Juniper Creek

Perdido River:  a fun, tea-colored river shared by Alabama and Florida 

A float-friendly current, lots of sandbars, and plenty of wilderness make this a great destination for kayaking.

SKILL LEVEL:  Beginners, families.    

SCENERY:  Wooded and wild.  Be on the lookout for bald eagles.

LOCATION:  Near Pensacola, Florida. 

ONLINE GAUGE:  Yes, check it out here.

The twisting Perdido River forms the shared north-south border of Alabama and Florida, and both states have taken steps to provide recreational access to the river.  The state of Alabama has several overnight shelters set up for use on their side of the river that you can reserve (http://www.alabamacanoetrails.com/perdido), while Florida has improved their launch site access.  

The Perdido River is a blackwater stream similar to the Blackwater River and Coldwater Creek in the Blackwater Forest.  All three waterways have tea-colored waters stained by tannins.  Likewise, they all sport numerous large sandbars and are popular with families.

Adventures on Perdido (http://adventuresperdidoriver.com) offers canoeing, kayaking, and tubing trips for people without their own boats.  They will also shuttle canoers and kayakers or let you launch from their site for a fee.

PERDIDO RIVER TRIP SUGGESTIONS


The Perdido River is beginner-friendly for the whole length that we have detailed as long as the water levels are not high, but logjams are an issue in some sections.  Sandbars for breaks, snacks, or to pitch a tent are common all the way down to Adventures on Perdido.  Our favorite section is from Gravel Landing down to Fillingim Landing.  We avoid the section below Fillingim in the summer months because of canoe livery crowds.  

Small logjams may form almost anywhere on the river after big rains, but the section above Fillingim is particularly prone to them.  In fact, you should expect to portage in this upper section.  There are some long-lived 100-foot plus jams that have been shifting their way downstream.  Dragging over them is not practical, so you will be finding a trail through the woods.  Efforts to keep the river clear are an ongoing battle, but you shouldn't let this keep you away from the water.

This is a great river for an overnight outing or for a day trip.  When you are planning your trip, check out the mileage between launch sites and plan on a leisurely two miles per hour on the river, plus stops.  For any trips above, Fillingim, you might add an hour to your trip time, just to be on the safe side.

See more Perdido River photos.

PERDIDO RIVER TRIP INFORMATION

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

 

LAUNCH SITE MAP  (See next section for clickable directions)

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

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LAUNCH SITE DETAILS & DIRECTIONS

Gravel Landing (AL)
 

Launch: 

Parking:  Isolated.

Facilities:  None.

Notes:  Expect several miles of well-maintained, but very bumpy, slow-traveling, one-lane gravel road.  Shallow water stream crossing on River Rd -- deep when river is up.  This link is for the launch itself, but it might be better to use the map above and find River Rd access to Perdido off CR 112, then follow the signs.

LAUNCH SITE DETAILS & DIRECTIONS

Nelson Ditch (AL)
 

Launch: If the gate to the shelters is open, you can launch from a large sandbar via a 100-foot carry.  Otherwise, there is a short slide into the water with somewhat difficult entry.

Parking:  Limited roadside.  Isolated.

Facilities:  None, except camping shelters.

Notes:  AKA:  Waters Ferry.  Expect several miles of well-maintained, but very bumpy, slow-traveling, one-lane gravel road.  Shallow water stream crossing on River Rd -- deep when river is up.  This link is for the launch itself, but it might be better to use the map above and find River Rd access to Perdido off CR 112, then follow the signs.

Staple Fork Landing (AL)

Launch:  125-foot carry over a nice, large sandbar.

Parking:  Parking for 8 or more cars.  Isolated.

Facilities:  None.

Notes:  Several miles of well-maintained, but very bumpy, slow-traveling, one-lane gravel road.  This link is for the launch itself, but it might be better to use the map above and find River Rd access to Perdido off CR 112, then follow the signs.

Fillingim Landing
 

Launch:  100-foot carry ending with steps down to the water.  There is also a ladder on one side.  Some kayakers aren't fond of this, but it isn't that bad.

Parking:  Large parking area.  Isolated.

Facilities:  Portable toilets.

Notes:  Crowded in the summer.  

The Pipes

Launch:  30-foot walkway to concrete stairs.

Parking:  Room for 10+ vehicles.  Isolated.

Facilities: Portable toilets.  Picnic tables.

 

Notes:   End of Old Bridge Rd, then 0.7 mile rutted dirt road that is fine for 2WD vehicles when dry.  Deep puddles possible when wet.  Small stream crosses road (solid bottom) just before parking lot.

Adventures on Perdido

Launch:  Short, easy carry.

Parking:  Plenty of parking.

Facilities:  Restrooms.  Rental boats and tubes.

Notes:   Fee to launch.   Crowded in summer.  Call for launch info in off season.

Sand Landing

Launch:  50-foot paved ramp.

Parking:  Parking for 10+ vehicles.  Isolated.

Facilities:  Portable toilets.  Picnic tables.

Notes:   1.2-mile, sand / gravel potholed, rutted road off Hwy 90.  Fine for 2WD when dry, but potential issues after heavy rain.

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