The Upper Chipola River at Christoff Landing was recently designated as the state’s 51st paddling trail by the Office of Greenways & Trails. The 4.5 mile picturesque paddle will guarantee to view wildlife along the winding water to Florida Caverns State Park.
Jackson County is bursting with abundant natural beauty jam-packed with miles of spring-fed rivers, lakes and ponds. The tree-lined landscape transforms the spring-fed water ways in to picturesque canopy style paddling trails. Several meandering rivers and lakes are spring-fed including Merritt’s Mill Pond, Spring Creek, and Chipola River.
Canoe and kayak and paddle board enthusiasts love to explore some of Florida’s most beautiful paddling trails in Jackson County. Paddle the Chipola River and stop along the banks to view wildlife, explore caves by Hinson Recreational Area, discover the natural bridge where Andrew Jackson crossed at Caverns State Park, and camp down the river at Palm Island.
Jackson County is also home to crystal clear spring fed 202 acre Merritt’s Mill Pond, Ocheesee Pond, Dry Creek, Lake Seminole, Compass Lake, Round Lake, Upper Chipola River to paddle and explore.
Chipola River Paddling Trail, 5 launch sites along the meandering river
Christoff Landing– Florida’s 51st designated paddling trail, this scenic portion of the Chipola River is a site on the Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail and begins at Christoff Landing. Home to abundant wildlife and excellent fishing, the river meanders about 4.5 miles through shady floodplain forests, past crystal-clear springs, and ends at the boat ramp within Florida Caverns State Park. It may also be possible (depending on water levels and downed trees), to paddle upstream to the historic Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail, the scene of colorful ghost legends.
Florida Caverns State Park, rent canoes or bring your own to paddle upstream to Christoff Landing. The river is not navigable to Yancey due to Chipola River natural bridge.
Yancey Bridge launch– 3117 Caverns Road, (SR 166), across the street Citizens Lodge. Paddle 4.5 miles to Hinson Conservation Area.
Hinson Conservation and Recreational Area – 4.5 miles from Yancey on Chipola River, stop and explore the Ovens caves, a unique cave along the Chipola shores. Paddle 6 miles to Magnolia Road launch.
Magnolia/Bear Paw – Magnolia Road, SR 280.
Ocheesee Pond – Ocheesee Pond is a 2,225 acre brackish body of water that is excellent for fishing or paddling. 90% of the pond is covered by cypress trees. A county maintained boat ramp can be found on Arkansas Road off of Shady Grove Road in Grand Ridge. View the Ocheesee Pond Paddling Trail Map here.