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Paddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dickinson State Park, kayak, canoe, FloridaPaddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dickinson State Park,kayak, canoe, Florida

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Reported: Dec. 2016

Loxahatchee River-North;
Paddling at Jonathan Dickinson State Park

The Loxahatchee River 8.5 mile State Designated Paddling Trail runs from Palm Beach County's Riverbend Park to Jonathan Dickinson State Park in Martin County. While the trail can be paddled in a single downstream trip using a shuttle, most visitors paddle out and back from the one of the two parks. On this page we describe paddling portions of the trail at its north end from Jonathan Dickinson State Park. (Detailed map and photos below.) Separately, we describe paddling the south end at Riverbend Park (see link at bottom of the page).



View Larger Map

Distance:
8.5 mile paddling trail one-way. Often paddled in segments from parks at either end of the trail.
Location: Palm Beach and Martin Counties
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
Tidal: Partial
Launch point: Loxahatchee Riverbend Park, Jonathan Dickinson State Park (See map, left)
Kayak/Canoe Rentals: Riverbend Park, Jonathan Dickinson State Park (links, above right)
Nearby points of interest: Trapper Nelson Interpretive Site, Jupiter Beach and Inlet, Jupiter Lighthouse, Palm Beach

At Jonathan Dickinson State Park, the river is wide and tidal, before narrowing at Trapper Nelson Interpretive Site. In this section, motor boats may be encountered. The launch is at the public boat ramp, it is requested that the outfitter's launch not be used unless renting from them. The outfitter provides a shuttle.

Jonathan Dickinson State Park was originally a top-secret training facility during World War II for a new technology called "radar." After being decommissioned, the State obtained ownership and the park was opened in 1950. The park has a Visitor Center, concession and restaurant, camping, hiking, biking and equestrian trails, picnicking, fishing, boating, kayaking and canoeing. Boat tours of the river, equestrian tours and a farm wagon ride are available. The 11,500 acre park encompasses 13 natural communities. Wildlife includes alligators and turtles on the river, otter, raccoon, deer and more, and over 150 species of birds. Admission fee, boat ramp fee additional.

Paddling on the Loxahatchee River - from north end of trail
(tap or hover over photo for larger view)
We paddled upstream from the boat ramp at Jonathan Dickinson State Park (the official end point of the State Trail). This section of the river is tidal and lined with mangrove. Our original goal was to paddle 4 miles up to Trapper Nelson's, past which the river becomes a narrow, more diverse freshwater environment. However, with tide and weather against us, we decided instead to explore Kitching Creek, which enters the Loxahatchee about 1.7 miles up from the boat ramp and less than a mile up from the State Park concessionaire.
Paddling from the launch area to Kitching Creek
Paddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dickinson State Park - Kayak, CanoePaddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dicksinson State Park - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dickinson State Park - Kayak, CanoePaddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dicksinson State Park - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dickinson State Park - Kayak, CanoePaddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dicksinson State Park - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dickinson State Park - Kayak, CanoePaddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dicksinson State Park - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dickinson State Park - Kayak, CanoePaddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dicksinson State Park - Kayak, Canoe
Launch area/boat ramp at Jonathan Dickinson State Park Leaving the launch Entering the
State Park
Paddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dickinson State Park - Kayak, CanoePaddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dicksinson State Park - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dickinson State Park - Kayak, CanoePaddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dicksinson State Park - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dickinson State Park - Kayak, CanoePaddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dicksinson State Park - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dickinson State Park - Kayak, CanoePaddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dicksinson State Park - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dickinson State Park - Kayak, CanoePaddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dicksinson State Park - Kayak, Canoe
Watch for
motor boats
Kayak/canoe rentals,
a Trapper Nelson's tour boat
Along the river, toward Kitching Creek
Paddling on Kitching Creek
Kitching Creek is the highlight of the river when paddling from Jonathan Dickinson - here we discovered a microcosm of everything we had wanted to see much further upriver. Watch for the water gauge marking the entrance to the creek. Although navigable for just over a mile (at best), the creek quickly transitions from salt to fresh. About half way up, it becomes increasingly more narrow and twisty. Here shaded by overhanging trees and Spanish moss, paddlers can enjoy unspoiled views of semitropical flora and fauna. Many birds and turtles; we heard some large splashes, but never saw the alligators.
Paddle Loxahatchee River, Kitching Creek - Kayak, CanoePaddle Loxahatchee River, Kitching Creek - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Loxahatchee River, Kitching Creek - Kayak, CanoePaddle Loxahatchee River, Kitching Creek - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Loxahatchee River, Kitching Creek - Kayak, CanoePaddle Loxahatchee River, Kitching Creek - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Loxahatchee River, Kitching Creek - Kayak, CanoePaddle Loxahatchee River, Kitching Creek - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Loxahatchee River, Kitching Creek - Kayak, CanoePaddle Loxahatchee River, Kitching Creek - Kayak, Canoe
Gauge at entrance to
Kitching Creek
Lower Kitching Creek, saltwater An educational
tour group
Transitioning from brackish to freshwater Overlook platform, park hiking trail
Paddle Loxahatchee River, Kitching Creek - Kayak, CanoePaddle Loxahatchee River, Kitching Creek - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Loxahatchee River, Kitching Creek - Kayak, CanoePaddle Loxahatchee River, Kitching Creek - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Loxahatchee River, Kitching Creek - Kayak, CanoePaddle Loxahatchee River, Kitching Creek - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Loxahatchee River, Kitching Creek - Kayak, CanoePaddle Loxahatchee River, Kitching Creek - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Loxahatchee River, Kitching Creek - Kayak, CanoePaddle Loxahatchee River, Kitching Creek - Kayak, Canoe
Continuing on, creek got more narrow and scenic - we loved it!
Wildlife
Paddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dickinson State Park - Kayak, CanoePaddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dicksinson State Park - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dickinson State Park - Kayak, CanoePaddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dicksinson State Park - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dickinson State Park - Kayak, CanoePaddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dicksinson State Park - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dickinson State Park - Kayak, CanoePaddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dicksinson State Park - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dickinson State Park - Kayak, CanoePaddle Loxahatchee River, Jonathan Dicksinson State Park - Kayak, Canoe
Anhinga Turtle Ibis Turtle More birds

See paddling at Loxahatchee River-South at Riverbend Park

Visit the Loxahatchee River Paddling overview page

More information on paddling at Loxahatchee River (opens in a new window):

- Florida Office of Greenways and Trails - Loxahatchee River Paddling Trail (pdf)
- Florida State Parks - Jonathan Dickinson State Park

Also visit us here: Bicycling at Jonathan Dickinson State Park

Top of Page

Paddling in Florida - Kayak, Canoe
Loxahatchee River North - Jonathan Dickinson State Park

Outfitters/Rentals

Canoe Outfitters at Riverbend Park

Concessionaire at Jonathan Dickinson State Park


Support and Advocacy

 Friends of the Loxahatchee River

Friends of Jonathan Dickinson State Park


Jupiter, Florida, weather forecast