Green Wave Forum

Pithlachascotee River Report
(Sims Park)

View: More Pithlachascotee River reports, Southwest FL Locations 

Report By:  ed    Date: 2/7/2009 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 13 photos     Map & Directions: View

With a sunny day and an invitation to go paddling on the Cotee River with the Tampa Bay Sea Kayakers, I loaded up the car and headed toward the put-in at Sims Park. Our goal - an easy winter paddling trip to James E. Grey Preserve.

My Report:

Saturday morning started out sunny but chilly (hey, it's chilly for Florida). After loading up the boat and car, I headed toward the put-in at Sims Park in New Port Richey. The drive was a short 13 minutes.

Upon arrival, the parking lot was starting to fill with paddlers - some from the Tampa Bay Sea Kayakers and a much larger group from Florida Outdoor Camping and Kayak meetup group. A bit of initial confusion of who was with which group but we eventually got it sorted out. Hank Brooks went over trip planning and the TBSK group quickly launched and headed upstream.

Our destination was Rowan Bridge with a stop at James E. Grey Preserve. The total trip distance up and back is only 7 miles so it was a short trip. From Sims park the first two miles are entirely urban, with homes and businesses on both sides of the river. Eventually these give way to a marsh and upland setting.

As you probably noticed, I gave the trip a "Fair" rating. This is due to the amount of trash on the river. Everyone in our group fished out a few bottles, cans, sacks and other assorted items. The most unique prize for the day was one stuffed and very waterlogged Santa Claus.

We stopped for about 30 minutes at the Grey Preserve. The park features a nice covered picnic pavilion, a few benches, hiking trails and boardwalk. Into the boats again and upstream we went.

As we neared the bridge a large downed tree completely crossed the river. The plastic boats were able to ram their way through but one of our paddlers had a Folboat (skin on frame) and he didn't want to accidentally puncture his craft. The Folboater (Brian) and I headed back downstream while the rest of the group continued to Rowan Bridge.

We ran into the Florida Outdoors meetup group once again - this time at the Preserve. They had probably 30 paddlers in the group and looked to be enjoying the day.

After 20 minutes or so the rest of the TBSK group returned and we headed downstream. The return trip was uneventful until the final seconds when Al decided to roll his kayak at the Sims boat ramp. He tried twice to get up and didn't quite make it and got to go swimming. Fortunately he was within 50 feet of the boat ramp so it wasn't a big deal.

Some of the birds we spotted during the trip: Tri-colored heron, yellow crested night heron, ibis, eagle (some sort), great blue heron.

Thus ends another nice day on the water. If you are in the Tampa Bay area and haven't paddled the Pithlachascotee River, come up and give it a try. Don't expect pristine surrounding and do bring a large trash sack for collecting garbage. Everyone can help save this river, even if it is only a little.

Get Map & Directions for this trip

Location Data:

Difficulty: Easy
Location Type: River
Boat Type: Kayak
Distance (miles): 7
Fees/Costs $: Free

Photos from Sims Park:    (Click image to view full size)

Trip Planning Restricted
Trip Planning

At Sims Park. Hank Brooks goes over trip planning and contingencies before we launch.

Sims Park Launch Restricted
Sims Park Launch

Getting on the water at Sims Park in New Port Richey.

Urban River Restricted
Urban River

The Pithlachascotee River is an urban river with homes and businesses for the last 5 miles to the gulf.

Landing at Grey Park Restricted
Landing at Grey Park

Avoiding the slippery mud at James Grey Preserve.

Snack Time Restricted
Snack Time

Now that's sea kayak style... Having a snack at James E. Grey Preserve.

Saddle Up Restricted
Saddle Up

Getting ready to go upstream to Rowan Bridge on the Cotee River.

Cotee Upstream Restricted
Cotee Upstream

Heading toward to Rowan Bridge.

Florida Outdoor Camp Restricted
Florida Outdoor Camp

On our way back downstream, meeting with the Florida Outdoor Camping and Kayak meetup group.

TBSK Paddlers Restricted
TBSK Paddlers

A few members of the TBSK group near James Grey Preserve.

Cotee Palm Trees Restricted
Cotee Palm Trees

Palm trees, blue skies and warm winter temperatures. Perfect for paddling!

Cotee Upper River Restricted
Cotee Upper River

Section of river about 1/2 mile downstream from Grey Preserve. Very different from the urban river that awaits in one more mile.

Paddling Home Restricted
Paddling Home

Heading downstream on the Cotee.

Al goes swimming Restricted
Al goes swimming

One of the members of TBSK attempting a roll at the take out. Oops... missed and got an opportunity to swim. He did successfully roll earlier in the day.

Special Interests and Comments:

Special InterestsEveryone with the Florida Outdoors Kayak and Camping Meetup group was friendly and eager to talk about boats, paddling, camping, etc. Check out their group at

Post Date: 2/8/2009

Go to ed's Trip JournalMore Trips and Comments on Pithlachascotee River
More Southwest 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.