Southwest Louisiana holds a river quite unlike most others in the South. Whiskey Chitto Creek (also called Ouiska Chitto, a Choctaw word for "big cane") is lined with sparkling white sand beaches. The sand is composed primarily of quartz, which gives it a unique color and glint. The water comes largely from underground springs, so it flows quite clear much of the year. All this is quite different from the muddy banks and dark waters that fill most waterways in the region, making Whiskey Chitto one of the most scenic paddle trips to be found.
It is so special that this river is one of the few in Louisiana with commercial operations. The companies are clustered around the tiny town of Mittie, where you can rent equipment or take a guided trip. Or you can simply launch your own boat on the water from the ramp off LA-26 just outside town.
The river normally has a lazy current and can be paddled in either direction. Downstream of the highway is generally considered more scenic, but both directions have unique treasures to discover. You'll find white sand bars just around the first bend in either direction, and more await the farther you go. There are take-out options for a one-way trip with a vehicle shuttle, but it's easy enough to just return the way you came at normal water.
Whiskey Chitto is relatively channelized by sandy banks, so the water does not spread very far out into the forest at high flows. This means that with a lot of water, the current picks up a lot. High water on Whiskey Chitto is an entirely different experience with swift water, eddy currents, log strainers, and no beaches because they are all underwater. Whitewater experience and safety equipment is recommended in such conditions.
The best time to paddle Whiskey Chitto for an easygoing, clear river and white sands, is generally during the drier times of summer and fall. You may have to contend with heat and insects, as is typical anywhere in Louisiana. Bugs may not be as bad here as in most creeks and bayous, however, because surrounding forest is relatively elevated and well drained.
This paddle adventure was equipped by and published in collaboration with Bote Boards.