The Cahaba River
Imagine paddling down the Cahaba River in the early morning sunlight as the mist rises off the water. Paddling around a bend, you notice a blanket of white. As you get closer, this blanket transforms into thousands of white Cahaba lilies. This scene is what one could expect to see paddling the Cahaba River in mid-May.
The Cahaba Lily (Hymenocallis coronaria) is one of many species found in the Amaryllis family or spider lily family. Spider lilies are found throughout the Southeastern United States. Three species of spider lilies are found in Alabama: the northern spider lily (Hymenocallis occidentalis), Choctaw spider lily (Hymenocallis choctawensis), and the Cahaba lily. All three of these lilies are very similar in appearance and easily mistaken for one another.
Directions to see the Cahaba Lilies
- Take I-59 south from Birmingham for about 30 miles to the Hwy. 5 West Blocton/Centreville Exit.
- Hwy. 5/Hwy. 11 is 4-lane for about 3 miles where Hwy. 5 turns abruptly south as a 2-lane. Watch for this turn!
- Travel 10 miles south on Hwy. 5 to a blinking yellow light. Turn left onto County Road 24 to West Blocton.
- Continue straight at the stop sign (passing West Blocton High School and West Blocton Elementary on the right) for 5 miles to the Cahaba River.
- A couple of hundred yards before you can actually see the bridge, turn south (right) on a rough dirt road that runs along the west side of the river. Use your judgment about whether your vehicle can negotiate the road.
- There is a good stand of lilies just under 1 mile down the road, and the largest stand in the world just over 2 miles down the road.