Paddling the Everglades Wilderness Waterway  by Holly Genzen

Paddling the Everglades Wilderness Waterway Guide Book

by Holly Genzen (Menasha Ridge Press)
Paddling the Everglades Wilderness Waterway  by Holly Genzen
Those in the know will tell you that there is only one way to truly experience Florida’s Everglades National Park, and that is by canoe or kayak. Whether you are a novice paddler or a seasoned whitewater river runner, both tranquility and adventure await you in these rivers and bays. So come along.

© 2011 Holly Genzen/Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Paddling the Everglades Wilderness Waterway" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 38.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 38.

Even if seas and winds are high on nearby Florida Bay, they have little influence here, and navigation is easy. There are only two hazards to this trip—a chance of heavy mosquitoes as you wend through this mangrove “tunnel” and the possibility of extremely shallow water as you approach Bear Lake. You can prepare for the mosquitoes by bringing insect repellent (and bug suits, if necessary). If the water gets too shallow as you near Bear Lake, turn around and head back.
Flamingo, FL - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - Trail Length: 4
The enticing option here is to spend time at Highland Beach.
Homestead, FL - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - Trail Length: 8
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From the Broad River Campsite, paddle southwest on the Broad River a short distance to marker 25 on the left (south), indicating the entrance to the Wood River, which you will follow for a little more than 0.25 mile to its divergence at the entrance to The Nightmare.
Homestead, FL - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - Trail Length: 8.5
Passing Chokoloskee Island, paddle in a southeasterly direction down the bay to marker 127 and turn left (east) onto the Lopez River. Keep paddling in an easterly direction.
Chokoloskee, FL - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - Trail Length: 4
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If you intend to camp at Willy Willy Campsite, continue east from the end of Big Lostmans Bay (marker 38) into Lostmans Creek.
Chokoloskee, FL - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - Trail Length: 2.5
Launch your canoe or kayak to the right of the Gulf Coast Visitor Center at Everglades National Park. The park provides a wheelbarrow to carry your gear from your car to the launch site on Chokoloskee Bay. Make every effort to launch near high tide because launching at low tide may necessitate pulling your craft through thigh-deep mud before you can climb into your boat and paddle off. (For alternative, fee-based launch sites, see Appendix 2, Launch Sites, on page 269.)
Everglades City, FL - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - Trail Length: 3.5
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Paddling this loop is a fine way to explore a variety of ecosystems in a one-day trip. You will pass through mangrove tunnels, narrow creeks, and broader rivers; visit a lake in the backcountry; and skirt the edge of Chokoloskee Bay. The route also takes you past sites of Everglades human history— the former pioneer settlement at Plantation Key and the Native American Calusa shell mounds tucked into the mangrove shores of the Turner River.
Everglades City, FL - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - Trail Length: 11
Leave the Harney River Chickee and turn left, traveling east along the Harney River. Navigating this river is relatively easy as you follow the course of the river for approximately 8 miles, but be aware that the Harney can be a challenge to paddle if the wind is out of the east and you face the headwind, the tide, and the river’s current. If the wind is from the west, however, the Harney is a breeze—but then the Shark River can be challenging.
Homestead, FL - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - Trail Length: 5.5
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Designated a National Recreation Trail, this beautiful but twisty paddle is aptly described as “Hell to get into, and Hell to get out of.” Author Larry Perez, in his Words on the Wilderness, credits Barney Parker, the first ranger in Everglades National Park, for coining this phrase.
Flamingo, FL - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - Trail Length: 3
This is an overnight loop from Everglades City through a series of inland rivers and bays to Crooked Creek Chickee, with a return trip down the Lopez River and across Chokoloskee Bay. The journey takes you away from the Gulf and into the interior of the park through quiet rivers, bays, and creeks. You will spend the night on a chickee and return down the Lopez River, stopping to explore the historic Lopez homesite.
Everglades City, FL - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - Trail Length: 8.5
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Indian Key Pass is a direct, well-marked passage from Everglades City to the Gulf of Mexico, cutting through mangrove islands, shell mounds, and spoil banks deposited as the channel was dredged. This paddle offers you the opportunity to explore the mangrove habitat and the variety of life that inhabits these waters from the bay to the Gulf. You will also have the experience of camping on the beach on the Gulf of Mexico on Picnic, Tiger, or Camp Lulu Key. (Just remember that reservations must be made in person at the Gulf Coast VC within 24 hours of launch for all backcountry camping. However, as Camp Lulu Key is outside the park’s boundaries, you do not need a reservation to camp there.)
Everglades City, FL - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - Trail Length: 7.5
With careful planning, this might also be a 9-mile day trip, but be sure to return on a rising tide if you do not intend to stay overnight.
Everglades City, FL - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - Trail Length: 4.5
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From the Joe River Chickee, exit the cove and turn left, continuing down the Joe River traveling south-southeast. The Joe River is wide, and there is a good chance that you will pass motorboaters, so stay to the right. All of the cutoffs you encounter will be to the left (north); these are channels that connect the Joe River to Whitewater Bay. The potential difficulty of paddling this stretch is that you may encounter a headwind and/or experience strong crosscurrents and winds from Whitewater Bay as you pass the channels.
Homestead, FL - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - Trail Length: 6.5
Southernmost of all the paddles in this guidebook, this route takes you out into the shallow, island-dotted expanse of Florida Bay. Here you can expect to see an abundance of birds—gulls, terns, and cormorants perching on channel markers; pelicans and cormorants diving for fish; and ibis, egrets, and herons roosting on the mangrove islands or wading in the flats. Watch for sharks, dolphins, fish, rays, crabs, and other sea life as you paddle these shallow waters.
Flamingo, FL - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - Trail Length: 8.5
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Leaving the Lopez River Campsite, follow the river, looking for the first channel to the right (east) and marker 126. Here, where the river bends west, turn right into Crooked Creek. If you stayed at Crooked Creek Chickee, paddle back to the creek and turn left (east) to follow this serpentine channel.
Chokoloskee, FL - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - Trail Length: 2.5
The Lopez River Route allows you to explore both Chokoloskee Bay and the Lopez River, two waterways that were important to early pioneers. You will visit the homesite of one of those 1890s settlers, Spaniard Gregorio Lopez, and explore the remnants of his homestead structures on the Calusa shell mound where he lived.
Everglades City, FL - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - Trail Length: 15
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From marker 9, paddle south to pass marker 8 on your left, and continue on to Gunboat Island in the middle of Shark River (see page 260). The island’s shape suggests a boat heading upriver— thus its name.
Homestead, FL - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - Trail Length: 4.5
If you plan to stay at Camp Lonesome, a ground site, turn left (east) at marker 26 and follow the Broad River east to the campsite. Stay to the right (south) side of the Broad River because a number of small channels enter into the river from the left (north). Just after you pass the Wood River on your right, the Broad River will branch. Turn into the left (northeast) branch and you will soon see Camp Lonesome on the left bank of the river. You won’t be able to see it until you’re practically in front of it. In the morning, retrace your route to marker 26 and paddle west, then southwest, to the Broad River Campsite.
Homestead, FL - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - Trail Length: 3.5
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On this leg of your journey, you will be traveling more west to east than north to south. From marker 49, follow the channel as it turns south, then east into an unnamed bay, and pass markers 47 and 46. Be alert for marker 45, which is a little hard to spot on the mangrove shoreline. If the wind is out of the east, this can be a strenuous paddle.
Homestead, FL - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - Trail Length: 3.5
From marker 123 continue your paddle south down Sunday Bay. You will see marker 121 as the bay narrows toward its south end
Chokoloskee, FL - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - Trail Length: 4.5
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