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The Blackwater River Canoe Trail near Pensacola

Families in Canoes
Families in Canoes
Public Domain, US Fish & Wildlife Service

The State of Florida unveiled the Canoe Trail System in the 1970's, which is made up of beautiful primitive rivers and creeks throughout the State. The public can use these scenic waterways for canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, wildlife viewing, and related recreational activities. The waterways were selected for their quiet, pristine beauty, mostly untouched by civilization.

The tea-colored waters of the Blackwater River Canoe Trail offer the canoeist or kayaker an adventurous and scenic experience. The contrast of the dark waters to the pure white sand bars found around every bend gives a good indication why this river is called the Blackwater.

Flowing 40 miles through the heart of Florida's western highlands, this river possesses some of the finest natural beauty to be found anywhere in the Florida Panhandle. The trail begins at State Road 180, two miles south of the Alabama-Florida State line, and ends at the Blackwater River State Park near Harold.

The trail flows through the Blackwater River State Forest and supports a dense canopy of white cedars, red maple, and cypress the entire length. Where high bluffs occur, majestic hardwoods and pines can be seen towering above.

For the canoeist or kayaker wishing to set up camp, to picnic, fish or explore, the fast, flowing stream is endowed with many beautiful white sand bars, which are islands of retreat.

Wildlife can be seen all along the way and fishing is good at almost any point along the trail. Pilings of old logging bridges that once spanned the river present a hazard in some areas, but they do offer the canoeist or kayaker a challenge.

The total trip makes a good two-day unhurried excursion from start to finish. Portages are few and very short, but during extremely dry weather periods, more should be expected.

Sources:
http://www.nwfwmd.state.fl.us/lands/recreation/area/blackwater/
http://www.visitflorida.com/