Along the western edge of Wakulla County runs the Ochlockonee River which begins in Georgia 200 miles upstream. This river corridor is home to many threatened species of fish, wildlife and plants, such as the orange azalea, the wood stork and the Atlantic sturgeon. Along the river lives Florida black bear and in the brackish waters live blue crab, sea trout, redfish and largemouth bass. It is the deep yellow and reds of Georgia clay that colors the waters with rich organic matter that then flows downstream and feeds the healthy estuaries, vital to production of our renowned fresh seafood. By day the landings along the river keep busy as boats of all kinds come and go carrying passengers to fish, to ski, or to simply enjoy this very impressive river.
The dark tannin waters of the nearby Sopchoppy River begins its 47 mile journey somewhere deep in the wetlands of the Apalachicola National Forest. The blackwater river passes through protected forests almost its entire length and eventually merges with the larger Ochlockonee. Boats of all types share the lower river, but the river narrows impassibly to motorboats further upstream. Those who push on in kayaks and canoes are richly rewarded with a true wilderness experience on this state designated canoe trail. Small trickling streams seep from the deep earthen banks of the Sopchoppy River as it winds underneath a dense canopy of trees. In the cool quietness of the wilderness, time is magically suspended and you can almost hear the cosmic breathing of the ancient past.
There are many similarities between the Wakulla and St. Marks rivers which both feature an incredible wealth of wildlife – birds of prey, wading birds, alligators, turtles, manatees, otters, mullet, bass and bream. The crystalline waters of the 10 mile long Wakulla River rise from Wakulla Spring, one of the few exclusively spring-fed rivers in this part of Florida. While the St. Marks River originates in cypress swamps 35 miles to the north, once it reappears from its short underground journey at Natural Bridge, it too becomes fed by a first magnitude spring. The fellow rivers converge near their respective ends and flow together into the brackish waters of Apalachee Bay. These related rivers are highly revered by boaters and other outdoor enthusiasts who sometimes travel great distances to enjoy the natural beauty and rich history of these two remarkable waters.
Next door over in Franklin County, between the Ochlockonee and Apalachicola Rivers, course more waterways perfect for paddling and fishing exploration. Near Carrabelle run three pristine rivers that empty into the Gulf of Mexico. The Crooked River runs through Tate’s Hell Swamp State Forest with connecting tidal creeks and tributaries like Pine Log Creek and Roberts Creek.
Plan to meet up with Certified Green Guide, Serge LaTour who can take you on a ‘Blackwater Back Water Adventure’ winding through a variety of lowland habitats including marshes, tidal swamps, hard wood bottomlands and wet savannahs. Many species of wildlife and flora abound in this pristine area including threatened, endangered or species of special concern. Go silently and hands-free on one of Serge’s specially outfitted canoes, perfect for photographers to capture that award-winning shot!
Enjoy the magic of our waters and become personally acquainted with the rivers or offshore Wakulla and Franklin counties. Because There’s nothing…absolutely nothing …half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats. – (Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows (River Rat to Mole))
See our paddling, fishing and scenic boat tours including Serge’s guided tour services immediately below.