Armand Bayou

Cross-eyed stereo pair (for those who can appreciate that sort of thing)

Google Earth KMZ data

Armand Bayou is one of the premier canoeing destinations in the area.  It is a fairly wild region in an area otherwise encompassed by industry and suburbia.  Gas powered boats are not permitted, so it is a bit of a paddler's paradise, with an interesting variety of birds about, and even a few deer.    Plenty of space for a variety of trips ranging  up to around 6 hours roundtrip, and there are even a few places where you can beach the boat and do a bit of hiking.  I've always been particularly fond of paddling far upstream in the main bayou.  Lately I'm seeing a lot of alligators, even to the extent of motivating me to turn around in one particularly narrow spot where I encountered 3 of them (big) all at once.  I have followed Armand Bayou as far upstream as Genoa-Red Bluff Road, downstream into Clear Lake, and followed Big Island Slough almost all the way to Fairmont Parkway.

The put-in at Bay Area Park provides a nice parking area (with nearby restrooms) adjacent to a dock where you can step directly into your boat from the deck, thus avoiding walking through the mud at low tide.  Enter Bay Area Park from the east gate entrance, then take the immediate right past the baseball field, then cross the main road near the west gate, and the put-in parking area and dock will be immediately ahead.

When I first began canoeing the Armand Bayou area back around 1993 there were no cattails and I had to go a long distance upstream prior to encountering alligators.  At the time there was a low bridge belonging to a chemical company which required a portage at high tide to get around (technically trespassing, but their bridge was blocking a navigable waterway, so we were both in the wrong).  Encountering cattle was much more likely than deer.  One summer the water hyacinths were so profuse that they completely obstructed Armand Bayou beyond about half a mile upstream; immediately downstream of the hyacinths the water was crystal clear, something I've not seen since.  Later a tropical storm came through and the floodwaters flushed-out the hyacinths, except for a big mound at the Bay Area Blvd. bridge.  Lately the bayou seems noticeably healthier than it was in the past, with cattails along the bayou and deer on the shores and multiple alligators within half a mile of the put-in.  Lot's of birds as well.  The only real complaint I have is that a fair amount of trash tends to accumulate around the bayou, washed in from the adjacent suburbia, and it is impossible to completely escape the sounds of industry an road traffic.  Still, a really nice destination.

Great Egret
Night Heron



Cormorants and Heron

Finally, here are some Mike's pics of alligators on Armand Bayou

Here’s a photo of the 14-footer, on that little promontory around the bend after the washed out bridge.

Here’s another fine specimen.

A toothy grin from another one.