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Trip report: Jan. 2017

Caloosahatchee River...

Great Calusa Blueway... Under Restoration

The Caloosahatchee River runs from the Gulf of Mexico near Ft. Myers to the Okeechobee Canal at Moore Haven. The river from its mouth to Alva comprise a portion of the Great Calusa Blueway. We have not paddled here yet, but visited some launches for future planning. We present this information for those who are interested. (Detailed map and photos below.)

paddle Caloosahatchee River, kayak, canoe

Distance: About 33 miles from mouth of the river to Alva; 67 miles total to Lake Okeechobee
Location: Lee and Hendry Counties
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Tidal: Partial, as it approaches the Gulf
Launch points: Manatee Park, W.P. Franklin Lock campground, Caloosahatchee Regional Park, Alva Boat Ramp (See map)
Nearby points of interest: Edison and Ford Winter Estates, Sanibel and Captiva Islands


Caloosahatchee Regional Park  (rentals, contact park office)

Kayak Excursions  (rentals, tours)

Support and Advocacy:

Caloosa Riverkeeper

Caloosahatchee River... Comments and Photos

Wide closer to the Gulf and Ft. Myers, the river narrows past I-75 in Ft. Myers where the better paddling starts. The Caloosahatchee can be busy with powerboats - while the river can be paddled, paddlers usually visit the side creeks and oxbows along the way. Popular side excursions include Orange River, Telegraph Creek, and Hickey Creek.

Launches visited for planning future visits

W.P. Franklin Lock Campground

Nice launch, easy on and off. About 1.5 miles to Hickey Creek, 1 mile to Telegraph Creek. This is an area we will plan to paddle.

Caloosahatchee Regional Park

We didn't visit the actual launch, down a path with wheels/cart needed. Because of that, we probably would not launch here on a day trip, but rather recommend as a landing along the river or for camping.

Alva Boat Ramp

Easy on and off, directly across from the launch is an oxbow and Bedman Creek.


Caloosahatchee River at Ft. Myers

Ft. Myers is doing a great job rehabilitating its River District with shops, restaurants and entertainment, incorporating the Caloosahatchee River into its vision.

About the Caloosahatchee River

The Caloosahatchee River was dredged and straightened (and unceremoniously named C-43), with dams and locks added, as part of the Okeechobee Waterway initiative from the 1930s-50s. Today, efforts to improve and restore the river are underway. Oxbows are remnants of the original course, and are popular for paddling off the main channel.

Visit us here for more about the Great Calusa Blueway


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