Juniper Creek

Chain of Lakes

A unique and beautiful tributary of the Choctawhatchee River provides an  easy, peaceful escape for canoes and kayaks.

SKILL LEVEL:  Beginner.  True flat water kayaking. 

SCENERY:  Nothing but nature.

LOCATION:  Near Ebro, Florida. 

ONLINE GAUGE:  Yes, check it out here.

This Chain of Lakes paddle is a mostly canopied corridor consisting of wetland forest. There are narrow channels connecting each of the lakes in the area.  The channels are very unique and and very beautiful with cypress, native oaks, and that wonderful quiet that you can only experience in a swamp.  Each of the lakes are long and narrow, where you are able to take advantage of tree-shade on a hot day.  Here the powerful current of the Choctawhatchee River is softened by the thick floodplain growth. This little spot truly offers Nature’s incredible beauty. 

 

The lakes protect several very old-growth cypress trees. Their majestic trunks are incredibly  thick, obviously very old, beaten, full of woodpecker holes, and weathered, and sometimes hollow. The once ancient tree tops are long gone from age, but from the old growth, newer vibrant branches stand triumphantly out from the trunk. This alone is worth the trip. Several different types of birds fluttered around the trees in the canopied areas close enough for us to get a good look.  We saw lots of squirrels, signs of wild hogs, and some turtles. Watch out for numerous wasp nests.  This is flat water, peaceful, and quiet. MELLOW! 

TRIP SUGGESTIONS 

While most of our kayaking trips are downstream "going with the flow," this is a short (2 1/2 hour total) out-and-back trip.  This paddle takes you first upstream then downstream (no shuttle). This trip starts at a small private boat launch, with a $3.00 honor-system launch fee. The landing is surrounded by a few fishing camps, and is home to a few very loud geese. Launching and turning right leads you to the chain of lakes. Keep the trees to the right around the first point. When it looks like you are paddling into a thick grove of floodplain trees, a small opening reveals a narrow canopied path to the next “lake.”  

We went through five of these lakes and turned around at the power lines, which are about 1000 feet below Highway 20. The current there began to get a little stronger, and the narrow pathway ahead not so obvious. More lakes are shown above the Highway, but we leave that for another day.  The return trip is downstream, a chance to reflect on the incredible beauty and explore the edges of the little lakes. There are no places to take out, leaving this area pristine for the true nature enthusiast.

This trip might not be a good idea when the Choctawhatchee River is in high water situations. For our trip the Ebro gauge was at 11.35 ft.

Mike Raffield

TRIP INFORMATION

River Miles reflect the approximate distances from the previous launch site. 

LAUNCH SITE MAP  (Click on map for directions)

I like this dry bag because it has shoulder straps and a water bottle pocket.  I've been hauling this a lot lately.

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LAUNCH SITE DETAILS & DIRECTIONS

Little Acre Rd

Launch:  South on Strickland Rd off Hwy 20.  West on Little Acre Rd, follow to the end.  Short ramp. 

Parking:  Parking for 5+.  Isolated.

Facilities:  Picnic tables.

Notes:  Fee to launch.  Watch out for the geese!

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