Birding around the Parker Lake boat ramp can be productive, but a canoe or kayak is needed to fully enjoy this site. Paddling slowly through the twilight of the dense tupelo and bald cypress forest that lines the margins of the lake in spring and summer provides close-up views of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Northern Parulas, and Prothonotary Warblers. In the canopy, listen for Great Crested Flycatchers, Red-eyed Vireos, and Yellow-throated Warblers. You can hear Barred Owls any time of the day. Red-shouldered Hawks and Mississippi and Swallow-tailed kites may be seen soaring above the lake or foraging for insects and lizards in the tree tops. A variety of butterflies, dragonflies, turtles, and even alligators are fond of sunning themselves on the roots and buttresses of the trees.
During winter, spring, and early summer, it is possible to canoe/kayak from Parker Lake to Kimbell Lake and other smaller lakes. In late summer and fall and during periods of drought, this may not be possible. The maze of interconnected lakes can be tricky to navigate. A compass or GPS is recommended for those who want to explore the more remote areas reachable from this site.
Access: Free, open from 6:00 am until dusk
Directions: From the intersection of US Highway 43 (mile marker 59.6) and Alabama Highway 177 in Jackson go 1.1 miles south on Alabama 177. Turn right onto the unpaved road after the Parker Lake RV Park sign. Drive past the RV park and through the gate to the parking area at the boat ramp.
GPS: N 31° 30.675’ / W 87° 55.164’ (Boat ramp)
Contact: City of Jackson Parks and Recreation
PO Box 1096
Jackson, AL 36545
Amenities: Parking, Camping (RV hook-ups), Canoeing, Fishing