Alternate takeout: Forest Road.
A truly rare species in Alabama, the East Fork of the Little River can actually be run as a whitewater overnighter by anyone with a bit of whitewater experience. This section of the river is wide enough for a tandem boat, has sufficient rapids to make things interesting, and is fairly long with flatwater stretches well suited to two blades per canoe. Primitive campsites can also be found along the river. Be sure to check with the National Preserve to make sure they are open. Don't despair if you want to run it in a day; that can be done as well.
The put-in is below scenic Lake Lahusage dam. A low-head dam is located one-half mile downstream and can be portaged on the right. Almost all of the rapids occur before the confluence with the West Fork at mile 8. The six miles of river down to the AL 35 take-out are Class I wit one class II. Optional take-outs also exist on Backcountry Road 5 and 4 upstream of AL35 within the Little River Canyon National Preserve.
The action begins immediately and doesn't let up until the East Fork joins the West Fork 8.3 miles downstream. It is a drop/ pool river, but the current moves nicely through the short pools. Most of the shoals and rapids are Class II, but at least two would rate a mild Class III rating. Foshee's guidebook notes 48 shoals and rapids in the section from Lake Lahusage to the confluence and I would say that is fairly accurate. This first day of the overnight trip is as much as most anyone would want to run with a boat loaded with camping gear.
Day two: 6.3 miles to the takeout on Highway 35. The float was on the clear waters of Little River; this section is only Class I, with one Class II drop, but it flows swiftly and you're back in civilization entirely too fast. After camping on some of the top overnighter rivers in the Southeast, I would rate this at the top for really interesting whitewater. Not nearly as beautiful as some such as Big South Fork Canyon, this has them all beat when it comes to a challenge.
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