On your mark! Great Alabama paddle race is here—check it out

Alabama Paddle Race
We think Alabama has some of the most beautiful nature reserves. Photo via Alabama Scenic River Trail

From September 18-28, Great Alabama 650 is bringing together the best paddlers from around the country to Alabama. Watch elite paddlers test their strength and endurance in the world’s longest paddle race. Read more to get all the deets.

What’s the Alabama Paddle Race?

Wetumpka Alabma Paddle Race
Check out this view of the Coosa River in Wetumpka. Photo via The Bama Buzz

The Great Alabama 650 is a part of the Alabama Scenic River Trail (ASRT). Every year they host a paddle race where kayakers, canoers and more race along the longest river trail in a single state. This 650-mile trail extends from Weiss Lake in the northeast part of the state all the way to Mobile Bay.

Watch around twenty paddle racers use kayaks and canoes—even stand-up paddleboards—throughout the trail. Winners are awarded $2k in three separate categories: male solo, female solo and two-person team.

FUN FACT: The Alabama Scenic River Trail is the longest river trail in the US and Great Alabama 650 is the core of these trails.

Check out where the trail is heading—it might pass through your city.

  • Leesburg: Weiss Dam (The Crappie capital)
  • Gadsden: Coosa River (check out the boardwalk, if you’re there)
  • Alpine: Logan Martin Dam
  • Wetumpka: End of the Coosa River (check out how biz is booming)
  • Fort Morgan: The trail ends here at the gulf.

Watching the race? Track the paddlers using ARST’s live map!

Join this oar-some race

Alabama 650
Aerial view of a racer on the Alabama 650 trail. Photo via Alabama Scenic River Trail

Only the most experienced paddlers can participate in the Alabama paddle race—it takes roughly 10 days to complete. There is no doubt this race is a one-of-a-kind experience, so you don’t want to miss!

Can’t race, but want to join the fun? You can sign up to volunteer as a checkpoint/portage checker or become a crew member. Make sure you volunteer for what you’re most comfortable doing. Those with a boat can sign up for the safety monitor to keep the racers out of harm’s way.

BONUS: The Alabama paddle race passes through Lake Martin—check out what activities you can do while waiting on racers.

  • Alabama 650: Website | Facebook | Instagram
  • When: September 18-September 28, 2021
  • Where: Begins in the northeast section of the state and finishes at Fort Morgan in Mobile Bay.

Going to the race or volunteering? Share your pics by tagging us @thebamabuzz.

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Summer Guffey
Lover of Weiss Lake in the summertime and camping at Cheaha in the autumn.
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