot or so deep and there is enough water to float your boat, then you are ready to go. If it looks like your boat would get stuck under the bridge, then you would likely be hiking a lot downstream, too. Unfortunately, in dry summer months, this can be a common situation. If the water is several feet deep and moving swiftly below the bridge or if you can't easily see the bottom, just wait and go another day. With the high creek banks downstream, you would end up paddling dangerously through tree limbs.
River Miles reflect the approximate distances from the previous launch site.
LAUNCH SITE MAP (Click on map for directions)
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LAUNCH SITE DETAILS
Silas Ganey Rd
Launch: At the corner of Hwy 96 (Old Ganey Rd) and Silas Ganey Rd. Launch is on the southwest corner of the bridge. 50-foot carry down a sloped bank with uneven footing.
Parking: Mostly roadside parking. Fairly visible.
Launch: Launch is on the northwest corner of the bridge. Access is about 400 feet north of the bridge. Dirt road leads to the base of the bridge. Best launch is fairly steep access in the middle of the bridge. 60-foot carry.
Parking: Parking for 10+. Back up by highway is fairly visible.