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Paddle Loxahatchee River, kayak, canoe, FloridaPaddle Loxahatchee River, kayak, canoe, Florida

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Added: April 2013; Updated: Dec. 2016

Loxahatchee River - Paddling Florida's First Wild and Scenic River

The Loxahatchee River is the first designated National Wild and Scenic River in Florida (the other is the Wekiva River in Central Florida) and one of the most natural rides in Florida - unlike many other waterways, it has remained mostly unchanged. The 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, we learned from the outfitters that most visitors paddle out and back from the one of the two parks. We paddled both, and created separate pages describing each one (see links below). (Detailed map, photos and more description below.)



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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's Cabin, Jupiter Beach and Inlet, Palm Beach

The full 8.5 mile ride can take 5-7 seven hours in low water due to many pullovers; the outfitters provide shuttles. The most scenic part of the paddling trail is the 4 miles through cypress between Riverbend Park and Trapper Nelson's Cabin. This portion of the river can be twisty and narrow. Past Trapper Nelson's Cabin, the river widens into a mangrove estuary and the tidal influence starts. At Jonathan Dickinson State Park, the river is wide and tidal.

Paddling on the Loxahatchee River
Paddling at Loxahatchee River-North
Jonathan Dickinson State Park
Paddling at Loxahatchee River-South
Riverbend Park
Loxahatchee River Paddling Trail - Jonathan Dickinson State Park - Kayak, CanoeLoxahatchee River Paddling Trail, Jonathan Dickinson State Park - Kayak, Canoe Loxahatchee River Paddling Trail, Riverbend Park - Kayak, CanoeLoxahatchee River Paddling Trail, Riverbend Park - Kayak, Canoe
Paddle Loxahatchee River, kayak, canoe, FloridaPaddle Loxahatchee River, kayak, canoe, Florida

Trapper Nelson's Cabin (about 4 miles from Riverbend Park) is a good stop-off point for picnicking and to visit the historical site. Known as the "Wild Man of the Loxahatchee," Nelson was a fur trader in the 1930's who went on to build a zoo and botanical garden. The State took over the site after his death in 1968 and incorporated it into Jonathan Dickinson State Park. Ranger-led tours are available year-round.

See more photos of Riverbend Park and its biking trails on our Facebook 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
- Palm Beach County - Riverbend Park

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Jonathan Dickinson State Park


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