Green Wave Forum

Blackwater River Report

View: More Blackwater River reports, Northwest FL Locations 

Report By:  paddlesolo    Date: 12/27/2007 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 5 photos     Map & Directions: View

This trip was a seven and a half mile paddle on the Blackwater River above Bryant Bridge. A friend of mine had found a recently constructed boat ramp in the Blackwater Forest below Cotton Bridge. Using this boat ramp created a short, easy paddle.

My Report:

Part of my "Christmas Recovery Effort" included a paddle on December 27 with a small group of my paddling buddies. I held forth for another section of the Blackwater and the group graciously acquiesced. One of the guys in the group had been driving up and down the Blackwater examining put-ins, and discovered a new boat ramp that had only been finished for a year. It is below Cotton Bridge and made for a 7.5 mile paddle instead of the 12 mile paddle from Cotton Bridge.

One concern several in the group had was the river level. The Blackwater River canoe site has this warning:
"The river level fluctuates rapidly following heavy local rains. Check local weather conditions before beginning your trip. The upper part of the river is fairly swift-flowing and requires some paddling experience."
It had recently rained and a few days prior to the paddle the water was up considerable. I have discovered if the rivers go up quickly, they also go down quickly, unless, as a friend pointed out, the bays are flooded and the river can't empty into the bay. When I looked at the water the morning of the paddle, I realized it was very doable, and my friend thought it had gone down 2 or 3 feet.
With written directions in hand, the leader of the shuttle led our group from our meeting place at Bryant Bridge up Nelson Riley Road to a turn on an unnamed road. He and I stopped by the nearby Fish Hatchery and talked to people in the Water Management Agency to see if they knew a name for the road, but they also said it was unnamed. They did mention that the boat landing will be named shortly. We unloaded our boats and gear in foggy weather with a temperature of 50 degrees. By 10:30 we had pushed off from the landing.
Because the river was higher than normal, I was surprised at how broad it was. We could paddle easily downstream and floated over many obstructions that would have to be avoided in shallower water. Also there was about a foot of water over many of the flat sandbars, although the high ones were still available for rest breaks. I wear fleece pants when the weather is cold but only had on my long-sleeved polypropolene underware top, because the life jacket gives some warmth. My hands became cold with just the open finger paddling gloves, so I pulled on a regular pair of acrylic pair of gloves over the paddling gloves. That was the only discomfort I had, and later in the day with the temperatures in the mid-60's I was comfortable. The sun broke through the clouds at 1:00 and the river was filled with sparkling reflections, making it more difficult to see the occasional obstruction.
My trip calculator on the GPS gave me the following information. The paddle was 7.49 miles in length, we spent 2.50 hours paddling, and 1 hour and 5 minutes stopped.
The current ranged from 2.5-3.00 MPH. Good day on the river in spite of the fog and cool temperatures. The reason this paddle is listed as a 5 is because it is completely in the Blackwater Forest, with no development along the river banks. It is a beautiful area with Long-leafed Pines, Cedar, Oak and a few Magnolia trees lining the bank. The Holly trees had bright red berries at this time of year. A good paddle year round.

Get Map & Directions for this trip

Location Data:

Difficulty: Easy
Location Type: River
Boat Type: Canoe
Distance (miles): 7.5
Fees/Costs $: Free

Photos from Blackwater River:    (Click image to view full size)

Boat-ramp Put-in No Comm
Boat-ramp Put-in

This is the new boat ramp below Cotton Bridge on the Blackwater River

Cold Feet? No Comm
Cold Feet?

The only sandbars available were high ones since the water level was up.

About to Reach Land No Comm
About to Reach Land

Kojo is always ready to make land, and will jump in the water and pull the kayak to shore.

Bryant Bridge No Comm
Bryant Bridge

We ended up at the boat ramp at Bryant Bridge.

End of Paddle No Comm
End of Paddle

Getting ready for the trip home

Special Interests and Comments:

Special InterestsBlackwater River State Park, Blackwater River State Forest. Camping at Bear Lake, Krull Lake, Hurricane Lake and Blackwater State Park

Post Date: 2/26/2011

Go to paddlesolo's Trip JournalMore Trips and Comments on Blackwater River
More Northwest FL LocationsView Regions

Notice: Reported conditions may change and there may be errors in this text. Green Wave Forum and author(s) of individual reports shall not be held liable for any omissions and inaccuracies contained herein. Readers are cautioned to supplement reports with other sources of information when planning a trip.