Twists and turns keep you paddling on Turkey Creek

June 24, 2016

 Swift and clear, Turkey Creek brings lots of paddling action. Lori Ceier/WaltonOutdoors.com
Swift and clear, Turkey Creek brings lots of paddling action. Lori Ceier/WaltonOutdoors.com

Turkey Creek paddle full of beautiful surprises

One of Northwest Florida’s most scenic waterways is the narrow, seepage spring fed Turkey Creek just west of Niceville. Located on Eglin Air Force Base Reservation, just off of SR 85, Turkey Creek meanders through the Reservation offering a challenging and beautiful paddle approximately 9 miles long.

Swift and clear, the first two thirds of the paddle is tight, filled with twists and turns, and beautiful vistas as you maneuver the waterway. Trees drape over the creek, providing an abundance of shade for the first half of your journey. Native plants such as colorful St. John’s wort and pitcher plants add color along the way.

Crystal clear water on Turkey Creek. Lori Ceier/WaltonOutdoors.com
Crystal clear water on Turkey Creek. Lori Ceier/WaltonOutdoors.com

Launching from the area nicknamed the Hippie Hole, the creek eventually empties into Boggy Bayou just south of SR 20 in Valparaiso, which is just west of Niceville.

About 5 miles into the paddle, you have an option to take out at a small bridge crossing AFB Road 232. Before you get to Boggy Bayou, you will pass through the Turkey Creek Recreation area – a popular park for cooling off on a hot summer day day.

Pitcher plant in bloom along Turkey Creek. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors
Pitcher plant in bloom along Turkey Creek. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Paddling Turkey Creek requires a recreation permit from Eglin AFB. You can acquire a permit by visiting the Jackson Guard Natural Resources Facility at 107 Hwy. 85 just north of Hwy. 20. (850) 882-4164 or (850) 882-4165.  Their offices  are open Mon. РSat. and accept cash or check only. You may also purchase a permit online. To open an account, go to https://eglin.isportsman.net. You must also check their website to ensure there are no closings in the recreation area the day you are paddling.

There are no kayak or canoe rental facilities in the immediate area.

How to get there:
The put in is located on Eglin Reservation 5 miles north of Hwy. 20, in Niceville off SR 85.
I-10 Crestview Exit 56 Hwy 85 South 15 mi. Turn right 0.2 mi before 85-123 Y [N30 34.102 W86 31.773]. AFB 232 0.5 mi Canoe Launch bridge [N30 33.708 W86 32.178]. Continue 1.5 mi. Turn right AFB 233 1.5 mi to Hippie Hole bridge [N30 34.870 W86 34.473].
A good take out is on Boggy Bayou in Valpariaso at a small public park next to the cement plant on Hwy 20. ::MAP::

Interested in learning more about paddling Northwest Florida? The Florida Panhandle Canoe and Kayak Connection and the West Florida Canoe and Kayak Club offer many group paddles in the Panhandle.

Map courtesy Jim Parker https://sites.google.com/site/jwparkpaddles/
Map courtesy Jim Parker https://sites.google.com/site/jwparkpaddles/