Florida wilderness waterway trail

Looking at doing the wilderness waterway trail some time next fall. Im new to kayaking but not to backpaking.i only have ascend d10 kayak and was wondering if this kayak would be ok for this type of trip or am i getting in over my head. Thanks in advance for all your help.

Rent a sea kayak
In Everglades city

Look over the Everglades Diary Website and Everglades Exploration Network

Your boat has several drawbacks

It’s slow

It lacks capacity to carry all the freshwater you need.

It’s slow

Tidal currents run up to 4 mph so a fast boat is best

Kayaks need a spray cover .Winds after 10 are in the 20 mph to 25 mph range and kick up big fast period chop. Put a wind and a contrary tide together and you have a real problem

Your boat and you should be able to do 20 miles a day and as you need to watch tides your trips may be partly at night

You can’t reserve ahead. Have a variety of itineraries in mind

The WW is really monotone. Most kayakers like a variety some in the mangroves and some on the Gulf

The WW is NOT sheltered waters. It’s big sky big water and not a dark swamp

At a distance it’s like paddling big northern lakes

If you are new I recommend a short guided trip of several days . You can learn a lot about the area and some tactics for reading sky current wind and tides for your next trip

Burnham Guides is a good company

For the information i will take a look at the other sites.

The end to end trip
Can take 10 days. Faster paddlers/boats can do it in 7

Each day out you need 1gal water

10 gal is approx 90 lbs

I usually end with leftover water but think going with less is a mistake. You can spill some or have a raccoon steal some and then you’d be up that creek

Yes, you would be getting in way over…
your head !

Every thing that kayamedic says and more !

You would absolutely need a much longer boat.

And a lot of experience. Tides and fronts can make or break your trip, (have you thought about them?).

Have you thought about a shuttle?

Down the line if you do get a larger sea kayak that can carry all that you need, and you decide to do it, we can send you the route(s), with way points.

There is the inner route, and then the outer open water route, and there are various rivers that can let you use both options to avoid paddling against strong tides.

If you are not familiar with either, and don’t have a good GPS or charts you can easily get lost.

You would do much better to start by taking a couple of day or two out and back trips.

Another option is to do a guided trip. A good friend guides through the waterway for the Burnhams and I can get you in touch with him if you want.

Jack L

I have thought about tides but have no experience in them since i have only paddled in Colorado. As far as navigation im not to worried i like to think that im pretty good with a map and compass. Why is everyone all was like you need a longer boat because they are faster people need to slow down and take a minute to relies where they are and enjoy it. I have been on many hikes with groups in the backcountry and they are allways in a rush to get to the next campsite that they dont enjoy the trail to get there and then once at camp all they do is sit around.

Archimedes principle
Volume equals carrying a greater payload safely

Tides and winds can break your trip

A chart and compass is a must but in order to be effective they must be studied each minute and not lose track of where you are. Granted the WW is marked but often some of the markers are a mile apart

Mangroves all look alike

It’s not the same as the mountains

That’s why many of us use a GPS

I did mention night paddling. It’s hard to keep a compass course at night as nothing is straight. Tides sometimes force night paddling

Slow is fine. Take your 10 foot boat and jam 140 lbs water in it. And remember that you have to take more food and still equipment. In The winter northerlies require fleece some days.

They can also pin you down for days. Or worse.

People think of the Everglades as intimate paddling in serene places

It’s like paddling a kayak on the ocean more

What could be more fun and practical and more scenic is to leave from Everglades City and go to Jewell and Pavilion and Tiger or Picnic and back to EC. That way you will get to experience what we are talking about without the shuttle expense and as it is a shorter trip you won’t overload your boat

Longer boat has nothing to do with speed
in this case.

It is for carrying all the water and gear.

No body takes as much time as my wife and I do when we are exploring the wilderness water way.

It would be stupid to race through it and not enjoy it

On your chart knowledge. In the days before GPS units we used charts and compass, and no matter how good you are with one, you’ll go around in circles before you find some of the camp sites that are hidden behind mangrove islands.

You asked if your boat would be OK for it and advice.

A couple of us who have a lot of experience answered you and now you want to give us advice.

With your attitude, my advice now is don’t even think about going. You are bound to get hopelessly lost!

Jack L

Love it
"On your chart knowledge. In the days before GPS units we used charts and compass, and no matter how good you are with one, you’ll go around in circles before you find some of the camp sites that are hidden behind mangrove islands."

I have done that. I use chart and compass for big bays to find the exit mangrove. Then the GPS for the little things… like a 12x12 foot chickee( no chart has them pinpointed)( they do give accurate GPS coordinates… or to answer the question “which mangrove is this?”

