Head up Highway 79 to Vernon for a day of paddling fun
Holmes Creek is one of the most diverse paddles in the Northwest Florida Panhandle area.
As part of Florida’s statewide system of Greenways and Trails, Holmes Creek flows through a variety of diverse habitats. The upper and lower portions pass high sandy banks while the majority of the trail is through low-lying swamplands.
Rich with flora and fauna, the creek is abundant with turtles and birds, including blue, green and white heron, ibis, warblers and woodpeckers.
Several sections of the creek are shallow and clear. Underwater plants seem alive with movement as they ripple under the water’s surface. Water lilies are in abundance, and on this mid-summer day, were just starting to bloom.
Bird and wasp nests dangled from the trees seemed almost as though suspended in air as you looked above towards the treetop’s canopies.
There are several crystal clear springs, including Cypress Springs, which flows at 89 million gallons per day and Becton Springs, which flows at 40 million gallons per day, both have beautiful spring runs which feed into the creek. There is a smaller spring at the Brunson landing where you can take a short walk along a wooded trail and find the small spring approximately 35 ft. in diameter.
Bring your snorkeling gear, as a dive into Cypress Springs is one of the highlights of the paddle, offering you the opportunity to get up close and personal with the spring boil.
The creek has many low-hanging branches and submerged tree trunks, which can present a small, but not difficult challenge. For the most part, the gentle curves and a slow current make Holmes Creek an easy paddle.
• Mile 0—Burnt Sock Landing
• Mile 2—Cotton Landing (temporarily closed)
(Cypress springs is between Cotton and Culpepper Landings)
• Mile 3—Culpepper Landing
• Mile 5.5—Vernon Wayside Park
• Mile 9.5—Fanning Branch Boat Ramp
• Mile 10.5—Brunson Landing
• Mile 11.5—Hightower Springs Landing
• Mile 13—Spurling Landing
• Mile 21.5—Live Oak Landing
Frances Stone from the West Florida Canoe and Kayak Club shares her knowledge of the best places to put in and take out at: www.clubkayak.com/greenwave
For a map of the entire Holmes Creek Trail:
Old Cypress Canoe Rentals:
– Kayaks and canoes, stand up paddleboards
For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as for most of the Northwest Florida springs, go to “Florida Springs Database” Website at http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida