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Paddle Fisheating Creek, Glades County, Palmdale, kayak, canoe, FloridaPaddle Fisheating Creek, Glades County, Palmdale, kayak, canoe, Florida

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Reported: Jan. 2012

Fisheating Creek... Paddling near Lake Okeechobee

The beauty of Fisheating Creek near Palmdale absolutely blew us away, a magical place! Flowing through cypress swamp, the creek's name should be Cypress Majesty or something similar. The creek, a major water source of Lake Okeechobee and its only free-flowing tributary, was in private hands and thus undeveloped for many years and is now managed by the State of Florida. The 52-mile stream flows through cypress swamps, lakes, and marsh and is mostly contained within the 18,000 acre Fisheating Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA) - an environmentally critical area with 27 rare species living in the watershed. (Detailed map and photos below.)



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Distance: Ingrams Crossing launch to Palmdale - 16.5 miles; Burnt Bridge launch to Palmdale - 8 miles
Location: Glades County (Palmdale)
Difficulty: Moderate
Tidal: No
Launch points: Fisheating Creek Outpost (state-licensed concessionaire) on US27 at Palmdale; public ramp on FL78 near Lake Okeechobee (See map, left)
Kayak/Canoe Rentals: Fisheating Creek Outpost (link, above right)
Nearby points of interest: Sebring, Lake Okeechobee

Because the only put-ins upstream are on private property, it's necessary to use the state-sanctioned concessionaire at Palmdale to reach upper Fisheating Creek. We took the shuttle to Burnt Bridge for an 8-mile paddle downstream. The ride is pristine - a real wilderness experience - and alternates between wide lakes, narrow streams, and through cypress swamp, with many spots to pull off for picnicking. We were thankful for the directional markers as the creek branched out in different directions at several points. On this segment, motor traffic was limited, some areas were quite shallow.

Wildlife along the creek include deer, turtles, wild hogs, black bears, eagles, wading birds, and some of the biggest alligators we've seen. Florida panther have also been spotted.  The Fisheating Creek Campground at Palmdale has camping, RV hook-ups, picnicking, bathrooms and showers as well as a camp store. There is an approved swimming lake at the campground - swimming in the creek is not recommended due to many alligators. Within the wildlife preserve are camping, fishing, birding, hiking, and picnicking. Primitive campsites are located along the creek for overnight trips.

Paddling at Fisheating Creek
(tap or hover over photo for larger view)
Burnt Bridge to Palmdale - 8 miles
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Shuttle van Put-in at Burnt Bridge Initially, on open water
Paddle Fisheating Creek - Kayak, Canoe, FloridaPaddle Fisheating Creek - Kayak, Canoe, Florida Paddle Fisheating Creek - Kayak, Canoe, FloridaPaddle Fisheating Creek - Kayak, Canoe, Florida Paddle Fisheating Creek - Kayak, Canoe, FloridaPaddle Fisheating Creek - Kayak, Canoe, Florida Paddle Fisheating Creek - Kayak, Canoe, FloridaPaddle Fisheating Creek - Kayak, Canoe, Florida Paddle Fisheating Creek - Kayak, Canoe, FloridaPaddle Fisheating Creek - Kayak, Canoe, Florida
Approaching the cypress swamp We were thankful for the directional signs So beautiful, we dubbed this
"Nature's Cathedral"
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Back onto open water Picnic spot
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This was the only motorboat we saw the whole trip Cypress knees Stream starting to narrow again Launch at the Outpost Campground
Wildlife on Fisheating Creek
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Roseate Spoonbill Ibis This big gator slipped into the water as we paddled by This was the biggest beehive we've ever seen! A big flock of buzzards were roosting at Picnic Lake - what were they picnicking on?

More information on paddling at Fisheating Creek (opens in a new window):

- Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission - Fisheating Creek Information
- Wikipedia - Fisheating Creek

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