Okefenokee Question

I am a member of the Mississippi Outdoor Club and plan to sponsor a 2 night (more or less depending on your advice) camping outing canoe/kayak float trip to the Okefenokee some time this year. I know nothing about the swamp and am asking for any practical advice on where to put in, where to paddle, and when is the best time. I’ve searched the web sites and get all the standard tourist info. I understand that there are some established canoe trails and camping platforms, some maybe not yet open because of the recent fires. I need some information from a paddler’s perspective. Thanks.

I did a day paddle in Okeefenokee Swamp in mid-Feb. this year. It was beautiful and very few people. Many of the waterways were closed due to fire damage though some may be repaired by now. I put in at the main gate (can’t remember now where that was but it’s on the map). I saw a couple camping platforms which looked like they’d be fun to crawl up on and set up camp. Saw some alligators and lots of bird life.

However, there were literally hundreds of watercraft, motorized and paddle for rent and any number of tour boats. None were on the water when I was there but I can’t imagine what it must be like when things are in full swing. Dodging stinkpots in the narrow waterways could be no fun. Choose your time wisely.


For reservations call Okefenokee NWR

here is a page with alot of info follow the links


I just did a day trip to Minnies Lake and the new chickee is available for overnight use. It was only some four miles from Stephen Foster State Park…

You can go at least another six miles up Minnies Lake.

Anyway the phone call will get you reservations and the best info and trip planning help.

Its a gorgeous area but its going to get hot fast.

The john boats for rent that you may see are not a problem (at least they were not for me) in the cypress channels. They have to go slow. They have more to lose than paddlers do.

I saw maybe a dozen.

I like doing mid winter swamp trips
when the weather is still cool, there are no bugs, the gators are docile, and we hardly see anybody.

If you don’t like crowds, stay away from Stephen Foster State Park where the boat rentals are. You will find quieter water elsewhere.

In 2006 we spent a few days paddling from Kingfisher Landing to Maul Hammock, Big Water, Floyds, Round Top, then out at the East Entrance.



much of this burned in spring of 2007 and there are only 8 campsites open now.

Does not look at all like 2006


Hopefully it wont take an act of

congress to reopen the trails. I wouldn’t mind a return trip there in the fall.

no but it takes more time
as they dont have a huge staff.

I paddled there two weeks ago but remember that up to date info is best gotten from the people that work there.

FYI —Trail Openings

– Last Updated: Sep-25-08 10:55 AM EST –

Sorry that I am posting on an old thread, but thought that I would bring up some information that I have come across about the SWAMP.

We have scheduled a trip for the weekend before Thanksgiving, on one of the (ONLY) two currently open trails; both of which start at the Suwannee Canal entrance. We asked the question about when the others would start becoming available and they informed us that work will soon begin on the Floyd's Island area. This should open up several trails on the west side of the swamp sometime in early October.

Paddle Season For This Area
IMHO January / February. Otherwise you’ll be giving up a pint of blood (a day). Praying for cold weather in Florida in Janaury.

Christmas is probably busy as well as Martin Luther King day and Presidents weekend. Try to go first week of January when everyone is back at work / school.

DEC ain’t bad

– Last Updated: Sep-25-08 11:23 AM EST –

went in december about 5 years ago and saw two mosquitoes, two people and two alligators, seriously.

I like March better
still no bugs, and a few people and lots of gators…counted around fifty on a day trip.

Mar & Apr…
are very difficult to reserve CAMPING trips so a day trip in March was probably the easiest option for that time period. Being that it is the most active time for gators, no bugs, and all the other good stuff that comes with spring, make it the best time for going in the swamp, if you are one of the VERY lucky few that can book a camping trip.

We are going in a little over a month on a camping trip, hopefully when the leaves are changing, another popular time to go.

Am I correct in that solo camping
is not permitted? I almost always do solo trips.

ANY camping…
is permitted, i believe. you need to register for the designated spots.

“Camping is permitted only at designated stops. There are only seven designated stops within the swamp–only seven groups may be in the swamp on a given night.”



solo camping
It is permitted. Until a few years ago it wasn’t allowed but they have since lightened that restriction. This is one of the few places that I have ever been that would really spook me out at night if I was alone though!

I would LOVE to solo camp there…with all the night eyes…