It’s Time to Paddle the Canal!

Downtown Huntsville is filled with some beautiful water features in Big Spring Park East and West.  From Koi fish to feeding the ducks to the original Big Spring, thousands of Huntsvillians enjoy our downtown waterways each week.


Slightly less used but actually extremely well done is the Big Spring Canal between the Embassy Suites and the Von Braun Center.  This quarter mile connection between Thrasher Fountain and Rotary Fountain is a wonderful place to jog, stroll, people watch and just relax.  It’s a calm setting in the center of the city every day of the year. 

Except for one day.

Photo by

Photo by

That’s the day when Big Spring Canal is opened up to kayakers and canoers for Paddle the Canal.  Presented by our friends at Redstone Federal Credit Union, Saturday April 20 marks the 3rd Annual Paddle the Canal. 

What is Paddle the Canal, you say?

Basically, a day-long festival where you can pay a nominal fee (free if you have a Redstone Federal Credit Union account) and use kayaks from Brown Bear LLC Canoe and Kayak rentals to paddle up and down Big Spring Canal.  It’s amazing how just this small change in perspective brings the beauty of the Canal from a whole new perspective.

Participants enter at Rotary fountain (the western end of the Canal) and can paddle to and around Thrasher Fountain and back as many times as they’d like during the day.  It’s a great way to get some exercise or just leisurely paddle alone or with friends on a beautiful spring day in Downtown Huntsville.

Oh, and did we mention that you don’t even have to bring your own kayak or canoe (though you can if you’d like).  Thanks to our friends at Brown Bear LLC Canoe and Kayak rentals kayaks and life jackets are provided so, even if you’ve never kayaked before, this is an easy way to try it for the first time.

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In addition to the water-based fun, Paddle the Canal offers other exciting events during the day.  You’ll be able to enjoy tasty food truck offerings from Kudzu Cafe Food Truck, In the Bun, Nothing Bundt Cakes and Golden Years Ice Cream and Parlor.  Plus, the Embassy Suites will feature free live music and a craft beer bar (along with quick grab and go food) from their beautiful terrace overlooking Big Spring Canal.  And, since the area is inside the Downtown Entertainment District, you can grab a Purple Cup and take your beverage to-go while you watch the fun and enjoy the free live music!

Sounds fun?  We agree!  All you need to do is register here for your tickets (note: you still need to register even if you are using the free RFCU tickets).  You can also read the helpful FAQ here.


Once registered, all you need to do is get ready for a day full of exciting happenings in Downtown Huntsville as you get to be one of the few people each year who get to Paddle the Canal and enjoy Big Spring Canal from a whole new and interesting angle of fun!