Big Bend - Saltwater Paddling Trail - Trail Updates

This site will be updated periodically with information concerning conditions and changes to the Big Bend Saltwater Paddling Trail. If you have any problems, complaints, or observe damage or vandalism to signs, fire rings, etc. along the trail we would appreciate you letting us know. Call (850)488-5520 or e-mail us at bbpaddling@myfwc.com.

October 2014

We now have a new reservation system for the Big Bend Saltwater Paddling Trail. Go on-line to check trip availability, reserve campsites, and download permits.

We have also added new permit options for single nights as well as two 6-day/5-night trips. 

November 2012

The third edition of the newly revised guide book to the Big Bend Saltwater Paddling Trail has just been published.  This invaluable resource provides detailed maps and updated information essential for planning your paddling adventure on this outstanding National Recreation Trail.   

Order a copy of the new trail guide and other maps:
www.wildlifefoundationofflorida.com.External Website

Explore other paddling opportunities in the region.

Camping
Camping at Dallus Creek

October 2010

The primitive campsite downstream from the boat ramp at Econfina State Park has been closed and a new one has been located upstream about a mile upriver from the boat ramp. The new site is on high ground in the river forest along the west bank and will not have the problems with flooding as the original site. GPS = N30 04.28 by W83 53. 80.

Shoals just above a small bridge before the campsite may inhibit passage at low tide. If this is the case, you may want to wait an hour or so at the boat landing before attempting again with a rising tide. Chronic low water during drought conditions, however, may be more problematic. The site is free and requires no permit. However, the park would like for campers to notify them if using the site so they can gauge use, 850-922-6007. There is a two-night maximum stay.

If the primitive site is occupied, then arrange for camping through the park concessionaire (The Econfina River Resort) at 850-584-2135, or visit their store. The campground and store, along with showers and bathrooms, are a quarter mile north of the park boat ramp along a paved road. There is a fee. The store is closed on Mondays. You can also access the store from the new campsite by hiking a red blazed trail to the park road and turning left for a total of about a mile. The trail, like other hiking trails in the park, are best utilized in cool weather when venomous snakes and ticks are dormant.

The Econfina river above the campsite is worth paddling. Large live oaks and other hardwoods arch over the waterway, and numerous wildflowers often bloom along shore.

October 2009

FWC staff recently completed an annual survey and maintenance visit to each of the campsites along the trail. The sites have been mowed and spruced up for this year's paddling season. However, there are no funds to do routine maintenance beyond this annual visit and we anticipate the sites becoming trashed and overgrown unless we can recruit some consistent volunteer assistance. This area is difficult to access as it requires a powerboat or airboat to travel the long distances between sites and the ability to carry equipment and haul off trash. The work takes a two day time commitment and must be timed to access the areas with the tides. It cannot be accomplished by kayak! If you are able to adopt a campsite or offer any assistance please call Liz at 850-922-6160.

The take-out point for Trips 1 & 4 ending in the town of Suwannee offers paddlers a new option for safe parking and access. The newly acquired 'Anderson Landing' is part of the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail and provides lodging, RV and primitive camping.

Driving directions: as you enter the town of Suwannee on CR 349 look for Anderson Landing on your left, just past the long row of palm trees on your right. Turn left on the first road just past the sign and enter at 'Bill's Fish Camp' to arrange for parking or lodging.

Directions from the water: Turn right at red channel marker #28, N 29.19.683 / W 83.09.156. follow the canal, making a U-shaped curve, staying along the seawall. Continue on this main canal past the Community Center, go under two bridges, followed by a left turn into a side canal N 29.19.625 / W 83.08.589. Look for the Suwannee River Wilderness River Camp sign. Continue around to the old marina building on your left until you come to the street side public boat ramp.

October 23, 2008

Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission staff recently surveyed all the campsites along the Big Bend Saltwater Paddling Trail (BBSPT) to maintain and mow each site. We are happy to report all the sites are in good shape and no major storm damage has occurred in the past year.

Because there is no funding source to support paddling trails, the economic downturn and resulting budget constraints have forced us to cancel our maintenance contractor.  We are looking for volunteers who are able to visit the campsites by powerboat or airboat to mow the areas with a weed trimmer, cut any encroaching vegetation, and report any damage or vandalism problems. Volunteers need to provide their own equipment and safety gear.

Full moon over the Big Bend

To visit all seven sites it takes a total of two days.  The long length of the trail and distance between campsites is time consuming and working with low tides makes accessing the sites a challenge with any type of boat.  If you have interest please contact Liz Sparks at 850-922-6160.

February 6, 2006

A couple of items have been brought to our attention by paddlers that have utilized the Big Bend Trail during the 2005-06 season. Here are some notable updates:

  • At the take-out in the town of Suwannee on Salt Creek, parking is available at the Suwannee Community Center just south of the Salt Creek ramp and across the street, not the Chamber of Commerce, as noted in the guide on page 11. This applies to those paddling Trip 4 and to through-paddlers on Trip 1 who wish to leave vehicles at the take-out.
  • The channel marker noted on page 20 of the paddling guide that defines the entrance to Spring Warrior Creek is no longer in place. Follow the GPS coordinates in the guide and watch the rooftops of the town of Spring Warrior to locate the channel and camp site.
  • Remember - Always pay attention to tides. Time your trip to allow enough time to reach campsites during periods of high water. Be prepared to pull boats to or from campsites during low tides.  The most challenging locations are Dallus Creek and Sink Creek which can both be difficult to access at low tide.

December 14, 2006

The following information affects paddlers using the final take-out point on Trip 1 and Trip 4. The access point mentioned in the paddling guide on page 39 for Salt Creek in the town of Suwannee has been closed. A new paddling launch is available next to the Suwannee Community Center building. To locate the launch from the water paddle up Salt Creek following channel markers and look for the number 28 red triangular channel marker. Directly opposite the marker on the right (south) is a small canal. Turn into the canal and continue paddling around the curving channel until you see the white block Community Center building and launch on your left. Overnight parking is available here also.

June 4, 2005

Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission is proud to announce the Big Bend Saltwater Paddling Trail was recently awarded designation as a National Recreation Trail during National Trails Day June 4th, 2005. The Big Bend Paddling Trail was one of 37 trails in 23 states to receive this award. National Recreation Trail designation is an honor given out to those existing trails that have been nominated and meet the requirements for connecting people to local resources and improving their quality of life. The national trail designation is part of a continuing campaign to promote community partnerships and to foster innovative ways to encourage physical fitness. The National Trails System Act of 1968 encourages the Secretary of the Interior to recognize existing community trails that qualify as additions to the National Trails System. The Act promotes enjoyment and appreciation of trails and greater public access.

May, 2005

The Big Bend Saltwater Paddling Trail was placed on the American Canoe Association's inaugural list of ACA-recommended trails. It was selected as one of 12 trails across the nation by the ACA as a particularly good destination for paddlers.



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