Canoe and Kayak Safety

Kayakers on the Little River at Canyon Mouth Park
The Little River offers a variety of canoeing and kayaking opportunities.

NPS / Matt Switzer


Little River Canyon offers a a variety of canoeing and kayaking opportunities for paddlers of all levels.

Canoeing and kayaking the river is a favorite activity for many visitors. The portion of Little River above Little River Falls in the backcountry and at the south end of the river at Canyon Mouth Park are popular with river canoers and kayakers alike, with Class I - II rapids typically occuring.

The portion of Little River from Little River Falls through the canyon is NOT recommended for canoes and only for advanced and expert whitewater kayakers - this portion of the river features Class II - VI rapids and has been used by Olympic athletes to train on.

Safety Tips:

  • Leave a float plan (where you're putting in and taking out, and how long you plan to be gone) with a friend.
  • Be knowledge and practiced in basic canoeing and kayking skills such as ferrying, overturn, towing, and eddy turn skills before you go on the river.
  • Wear a helmet and personal floatation device (PFD, or life jacket).
  • Weather conditions can change suddenly and with little or no warning - check the forecast before you go. Here is the National Weather Service forecast for Little River Canyon.
  • River flow levels can change suddenly and with little or no warning based on weather conditions up river. The United States Geological Survey operates an automated river gauge at the southern end of the river at Canyon Mouth Park whic reports flow rates every 30 minutes - reported flow rates may not accurately reflect what the river is doing upstream. Here is the current flow rate data.
  • Bring water and stay hydrated.
  • In case of emergency, call 9-1-1.
  • Carry a back-up emergency signalling device such as an emergency whistle - cell service is not available in all portion of the park, especially in the canyon.
  • Wear bright colored clothing and equipment - should you become injured or incapacitated, this will assist first responders in locating you and giving aid.
  • Pack out what you pack in - dispose of your trash properly.

Last updated: January 4, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

4322 Little River Trail NE Ste 100
Fort Payne, AL 35967


256 845-9605 x201
Main phone number for Little River Canyon National Preserve.

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