The Cahaba Lily
From early May to late June, the shoals of
the Cahaba River are transformed into a showcase of floral delight as the rare
Cahaba Lily blooms. Found only in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina;
the Cahaba Lily requires swift current and direct sunlight to flourish.
The largest stand of this flower in the world is located at Hargrove Shoals,
about 2.4 miles south of a good canoe put in located at the Co. Rd. 24 bridge
near Piper, AL.
The plant grows to about 3' tall and
develops from a bulb that lodges in between rocks in the shoals. It
flowers from roughly between Mother's Day and Father's Day. Each delicate,
lightly fragranced flower blooms for one day.
The Cahaba River
Society provides "guided" canoe trips to see the Lily. For a schedule
of these trips, view THIS page.
DIRECTIONS TO SEE THE CAHABA LILIES
- Take I-59 south from Birmingham for about 30 miles to the Highway 5 West
- 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 which 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
Please do not pick the lilies or remove the bulbs
for transplantation. The plant might survive 1-2 years out of its proper
habitat, but the prospect for long-term survival is slim. Besides, the most
beautiful place to see the Cahaba Lily is in its natural habitat.