The Okatoma Creek
With the highest point above sea level in Mississippi only 806 feet, as you can imagine, the state is not known for an abundance of whitewater rivers. However, whether you are a seasoned paddler, or maybe just like to get away with the whole family for an occasional canoe trip, chances are, you have met the Okatoma.
A tributary of the Bouie River, Okatoma Creek is a popular waterway for canoeing and kayaking near Seminary, Mississippi in Covington County. The Creek, and don’t let the name fool you, at points it looks much more like a full-flowing river, has the distinction of being the state’s only whitewater stream. It offers several Class 1 to Class 3 falls and makes a great half-day or full-day trip.
According to James Trunzler, trip planner for many paddling outings of the Mississippi Outdoor Club, the Okatoma is no pushover.
“The Okatoma is the most challenging stream in Mississippi,” notes Trunzler “I’ve spent many hours paddling on it. The creek has a number of rapids caused by soapstone, a hard clay deposit. The Chute is the most difficult – as the water drops and then turns almost 90 degrees to the right. Many canoeists turn over here, and its a great place to spectate.”
The creek has lots of flat spots, is easy to paddle and canoes and kayaks can be ported past the whitewater when necessary. Below the whitewater areas are sandy stretches where you can pull over and enjoy a refreshing swim or a picnic. There are even a few rope swings along the way, if you are in the mood for a little Tom Sawyer-like fun at an old swimming hole.
Canoeing outfitters can be found all around the creek, particularly in the town of Seminary. Along the route you’ll encounter vertical bluffs, white sandbars, several changes in elevation, as well as native wildlife. There are a number of camping spots and cabins that line the creek. While the creek often is busiest during the summer months, the spring and fall are great times for canoeing the Okatoma, if you are looking for higher water levels and cooler temperatures.
The three primary outfitters along the creek are Okatoma Outdoor Post and Canoe Rental, Seminary Canoe Rental, and Okatoma Resort. Each provide a wide variety of services and facilities, from canoe and kayak rental, drop off and pick up service, cabins, camping, and a range of “provisions” and amenities.
The Okatoma is a great get-away spot that will truly take you away from the rush of everyday life and let you relax and recharge. It’s tame enough for family fun and challenging enough for the more experienced whitewater paddler. So grab the kids, load up the old SUV, and head for the creek.
Are you a paddling enthusiast?
Check out upcoming Mississippi Outdoor Club trips.
Open to anyone, young or old in the U.S., the Mississippi Outdoor Club brings people together in a fun and friendly atmosphere. MOC’s events encompass all experience levels, and some require little to no experience at all. And, the club also attempts to keep its outings as low-cost as possible.
A majority of MOC events take place right here in Mississippi, but occasionally there are trips to neighboring states. One upcoming paddling trip will take the group to one of the top whitewater streams in the eastern U.S. – the Natahala.
Labor Day trip to the Natahala River August 31 – September 3 Natahala River near Bryson City, NC
MOC will have a whitewater trip to the Natahala River in southeastern NC. We will have day trips on the river and camp at Lost Mine Campground. You must have whitewater experience if you plan to paddle a canoe or kayak. You must furnish boat and equiptment for yourself. Duckies and rafts are available to rent at outfitters.
For more about the Mississippi Outdoor Club and other upcoming events, contact Jim Trunzler at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 601 259-1246 or visit www.msoutdoorclub.org.