Juniper Creek

Murder Creek:  Small, fun shoals and nice sandbars 

The upper section offers more challenges, and the lower section provides more peace.

SKILL LEVEL:  Advanced beginners abover Murder Creek Rd;  Beginners and Families below Murder Creek Rd.

SCENERY:  Almost no visible development.  

LOCATION:  Near Brewton, Alabama. 

ONLINE GAUGE:  Upstream gauge at Evergreen.  Downstream gauge at Brewton.

We've looked up the origin of Murder Creek's name, and it is just what you would expect.  It involves murder and money.  Back in 1788 a small group of travelers headed to Pensacola were killed in the night along the shore of the creek by thieves. The travelers were apparently carrying saddlebags that were loaded with silver.  One of the murderers was later caught and hung by the scene of the crime. 

 

The span of Murder Creek that we paddle starts right by Castleberry, which has a handful of interesting old buildings along the railroad tracks that are popular with photographers, and ends in Brewton, where you can find restaurants for an after-river meal.  Once you get out on the river, you will see almost no signs of civilization until you get to the next bridge.  The river has a nice current that will keep you moving along and you will have no trouble finding a sandbar to take a break at.  

There are several small limestone shoals and one bigger one with a drop of maybe two feet. If the water level is high enough, these are a lot of fun and you will zip over them.  At low water levels, your canoe or kayak may get stuck in some of the shoals.  Watch your footing if this happens, because we've had someone get their foot caught for a bit when trying to walk below one of the shoals -- that wasn't good. There are also enough logs and such in the water to keep you alert.  Trees in the water are likely to cause more problems than the shoals for beginning paddlers.  If you do the section above Murder Creek Road you should be prepared for limbos and pullovers.

As with many of our area rivers, if the water level is too much above normal levels, it is better to wait for another day.  When you see where some whole trees have ended up during high water, you'll know why.

TRIP SUGGESTIONS
 

If you want to kayak the shoals and are up for the challenge offered by a few limbo logs and pullovers, then you'll want to do the 11.8 mile section from CR 6 in Castleberry to Murder Creek Rd.   This is where most of the shoal action is, with the best shoal coming about two miles from the takeout.  There are a few fairly big islands on this upper section, and trees could end up blocking either side because the channels are fairly narrow, so proceed with caution.  For the first five miles or so, sandbars ares hard to come by, but after that, you'll have a much better selection.

 

Beginners and families will probably prefer the 9.5 mile trip that starts at Murder Creek Road.  The river is wider and there are less obstacles in the water.   There are some nice sandbars for a lunch break.  Even though the trip ends practically in the middle of Brewton, you will still see few signs of development.

See more Murder Creek photos.

TRIP INFORMATION

River Miles reflect the approximate distances from the previous launch site.

 

LAUNCH SITE MAP  (See next section for clickable directions)

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LAUNCH SITE DETAILS & DIRECTIONS

CR 6 (Castleberry)

Launch:  Dirt pulloff about 500 feet before the bridge on your right as you come from Castleberry.  There is a gate on the poorly maintained road, but it has not been locked.  We were told to shut the gate back up when we were done.  Best lauch site might be between the pilings.

Parking:  Limited roadside parking.  Fairly isolated.

Facilities:  None.

Fort Crawford Park (Brewton)

Launch:  Best access is the far end of the park.  200-foot carry over a sandbar.

Parking:  Plenty of parking.  Fairly isolated.

Facilities:  None.

Murder Creek Rd

Launch:  Steep, dirt drive down to river about 200 feet east of bridge.  Short, muddy carry to water.  Only a few cars at a time can fit down access drive.

Parking:  Limited roadside parking.  Fairly isolated.

Facilities:  None.

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