The Cahaba River National Wildlife Preserve is located in Bibb County, about any hour from Birmingham. This preserve boasts one of the largest habitats for the imperiled shoals lily (known around here as the Cahaba Lily) anywhere in the world.
5 Things to Know about Cahaba River National Wildlife Preserve
1. Go in late spring/early summer. The area itself is beautiful but to get the full experience, you’ll want to go when the Cahaba Lilies are in bloom – generally early May to late June.
2. Admission is free! There’s no need to check in – just park where you find a spot and go enjoy! Be aware, there aren’t restrooms or any other amenities there. You can bring your own food but be prepared to take your trash and recycling out with you – we have to work together to keep the Cahaba beautiful!
3. You can boat or float. If you have kayaks, floats, or canoes, there are several good spots to put in. When we went, the water was very tranquil and clear so it was a fun trip even for littles. Floats and kayaks are best because there are some very shallow spots but we made it fine with our canoe.
4. Boats aren’t necessary. We had a blast canoeing around the lilies but you can get up close and personal simply by wading in from the shore. Water shoes with some grip are a good idea to protect your feet and keep from slipping.
5. There’s a beach! The refuge has a couple of little sandy spots that serve as easy entries into the water. Bring a blanket or chairs and just enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Social distancing is very doable – especially if you go on a weekday when it’s less crowded.