Route is Subject to Change based on Permits obtained and Water Levels. The below route is one that we are working to secure. If altered, we will update you immediately. Please note that if a shuttle becomes necessary for our route, prices may increase slightly.
The night before our launch, we will meet at Traders Hill Campground in Folkston GA and camp among huge and beautiful Live Oak Trees. We will prep for the next morning's early morning paddle and get to know each other. Included this night is a gear shake down and packing techniques support for those that opt in.
WEDNESDAY, DAY 1 : Suwannee Canal to Round Top - total paddling distance 12 miles
We will begin our paddle Wednesday morning, launching from The Suwannee Canal entrance. Heading North West, we navigate for the first several miles through an open canal. This will provide optimal viewing opportunities for seeing Alligators as they enjoy sunbathing on the banks in tall grass. The canal is wide enough here to comfortably get acclimated to your boat and paddle techniques easily with enough distance from the banks. An ideal introduction to navigating through the Swamp!
The canal offers areas of tall hollowed trees perfect for bird watching (might even spot an owl) as well as portions of thick tree tunnels blanketed in Spanish Moss. A variance of beauty all within the first several miles! After leaving the openness of the Suwannee Canal, the path narrows inland into Chase Prairie where you will paddle through an overgrowth of lily pads and open skies - creating a peaceful paddle for miles. January annually brings the migration of Sandhill Cranes so be on the lookout!
By the time you're ready to get up and stretch, we will have reached camp at the two most open of platforms in the swamp - Round Top. Upon arriving we will pitch our tents directly on the platform as we watch the sun set from a 360 degree view of the Lake. Then settle in for one incredibly peaceful night under the stars, weather permitting of course! Bring your fishin' poles, cause here at this site the fishing is said to be superb!
PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THERE IS ONLY ONE OPPORTUNITY TO PULL OVER AND GET OUT OF YOUR BOAT FOR BATHROOM USE ON THE FIRST AND LAST DAYS - our longest paddling days. No big deal, but you will NEED to bring a portable urination dispenser of your choosing if you feel you are unable wait. This can be easily emptied at night on the platform as there are outhouses for our use.
Approximate paddling time should be 6-8 hours, depending on our speed as a group. This will be our earliest starting time, as it will take us some time to load up our boats and settle in to our group's speed. Final starting time will be decided when our Permits are secured.
THURSDAY, DAY 2 : Round Top to Canal Run - total paddling distance 6 miles
Today we briefly head a bit deeper into the center of the Okefenokee Swamp. Continuing to paddle North West, we exit the Prairie's lily pads and peaceful openness to go back into the thickets of the stillest black mirrored tanner waters and thick blankets of Spanish Moss tunnels. You will begin seeing more diversity of cypress trees mixed with some of the tallest thick burms of barren trees - home to countless birds.
This portion is a very unique section of paddling as it narrows and thins for short intervals, always opening into breathtaking scenery.
Exiting the forest that this trail passes through you will see reminiscence of an old trail system no longer passable and closed to the public. From here, you continue South taking a sharp turn right into camp - Canal Run.
Canal Run is a uniquely exciting platform to call home for the night, as it is attached to a small amount of land in which you can stretch those legs in a different way than you have in two full days! We will have a fire this night, regardless of weather as it is one of the only platforms where fires are allowed. This platform is tucked at the merging of two trails systems immediately off the Yellow Trail which is the only trail that directly cuts through to the West Side of the Swamp. Gator activity is prevalent here as this platform is nestled about more land for them to rest on.
This will be our most relaxed day, as the route is easy to navigate and our shortest millage. There will be plenty of time for side exploration, as you choose. We advise you partner up and routes must be discussed with Ariane prior to.
Approximate paddling time should be 4-6 hours, depending on our speed as a group. Our paddling time will be more leisurely and relaxed, due to the route's attributes.
FRIDAY, DAY 3: Canal Run to Suwannee Canal - total paddling distance 10 miles
Prepare yourself for another day of wildlife sightings, as our route back follows the same route in. This will be the most challenging paddling day, as we are going against a slight current and wind tunnel the last few miles of our paddle. Though trust us, it's not all that bad!
Due to the trail's width and openness, you will likely get the honor of seeing gators basking in the sun on fallen logs, tall grasses...or even swimming discreetly among us! We'll head South East for the last 10 mile journey back to our car, enjoying the mirrored reflections the swamp's iconic blackened waters provide.
Approximate paddling time should be 6-7 hours depending on the speed of the group. Winds may be a factor on timing the last few miles, but nothing we can't handle!
For those who would like to participate, we will set up in a very quite place along the swamp and record our Trust The Trail Podcast with you as our guests.
You will have the option to camp one last night at back at Traders Hill where a historically Potluck Style EPIC FEAST of tasty foods are grilled and devoured we celebrate being back on firm land and share our experiences of The Okefenokee Swamp as a group! Option to leave and drive back home is totally okay too! Price of campsite NOT included in pricing this night.
Kayak or Canoe, PDF, Paddles are included in this trip.
GEAR - this is much like backpacking, but rather than carrying it on your back...instead you have to put everything in a small boat. Gear should be stored in dry sacks. You will be exposed to the elements the majority of the trip - please plan accordingly!
