Hello, Paddler!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Okefanokee Swamp mid April

I did a search and saw some great pics but not the specific, current info I'm looking for. I want to drive down from Massachusetts and camp in the Okefanokee Swamp for one night during the week of April 16. There would be two of us on standup paddle boards loaded up with full camping gear for a two day paddle and one night camp. I have never been there and know almost nothing about the area but it seems like there are water trails with tent platforms along the way. We could easily do 5 to 8 miles each day so it could be an out and back to a platform or a 10 to 15 mile loop with a tent platform in the middle. What entrance, trail head, trail, area, platforms etc would be recommended? Is it possible to just drive up and get a two day one night camping permit? Or do you need a reservation? Anything I'm missing? Thank you very much for any info.

Comments

  • You best reserve. Tent platforms or islands are more than five miles apart with the exception of Mixon's Hammock.
    https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Okefenokee/visitor_activities/wilderness_canoeing.html
    Big Water is 10 miles and may be attainable. Its through an attractive cypress swamp full of flowers and wildlife.
    If you can't get a permit its also a nice paddle to Minnies Lake and back as a day paddle. The campground at Stephen Foster State Park is outstanding.

  • Have you paddled your boards with alligators? Some of the trails are pretty narrow. Close encounters with large gators is unavoidable. I am not uncomfortable close to gators in a canoe, but having my feet exposed at water level would make me quite nervous. Maybe you'll hear from some boarders with gator experience.

  • Kayamedic, thanks for that. The link is exactly what I needed. Sedges, I have not paddled with alligators. I expect them to behave themselves and not charge a board quietly paddling by. I will certainly be on the lookout for any kind of aggressive or territorial behavior. We will not be approaching or harassing them. Thanks again guys.

  • quote from the Okeefenokee NWR website. "Boats with outboard motors are limited to 10 hp. No airboats or paddleboards allowed". Expecting large carnivorous predators(up to 12 feet and weighing several hundred pounds) to behave themselves as you paddle by is naive. They are territorial. Bring a canoe or rent one and enjoy the swamp in safety.

  • @sedges said:
    quote from the Okeefenokee NWR website. "Boats with outboard motors are limited to 10 hp. No airboats or paddleboards allowed". Expecting large carnivorous predators(up to 12 feet and weighing several hundred pounds) to behave themselves as you paddle by is naive. They are territorial. Bring a canoe or rent one and enjoy the swamp in safety.

    Ok There ya go. Thanks for that.

  • It is mating season. Hence more aggression.

    It is also common for fishermen, as told by the tour operator, at the Fargo end to catch mud fish, kill them and throw them back. The gators know this and hang around boats to see what's next. I've often said you never see a single gator at the Okefenokee. .............. they come in groups of five. There are a lot of gators there. The park does not regulate their numbers.

    I suggest you look more to the Suwannee River Wilderness Paddling trail. Same water just down stream of the swamp. Still has gators but not in the concentrations.

    https://floridastateparks.org/parks/suwannee-river-wilderness-trail

    There are some camp sites up stream of big shoals. The river camps are generally below White Springs. Here is the real information. Note the real time water levels and the map with all the launch points, mile markers, etc are the two more important links.
    http://www.srwmd.state.fl.us/index.aspx?nid=64

  • edited April 12

    PS.....outfitters are more active below big shoals. There is a good/reliable one at White Springs. Another at the music park. Shuttles can be had.

  • I agree with Overstreet. There is a very attractive but long paddle to Floyd’s Island where you can camp
    However the last bit is down a narrow canal. Three feet wide in places
    The gators like to lie on logs. Last time I went in a canoe I had to paddle within two feet of one. While it did not move I was glad to be in a canoe

  • I've done the platform thing a couple of times. i actually prefer camping at S. f. campground and doing day trips from Stephen Foster State Park (GA)..Signage is great and most of the water paths are easy to follow.. I sometimes rent a canoe or take my own. When I have my own I like to paddle from the S. F. boat concession to the suwannee sill (reuqires your own shuttle). because that side of the park has a bald cypress nursery and is good for large wading birds. Usually I don't make it all the way to minnies lake before turning around. Although I've been known to ignore "day paddlers stop here signs" and keep paddling a ways before turning around.
    If you have your own boat you can also paddle from the sill and go on the suwanee down to Griffs fish camp. (shuttle required) My least favorite part of the swamp is the canal but there are some nice areas beyond it. I haven't made it to kingfisher land yet, that's probably my next trip. If I did that section I'd probably platform camp.

  • The fire season and bug season are about to start.

  • Bluff Lake out of Kingfisher Landing is one of my favorites in the Okefenokee Swamp. It's a little over 8 miles from landing to platform and no shuttle is required. Odds are pretty good that you won't see anyone else in or back. While the platform isn't on Bluff Lake it is close to it and is in good shape. Looking at a map you can see several lakes nearby Bluff Lake if you like to fish or explore. Like all platforms watch your food for ants and raccoons.

    Kayak_Ken

Sign In or Register to comment.
Message Boards Close

Hello, Paddler!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!