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Latest update: February 2013

Peace River Paddling Trail...

Kayaking on Quiet Beauty in Florida's Heartland

The Peace River lives up to its name (called the Rio de la Paz by the Spanish as early as 1544), paddling through the quiet surroundings allows the paddler to leave cares behind and enjoy the serene beauty of this place. The river extends 106 miles from Lake Hancock in the north to Charlotte Harbor in the south, with a 67 mile Designated Paddling Trail from Bartow to Arcadia; ideal for kayak or canoe. The Peace River Valley watershed covers 2,300 square miles. (Detailed map and photos below.)

paddle Peace River, kayak, canoe

Peace River Paddling Map / Launches

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Location: Desoto, Hardee, Polk Counties
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Tidal: No
Launch points: Designated paddling trail: SR 60 bridge (Bartow), Heritage Peace River Landing, US 98 Bridge (Ft. Meade Recreational Park), CR 657 (Mt. Pisgah Road) bridge, SR 664 bridge (Bowling Green), Lower SR 664A bridge (Wauchula), Crews Park boat ramp, CR652 bridge, Pioneer Park boat ramp, Gardner boat ramp, Brownville Park (Arcadia), DeSoto County Park (See map)
Nearby points of interest: Payne's Creek Historic State Park, Mosaic Peace River Park


Canoe Outpost - Peace River  (rentals)

 Page Summary:

  1. Paddling on the Peace River
    - Upper Section
    - Middle Section
    - Lower Section
  2. More Information and Resources

Paddling on the Peace River... Comments and Photos

Through moss-draped cypress swamp, hardwood forest and hammocks, this blackwater river is a dark tea color. It twists and turns becoming alternatively narrow with a swifter current, then wider with a slower current. Creeks feed the river, but rainfall is the main source of water. When the water is low, some areas present light rapids and other areas are impassable - especially on the upper river.

The shoreline offers many beaches for camping or picnicking. Note: Much of the land along the river is privately owned, so when camping respect private property and check with the outfitters if in doubt.

Many birds, alligators and other wildlife can be seen, plus manatees at Charlotte Harbor and the lower river. A popular fishing river, below Wauchula it's also popular with fossil hunters.

We divided the paddling trail into Upper, Middle, and Lower. Go to the links below for more information on each.

Peace River Paddling Trail - Upper

Bartow to Fort Meade

SR 60 Bridge

Bartow, FL
Parking, no facilities. Long drag from parking to launch; impassable at low water.

Heritage Peace River Landing

CR 640, Homeland, FL
Easy on and off ramp.
Parking only, no facilities.

Fort Meade Recreation Area

US 98, Ft. Meade, FL
Parking, picnic, fishing, no facilities.
Ramp is easy on an off.

Peace River Paddling Trail - Middle

Bowling Green to Zolfo Springs

Payne's Creek Historic State Park

Bowling Green, FL
A gate code is needed to access the road to the kayak/canoe landing. A visitor center in the park has historic displays, restrooms, water.

Crews Park Launch

Wauchula, FL
Parking, restrooms, water. The park also has a playground and picnic tables.

Pioneer Park

Zolfo Springs, FL
Boat ramp. The park has a campground, parking, restrooms, picnic facilities, play area and walking trails.

Gardner Boat Ramp

Gardner, FL
Parking only, no facilities. Wide sandy beach in this area for picnicking, camping.

Brownville Park

Brownville, FL
Boat launch at Brownville Park. Parking, restrooms, a nature trail, and camping.

DeSoto County Park

Arcadia, FL
Parking, restrooms, water, walking/jogging trail, fishing, and picnic tables.

More Information and Resources

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