Paddling down as far South as the Mainland Lets You!
Sponsored by The South Florida Bush Paddlers (and Friends) and
Benefiting the South Florida National Parks Trust
So You want to paddle in the "Glades"!?!
There are lots of options, many unique to the Glades. It ain't just the River of Grass.
Sure, you can paddle the largest continuous stand of sawgrass prairie in North America, but that river flows into the mangrove forest. Not just any mangrove forest, the largest mangrove forest in the Western Hemisphere. The waters of those mangrove forests flow in and out of Florida Bay with the tides. Combined, this vast expanse of sawgrass and swamp is the largest wilderness area east of the Rockies, according to the NPS.
We'll be running trips into all of these unique and intertwined eco-systems. We will be doing trips from short half day paddles, to "double diamond trips" for only the most determined (and capable). We will be paddling most of the brochure routes and some off the brochure "gladesman's routes" that have yet to be mapped by the Park Service or have been forgotten.
Options include: Nine Mile Pond, Craigheads Pond (beyond Nine Mile Pond) and the Taylor Slough that encompasses all of the above!
Featuring trails such as: Noble Hammock, Paddle past old man Noble's still and loop back to the road or take still creek all the way to West Lake. Hells Bay, Take the marked trail or explore some of the unmarked "Jungles" trails. and Mud lake trails You can do Mud Lake from Bear Lake or Coot Bay Pond, and paddle through a pre-Columbian canal that is listed as a National Historic Landmark.
Whether you just want to paddle along the coast or out into the bay or paddle out to one of the islands or Snake Bight to see some of the plentiful bird colonies, there's plenty of options. But be careful, the tides can leave you high & dry and when the wind picks up, the bay can become a pretty sloppy place to be!
So What Are the Guided Paddles Like?
Well, this is what the Park site says...
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Nine Mile Pond
5 mile loop; 3.5 mile shortcut
This scenic trail passes through shallow grassy marsh with scattered mangrove islands. Watch for alligators, wading birds, and an occasional endangered snail kite. The trail is marked with numbered white poles. A more detailed trail map is also available. Trail may be impassable due to low water levels near the end of the dry season. (Not Now) Motors prohibited.
1.9 mile loop
Winding through a maze of shady mangrovelined creeks and small ponds, the sharp turns and narrow passageways require good maneuvering skills. Enjoy a “crash” course. Check for low water levels during the dry season (Not Now). A calm trail on a windy day. Motors prohibited.
Mud Lake Loop
7.5 miles round trip from Coot Bay Pond
We will start at Coot Bay Pond. Venture inland through the mangroves on this trail connecting the Buttonwood Canal, Coot Bay, Mud Lake, and the Bear Lake Canal. Birding is often good at Mud Lake. There is a 250 yard portage between the Bear Lake and Buttonwood Canals. Motors are prohibited on Mud Lake, Bear Lake, and Bear Lake Canal. Check trail conditions first as Bear Lake Canal is too shallow during parts of the year.