Everglades Exploration Network

Hello All, 

We are two newbies headed to the Everglades next week. Wanted to know if anyone had a 2 night, 3 day recommendation either leaving from Flamingo or Everglades City areas. We will be renting canoes and are intermediate paddlers with expert backcountry experience. 

Thanks in advance for your recommendations! 

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Lauren, perform a search on the Forum page for Flamingo trips at
Hells Bay, Pearl Bay Lane Bay or Roberts River.
Three nighter in Whitewater Bay/ Hell's Bay?
For E City launches search for Crooked Creek.

Two nights is really quick. Can you load the canoe on your car and launch at Hells Trail? That canal out of Flamingo is long. If not think about Everglades City launches. Get your permit and Canoe at 8 am or you will loose a lot of time. Bring aerial photo maps with lat long points printed. Waterproof charts are good. Use Hells Bay trail not white water bay, like I did in Dec.

Hell's bay trail to Lane bay chickee about 7miles. Lane Bay to Pearl Bay about 3 miles. Pearl Bay back to the start about 4 miles. Second day would be short, so lots of time to wonder around and explore. All chickees and mangroves and bays. Could modify by putting in at Coot Bay pond, but would need 2 cars or hide a bicycle at one entrance.

Everglades City to  Picnic/Tiger/Jewel or Rabbit key about 4-7miles depending on which one you choose. Second day at Pavilion Key. Back to E.C. All Gulf and beach camping. could do second night at Lopez River or Crooked Creek, finish with Hurdles creek and Turner River. That would give you the beach and inside in one trip.

Whistle, Charts and compass are required. GPS is nice but not required. Signaling gear is also nice to bring along.

Thanks Bill and Jeremy! This is really helpful - I know it's short but I'm sneaking away from a family vacation for a side adventure. We have the nautical maps, the GPS, and whistle packed, and I'll look into the aerials from google earth. We do have the option to load the canoe on the car to do an alternative launch. I'll look into both sets of suggestions.

Thank you again for taking the time to respond!

Another option out of Flamingo is West Lake to Alligator Creek ground site ( no fires) and Shark Point chickee then to Flamingo. Good saltwater fishing and birds, and salt crocodiles on that route. On my December trip I hitched a ride from Hells Trail to Coot Bay. Within 10 minutes someone stopped and gave me a lift.
One of my favorite trips for newbies is to launch at Outdoor Resorts on Chokoloskee Island and head up the Turner and along the back bays to either crooked creek or Lopez campsite. The next day go to Rabbit or Jewel Key via the Lopez River. Obviously, you can launch from the ranger station in everglades city if more experienced. The tides are key here and you would want a morning incoming tide on day one and wait for outflow on day 2. This trip gives you a quick view of both backcountry and island camping while experiencing the force of the tidal rivers,

Thanks Vivian! I think based on the above suggestions the lopez river/crooked creek to a key is an ideal trip for me. Do you know how long it takes from crooked creek to pavillion key via the Huston River? Is this doable in one long day?

Thanks again! 

Lauren, it depends on wind and tides plus your experience as paddlers. I would try to get Crooked Creek if planning to head to the Huston instead of Lopez. On average, figure about 3 mph with loaded boats and some wind against you. Make sure you have an outgoing tide when heading down the Huston on your way to Pavillion. Check the tides for Chatam River they are same as  Huston. There will be a delay of a couple of hours further up river.

I agree with Vivian on the tides. I would rather tuck up in the mangrove for a while resting, than paddle against the incoming tide on Lopez River. Usually you can paddle against an outgoing tide without too much trouble, but if combined with the wind it gets tough. The tides are tricky. Definitely get a tide chart, but also observe at the tides while you are there. Be careful at the mouth of the Chatam and Huston rivers, when the tides change it can get rough. Good luck. JRC

Thanks all. Will double check before we commit to anything. Appreciate all the advice! 

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I did the EC - Crooked Creek - Via the Huston River - Pavilion - Back to EC three day.  If you have morning outgoing tides you can get from Crooked Creek - Pavilion with enough time to set up and explore a bit.  We had a noon high tide and ended up pulling off when joining the Huston waiting for it to turn, then 15-20kts on the nose to get to Pavilion after exiting the Huston.  Pulled in right at dark.

If you have the winds and tides, it can be a nice trip.

Last weekend we did two nights at Rabbit.  On the lay day, we took a loop from Rabbit to the Rabbit Key Grasses - up a little creek north to a lake and eventually joined the Lopez and looped back to Rabbit.  It was a nice trip for Valentines Day weekend.

Hi Jay, Glad to hear about your two trips. We are waiting to commit to a destination our second night  because of the winds so it may make sense for us to do something other than pavillion. Sounds like the inlet out of Huston can get messy when windy, and we were planning on taking a canoe so I don't want to push it. I'll be monitoring the winds and tides and will report back post trip! 

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