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Trip report: November 2015

Big Bend Saltwater Paddling Trail...

105 miles on Florida's Gulf Coast

Big Bend Paddling Trail, a designated National Recreation Trail (and part of the 1,550 mile "Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Trail"), runs 105 miles on the Gulf of Mexico between the Aucilla and Suwannee Rivers along one of the longest and wildest publicly-owned coastal wetlands in the United States. Kayakers will pass wildlife and aquatic preserves, with many small tidal creeks and seven rivers to explore. Watch wind and tides. Overnight trips are for experienced and properly equipped paddlers only. (Detailed map and photos below.)

Paddle Big Bend Saltwater Paddling Trail

Big Bend Saltwater Trail Map

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Distance: 105 miles
Location: Wakulla, Taylor, Dixie Counties
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
Tidal: Yes
Launch points: Econfina River State Park, Hagens Cove, Dallus Creek, Steinhatchee, Horseshoe Beach, Suwannee (See map)
Nearby points of interest: St. Mark's Lighthouse, Suwannee River


River Haven Marina  (rentals)

Big Bend Paddling Trail... Comments and Photos

We kayaked the area off Hagen's Cove, and visited other tiny beach towns along the paddling trail to scope out launches for future visits. This is a particularly shallow section of the Gulf - tides, wind and weather can be treacherous, so watch for advisories. In warmer weather especially, the insects (yellow flies, black flies, and "no-see-ums") can be brutal. Sunshine is your friend. When you see local fishermen getting off the water as sunset approaches, you should do the same. On the other hand, this area of Florida is sparely populated, retaining its natural beauty and remote feel.

Paddling at Hagen's Cove

Hagen's Cove is located between Keaton Beach and Steinhatchee. Restroom, boat ramp, beach and picnic facilities.

Other points/launches on the trail

We visited more locations along the paddling trail to scope out for other visits. Shown north to south.

Keaton Beach

Dark Island

Dallus Creek


Rocky Creek

Horseshoe Beach

Shired Island


About the Big Bend Saltwater Paddling Trail

The trail includes six primitive campsites at Rock Island, Spring Warrior Creek, Sponge Point, Dallus Creek, Sink Creek, and Butler Island; free permits must be obtained in advance (an online calendar is available to check availability and make reservations, see link below). Camping is also available at Econfina State Park and other accommodations in Steinhatchee.

Wildlife include a wide array of bird and marine life.

Also visit us here: Paddling on the Steinhatchee River


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