BHPC Trip Information

Sherburne Paddle Trail Network by Juliette Navratilova

The Sherburne Paddle Trails are located in a somewhat remote, off-the-beaten-path part of the Basin. Because almost the whole trail network here is located within the Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge or the Louisiana State Sherburne Wildlife Mangement Area, and has not been harvested of timber in recent history, it contains vast stretches of uninterupted swamp and woodland of undisturbed character. In the streams, Cypress are prevalent; On higher land,one will see several varieties of Oaks, Maple, Ash, Black Gum. It is a birders paradise, with flocks of Herons and Ibis and winter waterfowl. The quiet paddler can expect to see a variety of wildlife, seemingly as curious about visitors as they are of it.

Little Alabama Bayou is now sealed off at each end. Its clear waters are a beautiful place to paddle and swim, despite the occasional alligator siting. Perfect for beginners or a relaxing day paddle, it is a simple matter to put in and paddle as far as one feels then return. Like the upper reaches of Big Alabama Bayou, one can initially see clearings behind the natural vegetation fringing the waterway, productive agricultural fields within the Basin that gradually fade away as one continues downstream.

Big Alabama Bayou can be paddled for a select distance as an out-and-back trip (there is a bridge where the bayou starts to narrow), or paddlers can elect to shuttle their vehicle to take-out points 10 to 22 miles distant. The put-in is at the public launch near the levee road, or one may choose to bypass the camps and fields lining the upper stretches of the bayou and put in at Adam’s Landing, 1.5 miles fromthe levee. From there, paddlers will quickly enter the thick woods that line, and sometimes fall across, this small bayou. A perfect day trip is from Adam’s Landing to Happy Town Road. If one plans to camp, a trip from Big Alabama Bayou through Bayou des Glaises and East Fork Bayou will provide a couple of days in this exceptionally remote and beautiful area; however, this route is not passible when water levels at Butte la Rose are below @ 6 ‘. After paddling southeast, and leaving Bayou des Glaise behind, one will see majestic Cypress growing in the middle of the stream, and also the grey weathered remains of stumps from those that were taken at the turn of the last century. Look carefully and you may see notches made by the loggers’ axes, which they used to stand on while cutting the tree. The lower portions of this route have many inlets and outlets, which become even more confusing during times of high water. Stick to the trail; it is easy to get lost.

Upper Grand River and Upper Grand River Flats are in the lowest reaches of the Sherburne Paddle Trail Network. While paddlers may have to paddle hard upstream briefly on the Intracoastal Canal and Upper Grand River to reach Fryling Cut into the Upper Grand River Flats, it is well worth the effort. Once through the cut, paddlers will be rewarded with views of a beautiful, placid Cypress lined Lake. Other groves of Cypress stand alone or are interspersed in the open water. This lake is well used by waterfowl and duck hunters alike and is best avoided during the twilight hours of duck hunting season.

For maps of the area, go to http://www.bayoutrails.org

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