Turner River... Paddling in Big Cypress
Located in the Big Cypress National Preserve (adjacent to Everglades National Park), the Turner River meanders through mangrove habitat, sawgrass prairie, and freshwater marsh. The mangrove tunnels can be narrow and sometimes easier to push through than paddle, smaller kayaks and canoes are the best choice here. Watch for the markers that delineate the main river from side streams. (Detailed map, photos and more description below.)
The Turner River Paddle Trail runs 8.5 miles one-way from the put-in on US 41 to Chocoloskee Island. The tides will influence timing, paddle downstream when the tide is going out to take advantage of the tidal flow; paddle upstream when the tide rises.
November to March is the best time of year for paddling due to the heat and bugs; tides, wind and the Florida sun make this a challenging paddle. Much wildlife, many birds, and scenery to enjoy; alligators are plentiful.
From the Turner River launch on US41, take a short ride west on US41 and watch on the left for the Ochopee Post Office, the smallest post office in the United States. Also worthwhile is a stop at the Big Cypress Gallery in Ochopee to view the photography of Clyde Butcher, a foremost chronicler of The Everglades and the American wilderness. Big Cypress National Preserve is one of the few remaining habitat of the Florida panther; activities in addition to paddling include hiking, camping, biking, and fishing.
Also visit us here: Bicycling in The Everglades
More information on paddling the Turner River (opens in a new window):
Paddling in Florida - Kayak, Canoe