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Latest update: Dec. 2016

Loxahatchee River - South... Paddling at Riverbend Park

The Loxahatchee River 8.5 mile State Designated Paddling Trail runs from Palm Beach County's Riverbend Park to Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Martin County. While the trail can be paddled in a single downstream trip using a shuttle, most visitors paddle out and back from the one of the two parks. On this page we describe paddling portions of the trail at the south end at Riverbend Park. Separately, we describe paddling the north end at Jonathan Dickinson State Park (see link at bottom of the page). (Detailed map and photos below.)

paddle Loxahatchee River, Riverbend Park, kayak, canoe

Distance: 8.5 mile paddling trail one-way
Location: Palm Beach and Martin Counties
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
Tidal: Partial
Launch points: Loxahatchee Riverbend Park (south), Jonathan Dickinson State Park (north) (See map)
Nearby points of interest: Trapper Nelson Interpretive Site, Jupiter Beach and Inlet, Jupiter Lighthouse, Palm Beach

Rentals/Outfitters/Tours:

Canoe Outfitters (rentals)

Support and Advocacy:

Friends of the Loxahatchee River

Loxahatchee River - South... Comments and Photos

The 4 miles through cypress between Riverbend Park and Trapper Nelson Interpretive Site is the most scenic part of the paddling trail. It can also be the most challenging. This portion of the river is more narrow, with many twists and turns. Portages over downed trees may be required. Paddle over Lainhart and Masten Dams for a whitewater type ride, or if too shallow pull your kayak or canoe over the ramps next to the dams. Past Trapper Nelson's and to Jonathan Dickinson State Park, the river widens into a mangrove estuary and the tidal influence starts.


Riverbend Park to Lainhart Dam

We paddled from Riverbend Park to the first dam (Lainhart Dam) and back up around the Picnic Island loop within the Park. We had planned on a longer out and back; however, we found the river can be busy on cool weekends. The water was low, so running the dam meant getting wet, and there was a long line at the portage ramp - experienced paddlers may want to run over the dam, but others should use the pullover ramp. We didn't want to wait (twice, out and back), so we turned around and paddled the Picnic Island loop. We were pleasantly surprised by the amount of wildlife we spotted.

Launch to outfitter

Park bridge to Lainhart Dam

 

Picnic Island Loop

 

Wildlife

Paddle Loxahatchee River, kayak, canoe, Florida

About Riverbend Park

Riverbend Park, a Palm Beach County park near Jupiter, Florida, features 10 miles of hiking/biking trails, 7 miles of equestrian trails, 5 miles of canoeing/kayaking trails, and picnic facilities. An outfitter at the park rents both kayaks/canoes and bicycles. Those with their own kayak or canoe can avoid the crowd at the outfitter's and instead launch at Picnic Island. The park has a long history spanning 5,000 years from the native Indian Archaic period to the Seminole  and the of European settlers in the 1800's - visit the Cracker Farmstead and sawmill, and the Seminole Village and chickees. An adjacent area is Loxahatchee River Battlefield Park, site of Powell's Battle and Jesup's Battle, skirmishes between the Seminole Indians and the U.S. Military in 1838.

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