West Fork of the Choctawhatchee River

Dothan, Alabama

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One of the best things about the West Fork of the Choctawhatchee River for paddlers is that there are multiple easy bridge-access spots. The West Fork of the Choctawhatchee runs through formations of a soft chalk-like rock called soapstone. Erosion has formed miniature caves in the soapstone bluffs. Beautiful fern glades grow out from the soft rock. The current, even at relatively high water levels, is slow, but there are a few white water shoals— uncommon in this region—along the way to keep you from getting too relaxed. The West Fork of the Choctawhatchee River begins in Barbour County at the confluence of Jackson Creek and Pauls Creek, then flows south until it meets the East Fork in Dale County, where those forks meet to become the Choctawhatchee. The total length of the West Fork from top to bottom is about 35 miles. The southernmost section described here is 5.7 miles. The rich soils on the bluffs surrounding the river are covered with hardwood stands known as beech-magnolia forests. These forests have an abundance of the evergreen southern magnolia and American beech. They also contain a great diversity of trees, both deciduous and evergreen, such as laurel oak, basswood, Florida maple, and American holly.

West Fork of the Choctawhatchee River Professional Review and Guide

"One of the best things about the West Fork of the Choctawhatchee River for paddlers is that there are multiple easy bridge-access spots. The West Fork of the Choctawhatchee runs through formations of a soft chalk-like rock called soapstone. Erosion has formed miniature caves in the soapstone bluffs. Beautiful fern glades grow out from the soft rock. The current, even at relatively high water levels, is slow, but there are a few white water shoals— uncommon in this region—along the way to keep you from getting too relaxed. The West Fork of the Choctawhatchee River begins in Barbour County at the confluence of Jackson Creek and Pauls Creek, then flows south until it meets the East Fork in Dale County, where those forks meet to become the Choctawhatchee.

The total length of the West Fork from top to bottom is about 35 miles. The southernmost section described here is 5.7 miles. The rich soils on the bluffs surrounding the river are covered with hardwood stands known as beech-magnolia forests. These forests have an abundance of the evergreen southern magnolia and American beech. They also contain a great diversity of trees, both deciduous and evergreen, such as laurel oak, basswood, Florida maple, and American holly."

Activity Type: Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing
Nearby City: Dothan
Distance: 5.7
Skill Level: Easy
Duration: 2.5 hours
Class: Class I
Season: Year-round
Local Contacts: Choctawhatchee, Pea, and Yellow Rivers Watershed Management Authority (CPYRWMA)
Local Maps: DeLorme Atlas and Gazetteer; USGS Pinckard, Ewell
Driving Directions: Directions to West Fork of the Choctawhatchee River

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May 2018