GEAR: tent or hammock (tent stakes not necessary) and groundcloth / sleeping bag / sleeping pad / cooking set, fuel and lighter / rope to hang food / 5-7ft durable rope to tie your boat to dock / headlamp / suitable dry bags – at least three bags per person (for your sleeping bag, clothing, food) - you do not need a backpack as all your gear will be in dry sacks in a boat / portable urination dispenser or empty bottle necessary for use as needed / first aid kit including bug spray, anti itch, benedryl, sting relief, sun protection and toilet paper recommended / small lightweight camping chair or cushion if desired
CLOTHING: one set of warm dry clothes to sleep in / one short sleeve shirt and one long sleeve shirt to wear while paddling / comfortable pants to wear while paddling (the inside of your kayak may become very wet, as no skirting is offered)/ rain jacket required, rain pants optional / down jacket or warm jacket (you will be exposed on the platforms at night, expect chilly nights)/ water shoes, sandles or comfortable lightweight shoes to wear while paddling / camp shoes or booties to change into at night / underwear / socks as needed / hat and sunglasses to paddle in - warm beanie as preferred to change into at night / lightweight gloves as preferred at night / HIGHLY SUGGESTED lightweight gloves to paddle in (we prefer to use bike gloves as they offer full access to your fingers, while still protecting your palms for long paddling days)
PLEASE MAKE CERTAIN YOUR SLEEPING BAG, PAD AND CLOTHING ARE IN DRY SACKS TO KEEP FROM GETTING WET AND INEFFECTIVE IN KEEPING YOU WARM. Doubling up 2 garbage bags would work, if you do not have dry sacks.
FOOD and WATER: 2 BREAKFASTS while on the platforms / 3 days of LUNCHES AND SNACKS on the water while in boat – keep lunches and snacks accessible for easy access / 2 DINNERS while on the platforms / 1 ADDITIONAL BREAKFAST and 2 ADDITIONAL DINNERS to be consumed while at Traders Hill Campground before and after trip
IMPORTANT - YOU MUST BRING 1 GALLON OF WATER PER PERSON PER DAY. THE SWAMP HAS NO POTTABLE WATER AND FILTERING SWAMP WATER ISN'T GOING TO BE AN OPTION. ALL WATER MUST BE PACKED IN WITH YOU!
PLEASE MAKE NOTE THAT YOU ARE EXPOSED THE MAJORITY OF THE TIME (BOTH WHILE ON THE WATER AND AGAIN AT NIGHT ON THE PLATFORMS), SO PLEASE PLAN YOUR CLOTHING AND GEAR ACCORDINGLY. WE WILL STILL KAYAK EVEN IF RAINING OR HIGH WINDS! South Georgia temps this time of year will likely range at around lows in the 30's to highs in the 60's. THIS WILL VARY AND BE FURTHER DISCUSSED CLOSER TO TRIP DATE.
TOWARDS THE END OF JANUARY UNIQUELY BRINGS THE SANDHILL MIGRATION TO THE SWAMP! If we are so lucky, we will witness the immense sounds of these birds interrupting the silence of the swamp as they pass overhead. Alligators are often a bit more inactive overall, though due to our route's attributes we are passing through the most primary viewing canals for our chance to get "up close and personal" with the Swamp's iconic predators! Be certain to pack those cameras, as you won't want to miss an opportunity to boast about all the wildlife your encounter! Additional wildlife abundant to the area are river otters, water turkey, great blue heron, great egret, barred owl and a multitude of frogs, just to name a few. Chances are you'll experience just about every one of these this time of year!
IMPORTANT: THE SWAMP HAS NO POTTALBE WATER AND FILTERING SWAMP WATER ISN'T GOING TO WORK. YOU MUST BRING ONE GALLON OF DRINKING WATER PER PERSON PER DAY. NO EXCEPTIONS.
We will hang our food, just as we do in the Wilderness, as raccoon and other wildlife do inhabit the swamp.
We will be on the water prior to 9am and off the water BEFORE dusk. This time of year our daylight is limited, so depending on our Permits and Route, we may have earlier starting times than indicated here. Our permit requires us to be OFF the water before DUSK...we will be respecting this, therefore you also are expected to. But seriously, trust us...you wouldn't want to be out there during feeding time anyways... !
Early Wednesday morning, we will pick up and pack our boats at Suwannee Canal. Please be respectful of the expected time frames and plan accordingly.
PRICE IS $360 PER PERSON w/KAYAK RENTAL
*PRICE IS $285 PER PERSON WITHOUT KAYAK RENTAL *must be able to carry enough gear for 3 days.
- Campground Tent site Fees for one night
- Okefenokee Swamp ALL Permit & Parking Fees
- Kayak or Canoe Rental Fees, Paddle and PFD (Personal Flotation Device)
- Overnight Platform Camping for 2 nights in Remote areas of The Okefenokee Swamp
- One Dinner Included
- Experienced WFR Guided Service (Wilderness First Responder)
- Trip Itinerary PFD's and Gear Lists
- 4 years of Guided experience in the Okefenokee Swamp
- Ecological Diversity and Wildlife Observation