Canoeing in Everglades NP, Florida

in Camping and Hiking9 months ago

Back in March we set out on a two night/three day backcountry canoe trip in the Everglades. The route we paddled was named the Hell's Bay Canoe Trail, a 9km (5.6 mile) one-way trail that meanders through the mangrove forest.

WhatsApp Image 2022-07-10 at 10.35.37 AM.jpeg
(Not even the most narrow of the mangroves)

On our first day we set out on a three hour paddle to our first chickee (a sheltered platform above the water) at a campsite named Pearl Bay.
Most of the paddle was through the narrow mangrove channels, marked by white PVC pipes (most of the time). At one point we thought we had taken a wrong turn only to realize, after having to paddle backwards back through the narrow mangroves for a while, that we were actually going the right way.
We arrived at our chickee in time to set up the tent and take a nap before waking up in time to watch the sunset. I was pleased to actually get a sunset as it was predicted to storm that afternoon, and the clouds made for beautiful colour changes in the sky. It was still very windy, but that kept the bugs away.

(Our first night's chickee - Pearl Bay Campground)

On day two we didn't leave our chickee until about 11am. We weren't in any hurry because our next chickee (named Hell's Bay) was only about an hour away.
We took our time enjoying and exploring the flat, clear waters and arrived just in time for lunch. We ate and relaxed all afternoon. We even spotted a dolphin from our chickee!
That afternoon we were surrounded by thunder. It was the most beautiful way to spend the afternoon. There was a cool breeze to keep away the bugs, and the temperature was perfect! We later received a huge downpour of rain. It was magic!
Once the rain had stopped we set up our tent and watched the sun set while a full moon rose. It was a perfect way to end day two.

(Chickee number two - Hell's Bay Campground)

On the morning of our last day I was woken at what I believe was about 5-5.30am by the loud exhale sounds of at least two dolphins rounding up fish. It was too dark to see them but I sat up anyway hoping to. My eyes eventually adjusted and I did see them! I saw one swim right by the chickee, then I saw a second one jump fully out of the water! With that, and the fart noises they were making, I can say it was one of the best ways to be woken up. Much better than an alarm clock, that's for sure!
I then stayed up to watch the sun rise while making us coffee.
After packing up all our gear we started on our paddle back to civilization. We were paddling past one of the other campsites on our way back (Lard Can Campsite) when we paddled over the top of something in the water. I thought it was a sunken canoe at first until Ryan exclaimed that it was actually a manatee! We hung around hoping to see it again but the water was too murky.
We arrived back at our van at about 11.30am (after three hours paddle time), took our rental gear back, then drove to Flamingo Campground for a much needed shower and a few drinks.


If you like mangrove forests, like me, you will love this canoe trip! It's a great trip for a first time backcountry adventure, and we saw a surprising amount of wildlife! However, don't expect to see alligators on this trip. They usually prefer somewhere that has space for them to bask on the banks, which a mangrove forest does not provide. But because mangrove forests act as nurseries for a lot of marine species you will find a lot of other animals here. We saw so many birds, marine mammals, a snake swimming, and fish. We even saw two sharks!

All images in this post were taken by and remain the Copyright of Ryan Sault unless stated otherwise.

You can see more photos at:
Instagram: @roaming.rammie and @saultphotography
Twitter: @sault_photo

If you'd like to learn a bit more about the photography featured on our page you can read an interview with did with Photofeed here.


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What a freakin awesome way to camp! Love it. That's def on my list next time I go back to Florida!

So jealous of you guys traveling around in your Dodge. I had a 1985 Ford Econoline van and she took us mountain climbing everywhere around Colorado and around so much more.

So jealous and keen to see more of your travels while I'm still stuck here in Melbs.

Have fun!

Thank you! The van is a great way to travel, and our old girl has survived some crazy things. I bet you miss your Econoline.

As for the canoeing, it is such a great way to camp. It's still backcountry but because you have the canoes you don't have to pack light like when you're hiking. Bonus!

I hope that Melbourne winter isn't treating you too bad.

Oh yes I do miss her (her name was twinklestoes) and named so for the way in which she seemed to dance over and around the rough 4wd tracks up in the Colorado backcountry...Unfortunately that was too long ago...about 20+years...

Such a great idea the canoeing adventure. Def on my list for next time!

I hope you get up to Colorado too. Summer up there was incredible. (winter was way beyond me...) and summer so far here hasn't been too bad. Some really nice warm days of late...

Haha! Love the name.

Oh I have heard great things about the hiking and camping in Colorado. It's definitely on my travel list, for sure!

I'll find some of the posts I put up in here last year from my travels as I scanned heaps of my old photos during lockdown to post so maybe you can get some ideas..

Anyway, It's after 1am so I'm heading to bed.

Safe travels and adventure on (you lucky, LUCKY bastards!) Sooooooo JEALOUS! 😅