Barton’s Beach Cahaba River Preserve is 125 acres of gravel/sand bars, beaver ponds, swamps, and floodplain mixed hardwood forest. The Preserve is owned by The Nature Conservancy of Alabama and it is open to the public for outdoor recreation, education, and scientific research. Barton’s Beach is actually the largest gravel bar on the Cahaba River and it is awesome in its expanse of brilliant white sand and sparkling gravel. Beach Images
A pleasant, 400 meter long footpath leads from the Perry Lakes Park to Barton’s Beach gravel bar. This winding trail presents outstanding birding and interesting views of a vast swamp. Woodland plants and unexpected creatures lurk in the shadows. Alligators, uncommon birds such as the anhinga and a variety of large snakes make this area home.
Wei and Caroline Chiang and Chad, Lauren and Hudson Wilson inspect the new sign
Judson College Cahaba River Society Chapter picnic
As written by Chris Oberholster, formerly of the Nature Conservancy of Alabama, “The Cahaba River in Perry County is wider and shallower here than it is upstream, with extensive sand and gravel bars, waterwillow beds and Bald Cypress wreathed in Spanish Moss along old oxbows. This part of the river is home to rare fishes such as the Freckled Darter, Skygazer Shiner, Crystal Darter, Frecklebelly Madtom and many others.
More than two dozen mussel species have been recorded here including species of conservation concern with fanciful names like the Alabama Orb, Butterfly, Alabama Heelsplitter, Alabama Hickorynut and Ridged Mapleleaf. Rare species historically found here include the Alabama Sturgeon, Cahaba Alligators and many species of turtles are present, including the black-knobbed sawback which breeds on the sandbars. Birds are well represented, including Bald Eagles along the river. This is one of the most well known and productive bird-watching sites in central Alabama.”
The Barton’s Beach gravel bar is best accessed by canoe from the Cahaba River. There is no road to the Cahaba River or the gravel bar through the Preserve. Every effort is being made to maintain the wild and pristine nature of the Preserve.
Rural Studio students on Barton’s Beach
Visitors to the Preserve are expected to demonstrate respect for the resource by keeping it clean and by following a sound environmental ethic.