Boiling Creek... Paddling Florida's Panhandle
Boiling Creek flows through the Eglin Air Force Base Reservation and into the Yellow River. The spring-fed creek is is clear with a pristine beauty preserved by its location within the military base. The average depth is 3-6 feet with an easy current and few underwater logs to navigate around. Note: A recreation permit (fee, or seniors reduced rate) is required and available from Jackson Guard by mail or at 107 Highway 85 North in Niceville - call (850) 882-4165 for information. (Detailed map and photos below.)
A launch is located on either side of the bridge on Base Road 211 and can serve as the launch for a paddle upstream (and return) or downstream to the SR87 launch on the Yellow River (requires two vehicles). The bridge is low, getting under it requires a "limbo" move which in high water may not be possible at all. The launch downstream is right at the bridge, an old ramp has been replaced by a wall and set of steps. To launch upstream, continue past the bridge and look for the put-in on the right.
Downstream current carries you as the creek winds around gentle bends; the creek widens as it approaches the Yellow River, where boating traffic can be encountered. We enjoyed the upstream paddle, quiet and remote. Like so many streams in the Panhandle, there's a steady current but with few obstructions and sufficient water depth we were able to navigate upstream comfortably. A downside is there were no beaches to stop at, we eventually grounded on a shallow sandbar to stretch and have a snack. Little Boiling Creek branches off, we went a short distance up that creek and look forward to visiting it again for a longer paddle on our next trip.
Along the riverbank are cypress and other trees, and plants such as water lilies and pitcher plants. Wildlife include turtles, ospreys, hawks and other birds. The underwater grass is home to many fish, paddling on Boiling Creek is like being in an aquarium.
More information on paddling on Boiling Creek (opens in a new window):
Paddling in Florida - Kayak, Canoe
Blackwater Canoe Rental