first trip-wilderness waterway everglade

This will be my first long solo trip and I wanted to get any advice possible on the Wilderness waterway…best routes, best sites etc., also is there another company that does a vehicle shuttle from Everglades to Flamingo besides Everglades rental and Eco adventures. Any input appreciated. thanks

when are you planning to go? from now until late fall you are going to suffer from the bugs. all of the shuttles i’ve investigated in the area are quite expensive, leading me to do loop trips. i prefer to go out of everglades city and explore the upper park. lots of variety- gulf, mangroves, beach, ground sites, and chickees. a great place to solo, but not in the late spring through early fall. -h

next week
Going next week; hoping to beat the bugs. I have the Molloy book… are his times for the different trails fairly acurate?

paddling times
lots of variables to consider…your strength, your boats hull speed (loaded), the wind, the tide, how you’re feeling. i’d take any estimate of time with a grain of salt. using the charts and a compass i’ve pretty much made my own trail, so i really haven’t used the malloy book. perhaps someone who has can help you there.

about the bugs, during the day you may be alright as long as the wind blows, but they own the place in the still of the night. try to have all chores done and camp established before dusk, bring a good book, and be prepared to stay inside from dusk until after sunrise.

be sure you’ve got enough water. i’ve found it very easy to become dehydrated in ENP. drink plenty and often.

keep your water in hard sided containers and your food as well. raccoons are bold and fearless!

hope you have a great trip! ENP is a great place worthy of exploring.


time estimates in ENP
Thanks for the advice… I have to say it is all a bit overwhelming…trying to predict where you can get to, in the way of campsites, in a day.

time estimates in ENP
Thanks for the advice… I have to say it is all a bit overwhelming…trying to predict where you can get to, in the way of campsites, in a day.

time and distance
for this fat boy, i’ve found that 10 miles/day is very leisurely. 15 miles/day is more like it, and 20 miles/day or more is doable but you’ll know you worked. i travel pretty light, and paddle a we-no-nah prism. if this is your first trip, take it easy, choose a mix of beach, ground, and chickee campsites, and soak in the experience. how many nights are you planning to be out? -h

I did WW round trip Feb 2008
Here is our website:

Go to Past Trips and read trip report - has distances, maps, and comments about areas and campsites. My advice is to have good maps, a compass, and a GPS especially if you are not familiar with the area. Oh yeah, also remember to have fun and enjoy yourself.

20 mile days should be good even in bad conditions if you are in fair paddling shape. We would launch at sunrise or just before so we could be at our destination campsite by 3 pm latest. I’ve taken my novice friends on 3-day, 20-mile days in parts of the WW without too much trouble with me in a Scupper Pro sit on top.

My concern for your trip is timing - warm to hot and maybe bugs. Not fun camping if sweating in your tent. Bring a bug suit or at minimum no-see-um head net. You’ll have fun and even if it tests you, you will (eventually) be glad you did it!

We decide on a round-trip because a shuttle became a logistics hassle and we paddle fast anyway.

Good luck,


Forgot to mention
Don’t take the Nightmare!! We bypassed it but still got stuck and thought we were lost because it was so overgrown and difficult to get 18-foot kayaks through.

Others may disagree but that’s my two cents worth.


Might be OK
My wife and I also do the northern Everglades quite often. You may not have too much of a problem with the bugs right now since we’re in a pretty bad drought. We did Everglades city, Sunday Bay, Lopez river, back to Everglades city at the end of March during the last bad drought in 2002 and had very few bugs. We’ve also done the outside islands a lot in the summer when the park is closed and not had much of a problem. Picnic, Pavilion, and Mormon were nice. The better campsites on Rabbit are on the bay side of the island and we found it buggier (all during June). Also there were not many bugs out during the day but they started coming out at sunset. It’s now getting dark at about 8pm so that’s not too bad. We use 100% DEET.

Definitely run with the tides. I’d rather leave at noon and catch a tide for a 4 hour trip than leave at 8am and paddle against the tide. With a strong tide you can go from Chokoloskee to Sunday bay (about 7mi) in about an hour and a half fully loaded and taking your time. Malloy’s book is a definite for the first time and if you’re taking your time to figure out where you are the times are pretty close.

We don’t stay at the ground sites anymore.

Thanks so much for all the info and esp. the link to your past trip. I need to rethink my trip a bit, perhaps I can paddle further than I thought every day which would allow me to see more. I am a bit hyper so I dont want too much down time but being solo I want to be smart about it too.

Big Snakes

Okay, what about the reports of all those big snakes that now live in the everglades? Has anyone paddling had a chance encounter with them? I have read that they are right up there with the gators on the top of the food chain. Not trying to spoil your trip but I know that I would be thinking about them if doing a solo paddle, of course, I live in Kansas.

most of the paddling in the enp is along the gulf edge of the park in brackish to salt water. if you push far enough inland i suppose you could find one, but i’ve never seen any snake in my paddling trips to the park, but then again, i’ve never paddled inland any further than sweetwater bay. -h

I have paddled the WW several times
in the winter. Talking to locals there is no way they would camp along that course in May.

Too hot and too buggy and a drought to boot.

They do day paddle but not camp.

I have always been on the water at seven AM so I can enjoy camp before going to the tent before sunset.

I recommend the Gulf side for wind exposure to reduce insect vulnerability.

Thanks for advice-great WW trip
Well, I did the solo trip and it was great. Not really buggy, except at Harney River chickee and that was only at dusk. Had to get out and haul the kayak a couple times on the Nightmare since the water was so low… a little creepy!! Saw lots of sharks (a big sucker up in Sunday Bay which surprised me) but no huge snakes and surprisingly few alligators. Loved the beach site at Highland Beach… so nice to be able to get in the water and walk around. Dolphins, manatees and one crock near Flamingo. Did get stuck in a squall at the end on Whitewater…very, very unpleasant. I totally understand why people recommend the chickees over the land sites… I fortunately took that bit of advice. Thanks again.

glad your trip was a good one. take care. -h

Great! Where’s the pictures?
Great that you did the trip - I tell everyone who is thinking of doing any trip to Just Do It! It is easy to back down and not go and too many people opt out and miss out on some amazing experiences.

Hey, if you have photos and can upload, post the link - we’d love to see them.


I am not a perks member so I cant post the pics here but I sent them to your paddleacrossflorida address. There are not very many…water and trees, myself, rainbows… never got a photo of the dolphin… and the camera didnt make it to the end.

Thanks I post to picasa via my gmail
Makes it easy to share and doesn’t take up room on your site.

Get a gmail account and that will allow you to upload if you think you will want to post pictures in the future. Great for me to share family photos and of my kayak adventures.