The Choctawhatchee is considered one of the Top 40 Best Rivers in the U.S. for Float Trips of a Week or More. (source: Canoe-camping.org)
With reasonable flow, nearly 150 of its 170 miles is floatable. Access is varied but improves as the river gains in size. Surprisingly, the river even encompasses some white water sections on its upper west fork, which is unusual for South Alabama. (Wills)
The Choctawhatchee River in one of Florida’s outstanding canoe trails. Like the Yellow River, there is good canoeing on the Alabama portion of the river.
Choctawhatchee is free of major impoundment, so the flow will fluctuate with seasonal rainfall, and sudden rises may result from heavy rains.
There are several points of interest in Florida as well. Holmes Creek, the most significant tributary to the lower Choctawhatchee is part of the Florida Canoe Trails System.
There are several public access springs including Ponce De Leon Springs State Park and Vortex Blue Springs (a private facility that offers diving), among others. Falling Waters State Recreation Area holds Florida’s only waterfall. (NRCS appendix)
One of the most scenic places to view the river is Fowler Park in Geneva, AL. This park sets in the spot of land between the junction of the Choctawhatchee and Pea Rivers. During times of low water the wreck of a steamboat used during the Civil War can be seen along the opposite bank of the Pea River at this junction. It reminds us of a time when the river was used to export local goods to sea. The park also contains a very pretty little spring fed pond filled with cypress trees. Beautiful Spider Lillies bloom along the edge this pond in the summer. The park also contains an old rail bed which has been turned into a hiking/biking trail. People also hike on the levee near the river.
The most notable feature of the park is its Live Oaks which just happen to range north this spot. The park contains a gigantic moss-draped Live Oak known as the Constitution Oak. This evergreen tree has been growing at least since the time that our constitution was drafted in the late 1700’s. It is one of the largest, if not the largest, Live Oak in Alabama. Its trunk would take 3 to 4 people to encircle it and its gigantic limbs spread out like an octopus. It resembles a mushroom when viewed from across the lawn. It is an awesome experience to sit under the ancient boughs of this tree and listen to the tree frogs singing overhead. Fowler Park can be reached by following State Highway 52 West to Geneva. Take a left at the first light. Pass City Hall and take a left one block later. Take another left one block later (again) and follow this road into the park. For more information, call the Geneva City Hall at (334) 684-2485.
There is very little public land along the Alabama parts of the river.
Blue Springs State Park in Barbour County is a small 103-acre park with some large springs that have been developed for swimming. The spring runs flow to the West Fork of the Choctawhatchee and offers some nice views of moss-draped bottomland hardwood and beech-magnolia forests. (from Wills)
Cypress Springs, a 70,000 acre state owned wetland conservation area near Ebro, FL, contains great examples of old growth cypress trees and serves as a refuge for the black bear. “These trees take 5 to 6 people to circle their bases and they have ‘knees’ 6 feet tall.” (Wills) This spring provides much of the flow for the Holmes Creek Canoe Trail.