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Canoeing & Kayaking

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Everglades, Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refugee, FL
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Copyright 2001 Alfonso Vazquez-Cuervo - See Terms of Use

Our Route Summary

  • Submitted by: Al Vazquez
  • Date Submitted: 2/2001
  • Email:
  • Location: west of Boynton Beach and Boca Raton FL
  • Class: Typically flat water marsh with some tidal currents
  • Distance Paddled: 5 miles round trip (one can go further)
  • Water: fresh
  • Wildlife: Alligators, frogs, butterflies, sawgrass, snails, black bass, turtles, water lilies and other flowers, endangered Everglades snail kite, over 250 species of other birds

Entry and Exit

  • Directions: Exit Route 95 at Atlantic Avenue. coming from the south or at Boynton Beach Blvd. coming from the north. Head west past the Turnpike to Rt. 441. The entrance to the refuge is north of Atlantic Avenue or south of Boynton Beach Blvd. on the west side of 441. Follow the entrance road to the end at the boat launch. An information kiosk has a map of the canoe trail.
  • GPS: N 26 degrees 29.904' W 80 degrees 13.322'
  • Fee: $5 per car
  • Description: dirt bank and paved ramps
  • Parking: adjacent paved
  • Facilities: restroom, picnic tables, hiking & bike trails, canoe trail, fishing platform, observation towers, butterfly garden, and a visitor center. Canoes and kayaks can be rented at the put in from Loxahatchee Canoeing (561-733-0192)

What We Saw

The Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refugee is the northern part of the remaining Everglades. It used to be connected to the Loxahatchee River, but this connection was broken long ago by development. The good news is that the refuge preserves the Everglades only minutes away from the east coast conveniences of south Florida.

The canoe trail loop shown at left is well marked and maintained through the wetland grasses. Paddling through a variety of Everglades terrain, you'll see well placed kiosks that explain the differences in vegetation, wildlife, and water you'll see over the roughly 4 hour trip.

Mile markers along the route show how far you've gone. And there is even a floating porta potty along the route.

Be aware that large alligators are common, so use caution at the put in, stay in your boat, and of course, don't feed them. Left alone, they normally maintain a safe distance themselves. While preparing our boats at the put in, we did have the thrill of watching a 5 footer leap out of the water to it's back legs to eat a bird on a branch above the water.

Sawgrass is abundant along the route, but not the only type of grass or vegetation we saw by any means. Several types of beautiful blossoms like those picture at right lined the canoe trail.
On our paddle, we also saw baby alligators less than a foot long as well as the juvenile 2 footer pictured above.

The small gator shown at left is how you'll often see them. Only the eyes and nose are visible. As you approach, they'll routinely sink below the surface to avoid the threat of the kayak they see approaching.

Several gator nests along the route are marked by signs. It was close to one of these that we saw a group of babies swimming into the water on top of each other. Because we assumed the mother was close by, we didn't stay in the area long to minimize the disturbance.
Birds were abundant during our February paddle on a beautiful afternoon.