Dry Creek Report

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Report By:  jlpaddle    Date: 11/6/2011 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 4 photos     Map & Directions: View

This is a remote and peaceful 5 mile paddle on a tributary to the Chipola River. There are challenges getting to deep water at the beginning and depending on the water level there may be some pullovers, most consider this beautiful creek well worth while.

My Report:

People coming from Tallahassee usually meet at the McDonalds at the first Marianna exit 142 (SR 71) and then have the choice of going back to I-10 (see next paragraph) or taking a short trip South (less than 0.1 miles) and turning right on to Magnolia Rd. Magnolia Road becomes Thompson Rd, when it crosses SR 73. Continue to CR 167 and turn left. Turn left on Mystery Springs (see below).

Or take the I-10 exit 136 onto SR 276 (this is the 2nd Marianna exit as one is heading west on I-10), going south, and drive .7 of a mile. Then turn left on CR 167 and travel 4.3 miles.

Turn left on Mystery Springs Road and travel 1.4 miles. When the road ends, turn left down a dirt track to the put-in (on private land but the owner allows public access be respectful). There is only room for two cars to park at most and carry to the water of about 100 feet. The putin track is highly rutted. For short term parking you can use the open field just past the put in.

The turnaround is about 9 Miles - go back to CR 167 turn left, go to SR 278 turn left. Stay on SR 278 until you get to SR 73 (North) turn left. The 73 bridge is a short distance, cross the bridge and turn left (West). There is parking for a large number of cars with room for two boats at a time at the takeout on the left bank of the river.

From the put in you paddle to the left to Black Spring, river rise for Dry Creek, then out into the Spring Lake. This is counterintuitive, because the river is flowing to the right, but leads to trees and very shallow water.

Paddle on Dry Creek Oct 16, 2011 and also Nov. 6th. All three trips I have made on Dry Creek have been great trips. When you paddle to the left at the put in you go under an arch of a Dahoon holly (Ilex cassine), which is full of red berries at this time of year. There is an area right after you paddle past Black Spring that is shallow and you have to walk about thirty feet and then push through some giant bulrushes to get to another area of shallow water. The whole area is about 100 yards and it keeps a lot of people from using the creek. There are lots of snails and they tend to get between the feet and sandals, which makes walking in this area a pain.

After the shallow water area there are a few low spots and you have to pay attention to the sometimes narrow channel, plus limbs and tree stumps. This is what some people would call technical. There are lots of cypress trees along the bank, with exposed roots that make great fish habitat. We saw lots of fish in the very clear water of the creek.

The water was a little lower than three weeks ago, when we first paddled the creek. One tree in the creek went from a scoot over to a pull over. I did a little cutting with a hand saw to make it easer to get through. The water on either side of this tree is about two feet deep and very clear like the rest of the creek.

At the beginning of the trip we saw a number of ibis and continued to chase them down the creek for most of the trip. There were also kingfishers, white heron and ducks. The biggest surprise of the trip was the sight of four adult deer and three fauns crossing the creek about 100 feet away. One doe and her faun stopped and looked at us for a few seconds before moving on and our friend Linda saw another deer further down the creek. We also saw a deer skeleton in the water about a mile from where we saw the other deer. There were a few turtles, but we saw no alligators or snakes.

There was a new tree down a little towards the middle of the trip that I cut a couple of small branches and one vine out of the way, before we could pass under the tree. In higher water this could become a pullover. It's a little over eight inches thick, so it was a little more than I wanted to take on with a hand saw.

The tree we worked on last trip still had enough water over the lower limbs for us to pass over with little problem. The five mile trip seemed to go much faster than the first trip, but the actual time was about the same. Like the last trip we saw no people on the creek and the houses toward the very end of the end of the trip did not have anyone out and about. Not long before you get to the takeout at the SR 73 Bridge and not long after the first house, you start to hear traffic noise from the road. It is so different from the total quiet on the creek that it really makes an impression. On our third trip we saw one man fishing near the houses. He said he was not having any luck.

After we got off the creek we decided to look at another way to get on/off the creek about two or so miles down the road. You drive a short distance from the take out, south on SR 73, until you come to Dry Creek Road and turn left, continue about a mile until the road turns to the right. The creek is on the left a short distance. The 'road' to the water consists of very soft sand after a short distance and there is little room to park. The creek looks very shallow and wide at this point. On the third trip, Buddy from the West Florida club informed us that he had done the lower section from the SR 73 bridge to the Chipola take out at Peacock Bridge. He said there were 10 pullovers, but the water was deep enough to paddle.

Googlemaps Directions
Arrowhead Campsites, 4820 Highway 90, Marianna, FL 32446 30.75469, -85.19413
(850) 482-5583|
1. Start out going west on US-90 W/SR-71 N/SR-10 W 0.01 mi
2. Make a U-turn onto US-90 E/SR-71 S/SR-10 E. 0.6 mi
3. Turn slight right onto SR-71 South is 0.1 miles past Commercial Park Dr
4. Merge onto I-10 W toward Pensacola.
5. Take the SR-276 exit, EXIT 136, toward Marianna 0.2 mi
6. Keep left to take the SR-276 W ramp toward Panama City 0.09 mi
7. Turn left onto SR-276 W/CR-167 S/Kynesville Rd. 0.7 mi
8. Turn left onto Fairview Rd/CR-167 0.1 miles past Distribution Dr 4.3 mi
9. Turn left onto Mystery Springs Rd. Mystery Springs Rd is 0.3 miles past Riley Dr 2.0 mi
10. MYSTERY SPRINGS RD is on the left. You will see and open field. 1 mi
The put in is on the left, just before you get to the field. This is private property respect it.
The turnaround is 21 minutes / 14.13 miles
1. Start out going west on Mystery Springs Rd 1.0 mi
2. Turn left onto Fairview Rd/CR-167 2.6 mi
3. Turn left onto Laramore Rd/CR-278 5.3 mi
4. Turn left onto CR-73/SR-73 0.3 mi Cross the bridge and pull off to the left for the takeout.

Back to Camp Arrowhead is 16 minutes / 9.21 miles (My trip meter said 7.2 miles)
1. Start out going north on CR-73/SR-73 toward Collins Rd 2.5 mi
2. Turn right onto Magnolia Rd 2.9 mi
3. Turn left onto SR-71 N. 2.5 mi
4. Turn left onto US-90 W/SR-71 N/SR-10 W. 0.5 mi
5. 4820 HIGHWAY 90, Camp Arrowhead.
This section of your road trip is 12 minutes / 8.45 miles

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Location Data:

Distance (miles): 5
Fees/Costs $: 0

Photos from Dry Creek:    (Click image to view full size)

Short walk required No Comm
Short walk required

This the 30 foot drag necessary to get to the rest of Dry Creek

Bullrushes No Comm

The 6 to 8 foot bullrushes are right after the walk through the mud.

Pullover No Comm

In higher water this is not a problem. The right side could be cut for a passage.

Future pullover No Comm
Future pullover

In Nov. 2011 you could limbo under this tree, but as the top breaks it will be a pullover. About 10" diameter.

Special Interests and Comments:

Special InterestsMy writeup of Dry Creek tells about the worst things on the trip, since it is hard to discribe the tree lined gift of nature. If you get past the first few hundred yards the rest is great.

Post Date: 6/27/2012

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