An amazing overnight loop paddle through what many people call "America's Amazon", the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta. This loop takes you through a quintessential bayou setting with murky backwaters and bayous and bottom land hardwood swamps as you paddle alongside American alligators and spend the night on a floating campsite in the middle of this amazing wilderness.
The length of the paddle is 12.9-miles, a long arduous paddle to do in one day.
Spring, Fall, and Winter
The best time to paddle the Jug Lake Loop is from mid-Fall to early Spring. Late-Spring through Summer brings ferocious mosquitoes and heat indexes that often reach 100 - 110.
While people do bring dogs on this trip it is not recommended due to the alligators in the delta.
There is no fee to paddle the trail. Camping is free on the Jug Lake floating platform free of charge but must be reserved by visiting https://www.alabamainteractive.org/campsite/index.jsp?campsite=1003
Paddle through "America's Amazon", the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta, along the 12.9-mile long Jug Lake Loop Canoe Trail. The trail takes you through beautiful bottomland hardwood swamps, Atlantic white cedar bogs, and mysterious, murky bayous teeming with wildlife such as wild hogs, American alligators, and black bear. And the best part, camping in this wilderness on a floating platform.
What Makes It Great
The Mobile-Tensaw River Delta is known to the world as “America’s Amazon”. The second largest river delta in the country is a wonderland of eco-systems from bottomland hardwood swamps to Atlantic white cedar bogs to mysterious, murky bayous teeming with wildlife such as wild hogs, American alligators, and black bear.
The Bartram Canoe Trail is a series of canoe paths through this wilderness that allow paddlers to explore it first hand. One of those trails is a wonderful 12.9-mile loop called the Jug Lake Loop.
The loop is an easy paddle down the beautiful, narrow Rice Creek (where the put-in and take-out is for this trip), Briar Lake, and the wide Tensaw River. While the scenery and wildlife alone make this a beautiful trip, the highlight is spending the night in this wilderness on one of the trail’s floating campsites.
The platforms are covered contraptions that are secured to land but float with the rise and fall of the river level. There is an enclosure where you can use your own portable toilet (remember to pack it out!) and a metal table that you can use a camp stove on. Fires are not permitted.
Veteran paddlers will love this paddle, or any paddle out in the delta for that matter, with its many enclosed back waters, swamps, and beautiful foliage. As with all trips in the delta this one is not for the neophyte paddler. Although well-marked the many bayous and channels have caused paddlers to get off track and get lost. Be sure you have a good working knowledge of navigation before heading out. Families with older children can go out and enjoy this paddle as well but it recommended that they do so with a local guide such as 5 Rivers Delta Safaris.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From Stockton, Alabama, at the intersection of Hodgson Road and AL 59 take Hodgson Rd. north 0.4-miles and make a slight left onto CR 21 north. Travel north on CR 21 0.8-miles and turn left onto Rice Creek Rd. Travel 1.3-miles and you will arrive at the put-in / take-out.
Before heading out be sure to check the water level. The Department of Conservation warns that a river stage of 6 to 19 feet is too dangerous to paddle the delta. Visit http://water.sam.usace.army.mil for river stage information.
The state also reminds you that disturbing or collecting plants, littering, and feeding or harassing wildlife is prohibited. Each paddler must have a Coast Guard approved PFD and children under 8 must wear theirs at all times.