Joel Beckwith runs good tours for Burnhams. But would you be a good client? ( I hate to suggest someone who is going to cause a headache)

We love Joel and try to hob nob…
with him every year.

You can glean more from him on the Everglades than any other guide.

He is a one of a kind guy, who has tons of back country knowledge, is a great musician and yet is as humble as can be.

May be the OP should go with him and learn a little bit, or I should say -a lot!

Jack L


– Last Updated: Oct-09-16 9:21 PM EST –


there's a NP or FL State pdf for feeding island names into Google Images

I use a Solstice Titan with MSR 10L bags set to keel with Velcro.

Need GPS preferably with Blue Charts and, VHF is recommended by NPS.

Summer is fairly calm n scenic with columnar thunderstorms but the mosquitoes and biting insects are fierce as the sun goes down.

There are oyster beds

Late Fall to Late Spring look at the NWS weather forecast charts including the animated


what happens is westerlies cycle W-NW-N-NE-uh-E-SE-S

thus, the trip is off at Everglades City on a W OR NW wind then on down southward.

However, you need a gallon a day so water n freeze dried food.

The idea of short trips is a starter...Everglades City to next 2 camping islands n back

Out of Flamingo to a chickee...bring 3M dust mask with flap for guano off the roof. Wal plastic tarp for fly ditto.

Or on the tides down to Long Key State Park n back ....with wind and tide

Florida Bay out of Flamingo is marlvelously scenic prob in an atmosphere never experienced before

The islands from EC are short crossings.

If you can do any of this do it with a 17' composite sea kayak with flotation.

This IS Sea Kayaking.

am atop Island In the Sky for a week in AAA fall weather. I'm mooved posting for back home in...


starting back from Long Key to Flamingo


heading around Long Key to the bridge. I left for Man o War at dawn as the tide began coming in.

campsite on left.

before you go

long underwear, poly blanket, sleeping bag liner

space blanket

for sleeping over a bag

unless yawl have a down bag into a small container.

down bag plus long underwear in case the bag gets wet…which reminds yawl need dry bags n containers see NRS …everything goes into drybags clearly ID and in order for dinner.

search: utube video packing sea kayak for camping

OK be slow…but don’t complain when you miss the tide and have to wait on the mud flats till it returns. OK, be slow but don’t complain when wind and wave forces you to paddle at night cause you aren’t at your designated camp site yet. …and there is no other dry ground. OK be slow…but don’t complain about the afternoon lightning storm that catches you in open water. Do wear a bright color PFD. It will make the recovery easier.

The WW was designed for powerboats. The only critical tide timing is in the Nigtmare… Powerboats go out to the Gulf then

There were white caps in Coot Bay this weekend. We had to tow one 10 ft SOT kayak and the other short boats were shepherded across to the Coot pond from Mud Lake. The short boats zig zagged on the downwind leg and struggled on the up wind. Coot bay is inland and part of the WW.

This web site might be helpful, but deceiving.


Campsites are not that close together. Dry land is not that plentiful. You will likely not want go from the WW to the beach and back just to make a campsite but you might have to… Count on the bottom to be silty, mud not suitable for walking on. To some extent everything looks the same at times. If you have to navigate mangroves, or the plains it will take twice as long as you think it should…

Water level depends upon a lot of factors.

Bring misquito gear to include long sleeves, nets, gloves, long pants, socks, etc. This year was the worst many of the rangers have seen in decades. You forget to do things and make mistakes when the %&****()))&!!! bugs are flying in your face biting you.

Oh, we found some suspicious markings on the National Geographics maps concerning GPS, lat and long markings. Be sure to use REAL nautical charts.

Here are a couple more links. The FPTA is a good reference but the corporate knowledge is often not all present in posts. As I post this they have 25 mph winds with gusts. Not a good gulf paddling day in an open canoe. Or loaded kayak either for that matter. Be careful of wind it can blow the water off of flats faster than the tide tables will show.



Campsites are reasonable distance if the poster plans reasonably. And has the forecasted winds and tides in mind. You cant make much speed against tides in some spots. If you are a late riser. .forget it… There is a saying down there to do your day before ten.
We’ve been tripping in the Glades since 2005. Each year for ten days. Some trips are interesting… old days we reserved Sunday Bay to find that all the wind blew all the water out for half a mile around the chickee… Nothing like an extra few miles down House Hammock to squat at Watsons.

http://gladesgodeep.ning.com/ is a forum with lots of seasoned local paddlers.

Ive never found the GPS on the Nat Geo maps to be useful… I do carry a real waterproof marine chart that lists the coordinates for each campsite or chickee. Down there you can be a few hundred feet on the wrong side of a mangrove and completely miss a chickee or ground site.

I have hiked CO and paddled the ENP. It is much easier to navigate the mountains than some areas of the Everglades.