Explore nature along the Holmes Creek Canoe Trail

July 5, 2017

Holmes Creek offers miles of natural beauty to explore. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors
Holmes Creek offers miles of natural beauty to explore. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Head up 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.

Take a dip into the cool water of at Cypress Springs. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

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. Best time to go is early on a week day as this popular spring can get crowded.

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
(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

Downoad a map of the entire Holmes Creek Trail here: Holmes Creek guide

Canoe and kayak rentals for Holmes Creek:

Holmes Creek Livery
Vernon Park (C.E. Miller Landing), Hwy. 79 just past bridge
Vernon, FL. 32462

– kayaks and canoes, 850-210-7001 ::map::

Cypress Springs Adventures
– Kayaks, canoes, and stand up paddle boards
3324 Highway 277
Vernon, FL. 32462
(850) 535-2004::map::

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 here.

    1. Wow I enjoyed this report. Wondering how this compares with Econfina. Wondering what a “solo canoe” is? Is a canoe better than a kayak for this trip?

    1. The Holmes Creek Paddling Trail is appropriate for both canoes and kayaks, especially those 16′ or less.

      A solo canoe is designed for one person to paddle, the seat is in the middle.It takes a little different technic than a tandem canoe because one needs to control the front and the back. I paddle a 14 ft. Solo Mohawk canoe.

      For people who are not quite as agile as one would like, it has advantages for getting in and out, and being able to sit on a seat (I even use a seat back) while with a kayak one basically sits on the floor with their legs stretched out in front. Some sit-on-top kayaks do allow for one’s legs to be flexed. I also find I can change the position of my legs and feet in a canoe.

      On of the best river guides I know says “Paddle solo, sleep tandem”.

    1. I particularly enjoyed your vimeo pictures. The bird background gave a “swampy” feeling to your pictures. Nice job with the story.

Comments are closed.