Cross Florida

-- Last Updated: Aug-20-10 10:22 PM EST --

Has anyone ever attempted to cross Florida by kayak from Melbourne to Tampa via St John's River to Green Swamp to Hillsborough River?
I'm thinking of trying to do it. There may be a few portages and thick swamp to contend with but I think it is possible. What do you guys think?
As far as I can tell I'd be the first (in modern times) to attempt such a trip.

everything is possible
If there is land you can portage it, if there is water you can paddle it. It might be hard but you can do it.

You may want to check out WaterTribe.

They do events through Florida, some extremely tough ones, and those would be the people to talk to about it. You might even want to do some of their races.

I competed in the Everglades Challenge in '09 with a friend in a SeaPearl 21 and came in first in our class and fourth overall. An exciting race. Youtube has some videos of us at 11.5 knots surfing.

A good idea to post over on their site. Thanks for the encouragement and advice.

That Green Swamp portion
might be an impossibility.

You would need a chain saw, and some decent water, and lots of time.

Jack L

Green Swamp
I did portions of the Green Swamp in a canoe. I was using it to get back in the bush for hog hunting. Lots of boat draging. I think you will find some part unpassable. You might get soemthing from areial photos on Goggle Earth

If you already did WaterTribe
then you know what you are in for.

I have not done any of their events yet, but figured they would be a good start for you.

Good luck on your trip.

Hilsboro River
There is a portion of the river that is not navigable, including a small stretch in HRSP. Sorry I can’t provide more accurate location, but the local outfitter should be a good source.

Here’s a link…

– Last Updated: Aug-18-10 10:28 PM EST –

to info on the Green Swamp.

I doubt you'll want to try to cross it. It's not all water. Lots of beautiful forest.
From the St. John's you'd get to Lake Apopka fairly easily, but if you are looking at getting down to Groveland via the Platlakha, it's going to be a lot of work. Going to need a major water event, like a good hurricane or tropical storm. Then, chainsaw and loppers.
Let me know if you come this way, and would like a paddling partner, at least for poking around. I'm not sure I'm up to an epic crossing of the "swamp"

PS, Irlboater, I'm not sure where you are from, but if you want a taste of paddling an unkept stream through a Florida swamp, I'll be happy to show you a very beautiful place. You'll get to cut more wood than a 500 year old beaver :)
For info on the Hillsborough end of the thing, e-mail me, and I'll put you in touch with a old school swamper who knows that side. I've run the blackwater that runs into the Hillsborough, and again, it can only be run a few days after a big rain event, and there are so many fallen trees we did five miles in eight hours, with a darn good flow. These boats carried no camping equipment. Each of us dumped once. Strainers everywhere.
Some pretty cool rapids and steps, though.
You probably could do this, just scout out what it will take. It may be more than you want to do. Wilderness backpacking with a boat, and major tree surgery every hour of every day spent near the small streams.

Good Point
tjalmy, It would have to be after a tropical event like Fay for sure. Here’s the route I’d like to take. Follow me for a moment with your DeLorme Gazetteer.

From the Indian River Lagoon to C-54 canal into the St John’s River north to Jane Green Creek west into Crabgrass Creek under US 192 to Indian Branch to Jug Creek Swamp and Cat Lake to Buck Lake. Under 192 again to Alligator Lake to Lake Gentry to Cypress Lake via Canoe Creek. Go up Reedy Creek. From here it gets even more difficult but I believe possible to cross from Reedy Creek through grove ditches into the Green Swamp. Then down the Hillsborough to Tampa Bay.

Already done and/or attempted
If not mistaken Anita Allen and others did it or tried to do it a few years back -search the archive on this forum. There were a few posts regarding the trip.


I’ve not paddled there,
but I’d wager from Reedy Creek to the Hillsborough River State park is going to be one heck of an adventure.

I’ll offer ground support where possible.

Keep me in the loop.


Search Help
I have had no luck in searching the archives for posts regarding this trip. Can somebody point me in the right direction.