Spring fed creek a natural wonder
Part of Florida’s Greenways and Trails, the Econfina Creek in Bay and Washington counties is many a paddlers’ favorite journey in the Florida Panhandle.
Pack a lunch and bring your snorkel, for you are about the enjoy the paddle of a lifetime as you explore the creek and its many crystal clear springs along the popular seven-mile trip down the creek. Cabbage palms drape over the water’s edge along with blooming wildflowers scattering the banks with color during your journey in the spring and summer months. Steep, fern-covered limestone walls prevail along the second half of the paddle, where the creek slices into the ancient limestone of the Floridan Aquifer.
On a hot and humid summer’s day the creek takes on an ethereal feel as a fog layer hangs suspended in the air when the cool water meets the hot air.
The northern portions of the creek are difficult with many logjams and shallow water. Most paddlers opt to put in at the Econfina Livery as the livery offers the option of pick up and return at the take out at SR 388 bridge. They also have kayaks and canoes available for rent.
The Econfina Creek is largely preserved and managed by the Northwest Florida Water Management District, and part of the much larger 41,000 acre Econfina Creek Water Management Recreation Area. The Recreation Area offers camping, hiking along the Florida Scenic Trail, boating, fishing and equestrian trails along with campsites and recreational parks.
The District has identified 11 springs or spring groups comprised of 39 individual vents, most of them within a mile of State Road 20.
There are several places to launch a canoe or kayak:
• Scott’s Bridge – From US 231 four miles north of Fountain, take Scott’s Road west four miles to bridge. (This section of the creek is for skilled paddlers only as there are many portages due to log jams)
• Walsingham Bridge – From SR 20 turn north on Strickland Road which becomes Porter Pond Road. There is a fence line on the right side of the road. Follow the fence line and make the two right turns where the fence turns. Take Washington Bridge Road to the bridge. (This section of the creek is for skilled paddlers only as there are many portages due to log jams)
• Econfina Canoe Livery – One mile north of SR 20 on Strickland Road. Eight miles east of Hwy. 77, offers both canoes and kayaks for rent along with a shuttle back to your vehicle after your paddle. Call 850-722-9032 for more information. Click here for map
Got your own vessels? Shuttle your vehicles from the put in at SR 20 to SR 388 bridge. Northwest Florida Water Management District offers a parking lot, boardwalk, and launch to the creek. Click here for map.
• SR 20 Bridge to SR 388 Bridge – (6 miles)