Canoeing and Kayaking

Kayak 512 x 288

You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, and find your element in each moment. - Henry David Thoreau

  • Elk Reservoir

    Location: Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge in Stewart County, TN, Lake Barkley/Cumberland River

    Access:  There are two access points for this bay.1) Double boat ramp off highway 233 just east of Carlisle;  2) small concrete ramp 9 miles past the refuge office/visitor center along gravel road that follows the Cumberland River.

    Time Allotment:  2.5 hour +

    Restrictions: This refuge is closed seasonally from Nov. 15th to Mar. 15th

    Hazards:  Most of the time this bay is fairly wind protected, but the wind can be a factor on the larger fingers of the bay.

    Scenic Area: Elk Reservoir is a favorite for kayaking and canoeing in this area due the ease of access, its scenic beauty, and the large protected area with little boat traffic. This bay is fairly protected from the wind and motorized boats are restricted to idle speed/no wake.

    Mostly clear shallow water filled with a variety of fish and wildlife. The many fingers of the bay make exploration fun and exciting.

    Bring snacks, water, bug repellent, and binoculars

    Wildlife Viewing: Great

    This area is somewhat remote, therefore a wide variety of wildlife frequents the area throughout the year. Osprey and bald eagles can be seen frequently fishing in areas throughout the bay. An osprey platform is in the back of the middle finger of the bay and is occupied in the summer months. A wide variety of songbirds are common sites along the forest edge. Herons and other wading birds are frequently viewed along with cormorants. White-tailed deer are common along the shoreline. 

    Waterfowl begin arriving on their migration route just before we open or close for sanctuary (seasonally closed from Nov. 15th  – Mar. 15th).

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  • South Cross Creeks Reservoir

     Location: Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge in Stewart County, TN, Lake Barkley/Cumberland River

    Access:  There are two access points for this bay:1) Boat ramp off highway 49 just north of Carlisle;  2) turn off highway 49 at the refuge sign for South Cross Reservoir onto refuge road 6 miles east of Dover, cross a levee bridge and bear right a short distance to small concrete ramp.

    Time Allotment:  1.5 hours +

    Restrictions: This refuge is closed seasonally Nov. 15th to Mar. 15th

    Hazards: Wind can be a factor sometimes along this bay.

    Scenic Area: South Cross Creeks Reservoir is a long bay flanked along one side by highway 49.  Motorized boats are restricted to idle speed/no wake.

    Bring snacks, water, bug repellent, and binoculars

    Wildlife Viewing: Great

    This area is a favorite among kayak fishermen.

    Osprey and bald eagles can be seen frequently fishing in areas throughout the bay.  A wide variety of songbirds and other wildlife are common sites along the forest and field edge. White pelicans can be seen in fall and spring. 

    Waterfowl begin arriving on their migration route just before we open or close for sanctuary (seasonally closed from Nov. 15th  – Mar. 15th).

    Download map...

  • North Cross Creeks Reservoir

     Location: Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge in Stewart County, TN, Lake Barkley/Cumberland River

    Access:  There are three access points for this bay:  1) From the south side of Cumberland River, turn off highway 49 at the refuge sign for South Cross Reservoir onto the refuge road 6 miles east of Dover, cross a levee bridge and bear left after the bridge to the small concrete ramp facing the Cumberland River. From this ramp you will have to paddle across the Cumberland River to enter into North Cross Creek. 2) From the north side of Cumberland River there is a concrete ramp off Commissary Ridge Road just off Indian Mound Road.  3) Travel to Indian Mound, TN on Highway 46, turn onto Lower Cross Creek Road, turn left at the Cross Creeks NWR sign, travel 1 mile to the concrete boat ramp.

    Restrictions: This refuge is closed seasonally from Nov. 15th to Mar. 15th

    Time Allotment:  2 hours +

    Hazards:  This bay can be accessed from a boat ramp on the south side of the Cumberland River and paddling across the river into North Cross Creeks Bay.  However, barges run along the Cumberland and can be quite stealthy.  You can see a long ways up and down river from this point, but don’t dawdle getting across the river. The current can also be a factor in getting across the river.

    Scenic Area: North Cross Creeks Bay is a place to kayak where you can forget the outside world.  The beauty of the scenery and the abundant wildlife just makes for a peaceful afternoon or morning.

