The Flint River is a beautiful blueway which meanders from Tennesee flowing south then merge with the Tennessee River. The Flint is an easy paddle for all ages offering beautiful scenery, caves and camping opportunities. Most areas are tame enough for Stand Up Paddleboards.
Entire paddle is 48 miles, you can choose to do 1.5 or more, great for 1/2, or all day excursion
Destination Distance From Downtown
2 of 5 diamonds
2 - distance and difficulty of terrain, depending on water level and trees down
Time To Complete
2 hrs, day or weekend, factor in your drive time and gear putting in and taking out
After rain is best, higher water level, summer tends to be a little drier, lower water, some areas not passable
Flint River is a 48-mile, blue-diamond attraction offering relaxation, excitement and camaraderie. Starting in Tennessee, the Flint River flows mostly south and east then confluences with the Tennessee River south of Huntsville and Hobbs Island.
The Flint River is a serene, fairly easy and fun blueway. Certain sections are great to bring kids out and learn, especially in the Hays Nature Preserve. A great river for beginners and experts to partake by adding a new element of camping or caving.
What Makes It Great
East of Huntsville, 10 miles from downtown, outdoor enthusiasts can find several put-ins along the highways as they intersect the river. Off Ryland Pike, north of Hwy 72 (Madison County) is a put-in with an access point in Brownsboro. A little rough getting down the dirt road, but easy to put in here and float down to Little Cove Road. This river tends to run shallow, anywhere from 2’ to 5’ in the middle as you skirt around islands and snags. Between Hwy 72 and the Little Cove Road put in, you can find some primitive campsites. Sublet Bluffs is a small cave where you can camp or rest.
Feeder streams merge with the Flint along the way. Anywhere along this flat water enjoy Stand Up Paddling. The gentle pull of the current, about 1.5 mph, will lull you into serenity. Follow the slalom down to Old Highway 431, go under another bridge and on your right is the Flint River Greenway trailhead at Hays Nature Park. There is also a put-in/take out here at the parking lot and it’s less than two miles to the other end of Hays Nature Preserve. A calm paddle around bends and under trees and two pedestrian bridges brings you to Cherokee Landing, inside the Preserve. Pass under Hwy 431 and float through Goldsmith Schiffman Wildlife Sanctuary. Pass Old Big Cove Road, Owens Cross Roads and the next put in/take out will be at Chickasaw Landing off Hobbs Island Road. Continue south, take a sharp right and head west along Clouds Cove Rd. Finally the Flint River tumbles into the Tennessee River, south of Hobbs Island. Rentals and shuttle service is available through North Alabama Canoe and Kayak (NACK).
Who is Going to Love It
The enticing Flint River is a welcome blueway for paddlers of any age and experience. Even if you've never paddled before you will feel calm and confident on this smooth, fun, accessible river. Outdoor enthusiasts will embrace the Flint as a great adventure locally for small groups to paddle and camp for a weekend excursion. Ideal for team building exercises, and group badges (Boy and Girl Scouts). This blueway is perfect to work on your Stand Up Paddleboarding and also for a quiet getaway during the day, when you need a creativity break.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
There are several put-ins and take-outs for The Flint River, some public and some private. Be sure to have a plan in place for both as well as a return plan or shuttle if you need it. Popular locations include:
Off Ryland Pike, north of Hwy 72 (Madison County) is a canoe put-in. Highway 72 has an access point in Brownsboro, near the High School. There is a sign pointing out this location, Briar Fork Bridge. This is east of Monte Sano State Park.
Little Cove Road is another easy access point. South and East of Hwy 72 put-in. If you are heading east on Hwy 72, you will turn on Little Cove Road just before Gurley Pike.
Old Highway 431 - This is near Hampton Cove Golf Course and is the east side of Hays Nature Preserve, where the Greenway and horse trails also meet-up.
Hays Nature Preserve Hwy 431 - South of Old Hwy 431 and Sutton Road. Next to Goldsmith Schiffman Wildlife Sanctuary.