Shoal Creek Canoe and Kayak, Iron City, TN

We have done a few trips with Shoal Creek, the first time, we decided to rent tubes for the kids and get a canoe for us and the dog.  Oh wow was that ever a bad idea!  The water flow was SO slow and we did the full 10-mile trip. We ended up tying the kids up like a row of ducklings and towing them.  It was so hot the dog wedged herself under the seat and did not come out.  I was convinced I was going to be arrested for child abuse when I ran out of sunscreen.  hahaha!  It was not a fun float trip on the creek, it was a full day of hard work. Paycheck and I don’t agree about my paddling technique or how I choose to sit in the boat.

Since then, we have discovered the world of kayaks and saved our marriage!

Shoal Creek has MANY trips, our favorite is the 8 mile run back to the store that has been $25 each for several years now.  As soon as I post that, their prices will jump!  Their website is down, but the Facebook page is active.

Here is how I described our most recent trip:
The banks are dotted with turtles on logs, heron, dragonflies, and butterflies that dive bomb at hats or heads, I was fluttered into more than once.  In the reeds are tadpoles and bullfrogs occasionally let loose with a ‘bonk’ that sounds like a banjo string badly out of tune.  Floating on your back, you can hear the clink of rocks as the current moves them along the creekbed.  Flashes of tiny silver fish, splashes from bigger fish out hunting, the stillness of gar in the dappled shade, it’s a lovely way to spend a day!

What to expect: Arrive, fill out the waiver and pay.  Pick up a paddle and life jacket and they will load the canoe, kayak or tube.
You can take a dog, cooler (PLEASE NO GLASS) drinks, anything you want to row back down the creek really.  We take a small first aid kit, water, a snack, and sunscreen as well as a waterproof camera. A little rope is not a bad idea in case of tow or to lash things to the boat, like a gear bag.
Pile into the 15 passenger van that probably REALLY isn’t road safe (I have yet to use an outfitter that had nice vans!) and ride to the put-in point.  Since there are 3 places to put in above the take-out point, they may stop before your point.  They unload the boats and get them to the edge of the water.

Float and paddle downstream, there are sandbars and swimming holes all along the route perfect for stopping a while to enjoy.  The occasional spring-fed side creek adds icy water to the mix and there are fish everywhere.

Once you arrive at the end there is a bridge and a sign-pull off to the right and haul the boats up out of the creek, leave the paddle and life vest and walk up to the store to let them know you are back.  They will send a truck to get the stuff.

From the first trip
There are many deep spots perfect for lounging and swimming!
This was before my ‘less is more’ realization and I carried enough to keep us alive for a week any time we left the house.
But look, there’s our much-adored affenpinscher.  Yes, that DOES mean ‘monkey dog’.
I miss her


Ah, now we have wised up.  Less stuff and individual conveyances.




We saw a kingfisher on this trip (that’s a heron).  I mention it because it was the first time seeing one in the wild and since then, I have seen 7 more.  It’s an interesting phenomenon.


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