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by white sandbars. The river is narrow, twisting and fastmoving in the upper stretches then becomes wider and slower as it nears Perdido Bay. The popular four-mile segment from Fillingim Landing to The Pipes Landing offers a short day trip with scenic beauty, little development and is perfect for beginners. From the Pipes Landing to Sand Landing, the river becomes wider and much slower, with fewer sandbars. Several of the original private access points along the river are no longer available or they do not allow parking, such as the Barrineau Park Bridge. Water levels are best between two-tosix feet. Above seven feet some of the dirt roads leading to river access are impassable and the river is dangerous as it nears flood stage of 13 feet. Try your luck fishing on the Perdido River which can be very productive, especially during the warm weather months. Largemouth bass, chain pickerel, bluegill and longear sunfish are eager to strike many types of baits and lures.

Blackwater River This winding stream is suitable for beginners and flows through the unspoiled Blackwater River State Forest, with trees often forming a dense, shady canopy over the river. High bluffs occur in some sections where pine and cedar trees tower above paddlers. The water is coffee colored by naturally occurring tannins, the reason why Creek Indians called the river “Oka Lusa” (“black water”). White sandbars provide plenty of options for camping or picnicking. The lower portion of this popular 31-mile paddling

trail can become congested with people floating in tubes near the state park, especially on summer weekends and holidays. Plan a trip for weekdays or during Florida’s pleasant winter months to avoid crowds. Paddlers should check stream flow data and weather conditions before embarking on a trip. The Blackwater River can rise very quickly and make paddling difficult and conditions dangerous. Many of the access sites are remote with unsafe overnight parking; consider parking and shuttle with a local outfitter listed below. The river is not navigable below the Deaton Bridge in Blackwater River State Park; be sure to exit here. Glass containers are prohibited on the river. Note: If the Blackwater River gauge near Baker is more than six feet in height, contact area outfitters or Blackwater River State Park for current river conditions before paddling as the river may be flooded.

Coldwater Creek Flowing through the Blackwater River State Forest, Coldwater Creek has some of the swiftest water in Florida. The sandy bottom and broad sandbars will remind you of nearby Gulf Coast beaches. A brisk downstream current helps carry you past pristine pine and hardwood forests. The Paddling Experience This 19-mile paddling trail is easy enough for beginners and several access sites allow paddlers to choose trips of varying distance. Because it is springfed, the shallow water is always pleasantly cool and makes for

stream from shorelines. Call a local outfitter listed below to check on water levels and paddling conditions.

Juniper Creek Paddle this historic stream beginning at Red Rock Bridge, believed to be the location where Andrew Jackson and his forces crossed the river during the First Seminole War. Juniper Creek has gentle curves, some small bluffs, and shallow, gold-tinted waters. Look for the white blossoms of mountain laurel lining the shore during spring. The Paddling Experience This is an easy 6-mile trip, suitable for

Yellow River Located in the western Panhandle, the upper Yellow River drains the state’s highest elevation. As a result, the current is faster than most north Florida rivers. The upper Yellow River takes paddlers along limestone banks that give way to sand and gravel banks downstream. Hardwood forests frame the shallow, golden water. Farther downstream, the river deepens and slows as it passes through cypress and gum swamps. The river is joined by the Shoal River, another designated paddling trail, near Crestview. Fishing is excellent and wildlife abundant as the river winds through miles of public conservation lands.

a perfect paddle for all ages. Flowing for nearly 20 miles through undeveloped land, it is very narrow in spots with a steep gradient. Depending on water levels, sandbars are suitable for camping. Obstructions could include cypress knees, logs and wide gravel bars that extend into the

beginners. Paddle from Red Rock Road Bridge to Indian Ford Road. Be sure to exit at Indian Ford Road as the river is not navigable further downstream.

Pensacola Magazine


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Pensacola Magazine, August 2019  

Pensacola Magazine, August 2019