High Rock Lake Bald Cypress
According to several sources, a little over thirty years ago ALCOA planted several large groves of bald cypress trees on High Rock Lake. One grove can be found at the upper end of Crane Creek where it meets Town Creek. This is beyond the Goodman Lake Road Bridge. In the fall the trees turn a bright reddish orange and if the sun is just right, they seem to literally be on fire. Every fall High Rock Lake resident Shirley Witten-Price and a group of friends set out on their kayaks to explore this annual spectacle. Shirley provided the pics and information below.
A friend was building her house in Crane Point in 2011. We would often kayak on days she came out to check progress. In late October one year we were out and saw these trees from far away that looked like evergreen trees, but were reddish orange. We kept going and going to get a closer look, because we couldn’t figure out what they were. That day, I kayaked all the way from my house, to Jane’s, and then to the cypress - it was a VERY long way for me! We have tried to go back every year since then. Jane and I always decide on a day, and then mention it to some others. Often it is just us. The first year of Covid, we had a huge group of ladies - everyone was ready to have some fun, and it seemed like a “safe” activity. Now we usually put in from a friend’s house in Sunset Pointe, so it isn’t such a long paddle. From the bridge to the Bald Cypress, a leisurely paddle, and then paddling through the trees to Ohh and Ahh, It takes us 2 1/2 hours. We could do it faster, but what’s the fun in that! We have gone as late as Nov 10, but decided this year, the week before Halloween is prime for color. They seem to fade a bit after awhile. When we went this time, Oct 26, they still had some green, but that was pretty too. This year it was just the two of us. We almost didn’t go, because the morning was rainy, and it didn’t clear as we hoped. But it was the only chance for the two of us to go together, and it was warm, so we went. The sun came out just as we reached them.
The water is VERY shallow there. This time a year, you cannot get too close with jet skis - Very Bad Idea! Among the trees it was maybe 9-12 inches in places. I kept waiting for my kayak to bottom out.
Pics from Shirley's 2022 visit
How to get there
You can easily see the cypress grove on Google Earth. Click here to check it out. You can access this part of the lake by kayak at the Goodman Lake Road, fishing access. Paddle up the creek until you reach the trees. When the water level is up you can get back there by boat or personal water craft but be very careful. It is always shallow and there are plenty of stumps.
Abbott's Creek Bald Cypress Grove
You won't even need a boat to see these beauties. These trees are visible from the Highway 47 bridge that crosses over Abbott's Creek at High Rock Lake. This area is known to most area residents as "Sheet's Bottom," named after the nearby local family farm. Below we'll provide directions. Despite the noise from the road, the area has the feeling of a remote nature preserve. There is abundant wildlife and can be a perfect spot for birdwatching. You'll often see great blue herons, green herons, egrets, belted kingfishers, osprey and even bald eagles.
When the lake level is normal, the spot can be accessed from the main body of the lake by boat or personal water craft. You should use extreme caution because you will encounter areas where the water is extremely shallow with lots of stumps. Logs can often float down stream and lie just under the surface. That said, many people frequent this part of the lake and learn to navigate it without any problems. In the video below we take you all the way from the main lake, under Highway 8 and way up Abbott's Creek to the cypress grove at Highway 47.
The best part about this spot as mentioned above, is you don't even need a boat to take in the beauty. But by far the best way to see the trees and wildlife though is by kayak. A brand new access is being developed here and already you'll find a nice large gravel parking area that is only a short walk or portage to the creek. For directions check out our boating access points for the High Rock Lake.