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Florida Trail Guide
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Blackwater River Canoe Trail
The Blackwater River Canoe Trail is officially designated as part of Florida’s Statewide System of Greenways and Trails. Located in the middle of Florida’s Western Highlands, this 31-mile canoe trail flows through the Blackwater River State Forest. Cedar, maple, and cypress trees often form a dense canopy over the river. There are also some high bluffs where pine and cedar trees tower above the paddler. The water is a dark, tannin-stained color. The Creek Indians called the river “Oka Lusa” (water-black). Along the bends, white sandbars provide a perfect place for camping or picnicking. The trail provides opportunity to observe wildlife including deer, turkey and bobcat. The Mississippi Kite soars overhead in the summer. Fishing can be an enjoyable addition to the trip. This panhandle trail ends at the Deaton Bridge, in Blackwater River State Park.

Major Activities: Paddling
Counties: Okaloosa, Santa Rosa
Mileage: 31
Skill Level: Beginner to intermediate
Difficulty: Easy
Usual Current: Average (2-3 mph)

Notes and Precautions
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.


Kennedy Bridge – Take Hwy 90 from Crestview to SR 4. Take SR 4 north to State Forest Road (SFR) 47, the first paved road past Cotton Bridge. Turn right on SFR 47 and head north to the next paved road, SFR 31. Follow SFR 31 about 2 miles north to SFR 24, the dirt road at Hurricane Lake sign. Follow SFR 24 to the bridge.
Peadon Bridge – Same as above to SFR 47. About 2.5 miles north of SFR 47, turn east on first dirt road on right (SFR 50) and continue to bridge. (6 miles)
Cotton Bridge, SR 4 – Four miles northwest of Baker. (5 miles)
Bryant Bridge, SFR 21 – From US 90 at Harold, take SFR 23 north five miles through the Blackwater River State Park to four way stop at SFR 86. Turn right (east) and continue to SFR 21, which leads southeast to bridge. (12 miles)
Blackwater River State Park – From US 90 at Harold, take SFR 23 north three miles to Deaton Bridge within the Park. (8 miles)

There may be access points (both public and private) in addition to those listed here. Please remember that some sites require a fee for launching and /or parking.