Coldwater Creek: a fun paddle near Milton, FL loaded with sandbars
Gentle current, tea-colored water, limited development, and a sandy bottom combine to make this a pleasant destination.
Coldwater Creek is similar to its Blackwater cousins, the Blackwater River and Juniper Creek. It has clear, tea-colored water, a sandy bottom, plenty of sandbars, nice scenery, and enough current to keep you moving. This is just a relaxing creek. Low water levels, where you have to find a path deep enough for your boat or drag bottom, are common. Having a "painter" line on your boat so you can walk it through shallows comes in handy.
Where we start floating at HWY 4 is in the Blackwater Forest, so there are virtually no signs of civilization until after you pass the Coldwater Recreation Area. You start to notice more "No Trespassing" signs as you go further downstream, but they don't significantly distract from the overall experience.
If you are visiting the Florida Panhandle and want to take a canoe, kayak, or tubing trip, there are two liveries, Adventures Unlimited and Bob's Canoes, which operate on the river, primarily in the warmer months. You can also go on a fun zip line adventure at Adventure's Unlimited that we highly recommend. Adventure's Unlimited also has camping and cabins available.
We particularly like the 9.9 mile trip from Hwy 4 to Springhill Rd, where the creek is often very shallow. Since we have our own boats and like to avoid crowds, we avoid this section on summer weekends. We definitely don't go downstream from Springhill Rd any time during the summer, but once things cool down, it is fine.
Another possible trip that we don't have listed is to put in at Hwy 191 and paddle all the way into Carpenter Park in Milton. We've done this before, but a lot of it is flat water and not overly interesting. We prefer to stay in smaller waterways where motorboats can't go.
River Miles reflect the approximate distances from the previous launch site.
LAUNCH SITE MAP (See next section for clickable directions)
I have several of these Seal Line dry bags, and they have held up well. These also let you squeeze air out.
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LAUNCH SITE DETAILS & DIRECTIONS
Launch: Southwest side of bridge. Short drag down steep, bank.
Parking: 10+ cars near and under bridge. Isolated. Can park about 1/4 mile up access road for better visibility.
Hwy 191 (Munson Hwy)
Launch: South side, across road from Bob's Canoes. Short, easy carry.
Parking: Plenty of roadside parking. This is a busy hwy. Visible.
Facilities: None, but Bob's Canoes across the road.
Notes: Crowded in summer, particularly on weekends.