FLORIDA'S FIRST WILD AND SCENIC RIVER!
The headwaters of the Loxahatchee River have
remained virtually unchanged throughout the years and offer a unique glimpse in time of what
a natural South Florida river may have looked like before the effects of modern man,
and the development of many natural resources. The name "Loxahatchee River"
in the Seminole language means "turtle river". As you paddle the upper portion of the
river you will see many turtles sunning themselves on logs, alongside many other species
of our native wildlife.
Due to its inherent beauty, historical
events, and the foresight of select individuals; the Loxahatchee River earned the
title of being Florida's first federally designated "Wild and Scenic" river
on May 17, 1985. Approximately half of the river (~8.5 miles) is designated as "Wild
and Scenic". This is the upper portion of the northwest fork which flows through
Jonathan Dickinson State Park; stretching from Riverbend Park (1) all the way to
the Boy Scout Camp (2):
Paddling Guide to
River (PDF 462 kb)
On May 17, 2010, the
Loxahatchee River celebrated its 25th anniversary of being a federally protected "Wild
and Scenic" Florida river. The Loxahatchee River offers paddling
enthusiasts many miles of canoe runs that vary from narrow cypress tree-lined fresh
water creeks, to brackish water estuaries, that eventually turn into mangrove-lined salt
Aside from the beautiful "Wild and Scenic" river, our southeast Florida location offers
paddling enthusiasts miles of beaches, rivers, lakes, lagoons, and waterways to explore.
Many of our waterways have excellent public access from roadside launches, boat ramps,
recreation areas, and within several county and state
Paddling Options for the "Wild and Scenic" Portion of the Loxahatchee
Whether you're new to the sport of canoeing or
kayaking, an intermediate or expert; you will love the diverse ecosystems
that coexist in the Loxahatchee River area. There are many options for the
day paddler -- which vary from about two to six-hour trips. Of course, times vary based
on water level, current, winds and tide.
If you have your own canoe or kayak, you can
launch for free at Riverbend Park; or for a small fee you can launch
from Jonathan Dickinson State Park. Canoe (and
kayak) rentals are available at both locations for self-guided tours of various parts of the
The two park locations are as
Riverbend Park - Indiantown Road (SR
706) 1.5 miles west of the Florida Turnpike; entrance on the south side of Indiantown
Jonathan Dickinson State
Park - Take Indiantown Road (SR 706) east to
US-1, north to park entrance; on the west-side of US-1. (8 miles)
Other locations may offer access to the river, but we
are only covering the actual park locations that pertain to the "Wild and Scenic" Loxahatchee River
Canoe Trail in this section.
All Photos Copyright © 2008
Masten Dam - a popular lunch spot for paddlers. The photos above show the
drastic change in water levels during our "dry season" and our "wet/rainy season". During the
"wet season", you can paddle over this dam and experience a little "white water" action. In
the dry season, you should portage your watercraft over the wooden ramp, unless you plan on
|Paddle the Loxahatchee River (Riverbend Park):
paddling the Loxahatchee River from Riverbend Park, there is always a slight current taking you
down the river towards the two dams. This current helps push you along, but remember that
for every hour you paddle downstream, it will take you approximately one hour and fifteen minutes
to return. Once you pass the second dam, you will begin to feel the slight affects of the
tidal waters of the Loxahatchee. The further you paddle towards Jonathan Dickinson State Park,
the more you will feel the affects of the tide. This is usually not a problem, but it's
always a nice bonus if the tide is outgoing, which will help carry you along your way to the boat
ramp at JD Park.
River Miles - Photo Map: Jupiter Inlet District
Boaters Guide to the
Jupiter Inlet and
Jupiter Inlet District
Aerial Map - Boyscount Camp Dock to Trapper
Photo: Google Earth©
Kitching Creek: For
paddlers, Kitching Creek is easily accessible from the Jonathan Dickinson State Parks canoe and
kayak concession area. You can bring your own boat, or rent one onsite.
Kitching Creek is not far from Trapper Nelsons; another great destination for
paddlers on the "Wild and Scenic" Loxahatchee.
Read about Trapper Nelson on the Town of Jupiter's history site;
He was known as the Wild Man of the Loxahatchee River!
Also read about Trapper Nelson on
Be sure to check out other
attractions in Jupiter, FL
Loxahatchee River - Living Waters Video:
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Excerpt from the "The Post" on the Loxahatchee River:
The Loxahatchee, Florida's first federally designated National Wild and Scenic
River, winds its way through Jonathan Dickinson State Park, passing under a canopy of centuries-old cypress trees.
The river has a timeless beauty all its own, featuring ecological and recreational values that are unique in the
United States. Along the river and within the park is coastal sand pine scrub, a biological community so rare it is
designated "globally imperiled." Other habitat types found within the watershed include pinelands, hardwood
hammock, freshwater marsh, wet prairie, cypress swamps, mangrove swamps, seagrass beds, tidal flats, oyster beds,
xeric oak scrub and coastal dunes. These habitats support diverse biological communities including many endangered
and threatened species such as the manatee and the four-petal pawpaw, a tree found only in Martin and Palm Beach
counties. (Source: DEP)
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