    This bay has several small fingers that are fun to explore and is fairly protected from wind and makes for easy paddling. 

    Just to the right from the boat ramp on the south side of the Cumberland River you can paddle underneath the historic Iron Bridge which was fabricated in 1901.

    Bring snacks, water, bug repellent, and binoculars

    Wildlife Viewing: Great

    This area is somewhat remote, therefore a wide variety of wildlife frequents the area throughout the year.

    Osprey and bald eagles can be seen frequently throughout the bay.  A wide variety of songbirds are common sites along the forest and field edge. White-tailed deer are common along the shoreline. Herons and other wading birds are frequently viewed along with cormorants. White pelicans can sometimes be seen in fall and spring. 

    Waterfowl begin arriving on their migration route just before we close or open for sanctuary (Closed Nov. 15 - Mar. 15).

    Download map...

  • Long Creek/Lick Creek

     Location: Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge in Stewart County, TN, Lake Barkley/Cumberland River

    Access:  Long Creek Bay can be accessed just below the refuge office and visitor center.  Follow the gravel road down the hill past the office to the parking lot just on the left.  Just adjacent to the refuge, Lick Creek Bay can be accessed off Colson Road at Lick Creek Recreation Area in Dover.

    Restrictions: This refuge is closed seasonally Nov. 15th to Mar. 15th

    Time Allotment:  3.5 hours +

    Hazards:  Motor boat traffic is more common in Long and Lick Creek Bays more than other areas on the refuge. Wind can be a factor on these bays. Beware of barge traffic if connecting to the Cumberland River.

    Scenic Area: Parts ofLong Creek are off the refuge and it is also connected to Lick Creek which is adjacent to the refuge. Lick Creek opens to the Cumberland River.

    These are two large bays with many twists and turns or islands to explore.

    Bring snacks, water, bug repellent, and binoculars

    Wildlife Viewing: Great

    This area is a favorite among kayak fishermen.

    An osprey nesting platform is adjacent to the refuge access point and is occupied in the summer months. White pelicans can be seen late fall and early spring in this area. Herons, egrets and cormorants frequent this area. Wild turkey and white-tailed deer can be seen along the adjacent fields

    Waterfowl begin arriving in early winter and are around soon after the refuge opens from sanctuary (Closed Nov. 15- Mar.15).

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  • Bellwood Landing and Cub Creek

    Location: Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge in Stewart County, TN, Lake Barkely/Cumberland River

    Access:  Put in/take out located at boat ramp off Bellwood Landing Road. From Highway 79 N, turn onto Old Hwy 79 just next to Gray’s Garage. At 3 miles turn right onto Bellwood Hollow Road. At 1.5 miles, turn right onto Bellwood Landing Road (see Cross Creeks NWR sign at intersection) The Bellwood Landing Boat Ramp is located at approximately .5 mile. 

    Restrictions: This refuge is closed seasonally from Nov. 15th to Mar. 15th

    Time Allotment: 3.5 hours +

    Scenic Area: Paddlers can explore the small Bellwood bay, but by going out to the Cumberland River and going a short distance to the left, the much larger Cub Creek can be explored.  

    The Bellwood bay is small, but has some nooks and crannies to explore. The historic Bellwood Furnace can be seen near the access point. 

    Cub Creek is larger with more fields and forests to view wildlife, but must be accessed by paddling a short distance along the north shore of the Cumberland River.

    Bring snacks, water, bug repellent, and binoculars

    Hazards:  Cub Creek Bay can be accessed by going a short distance upstream along the north shore of the Cumberland River.  However be wary of barges that run along the Cumberland and can be quite stealthy.  Also, when the water is up the current can be somewhat strong.

    Wildlife Viewing: Great

    This area is somewhat remote, therefore a wide variety of wildlife frequents the area throughout the year.

    Osprey and bald eagles can be seen frequently fishing in areas throughout the bay.  A wide variety of songbirds are common sites along the forest edge. Herons and other wading birds are frequently viewed along with cormorants. Beavers are a common site in this area. 

    Waterfowl begin arriving on their migration route just before we close for sanctuary (Closed Nov. 15-Mar.15).

    Download map...