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Canoeing & Kayaking

Cumberland Island, Georgia USA

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Copyright 2001 Alfonso Vazquez-Cuervo - See Terms of Use

Our Route Summary

  • Submitted by: Ed Peterson, Atlanta Kayakers
  • Date Submitted: 11/2001
  • Location: Near St. Mary's, Crooked River State Park, Georgia and Ft. Clinch, Florida
  • Class: 1 in open ocean, so be careful with the wind, weather and tides. Recommend the paddle for intermediates or better in a group. Pay close attention to the tides or you will regret it. (See text below for more details.)
  • Distance Paddled: about 12.3 miles one way
  • Water Level: tidal
  • Water: salt
  • Wildlife: Dolphin, Lots of bird species, horses, raccoons, feral hogs, armadillos, gators. live oak, Spanish moss, palmetto, wax myrtle, resurrection fern. Cumberland Island is a maritime forest with a lot of live oaks hung with Spanish moss and mostly palmetto undergrowth. Wildlife is abundant. You are likely to encounter the beautiful wild horses as well as 200+ species of birds, armadillos, raccoons, your odd feral pig and an occasional snake.
  • Special Regulations: No alcohol or firearms. Pack out all trash and bury excrement.

Entry and Exit

  • Directions: To get to Cumberland take the St. Mary's exit off of I-95 and go E on SR40. In order to get to Crooked River State Park (the only sane put in for Brickhill Bluff and don't let anyone convince you otherwise) take the 40 spur to the left before you get to downtown St. Mary's.
  • Fee: none
  • Description: ramps
  • Parking: Check in at CRSP get one of their fishing maps (good enough to navigate about $4. PAY FOR PARKING at the CG. Load your boat and then move your ride back to the CG. You can see the put in from the CG but you have to exit the CG go right to the put in & drive back to the CG. If you don't do this, Bubba will vandalize your ride.
  • Facilities: picnic shelters, tennis courts, restrooms, playground, and other amenities
  • Handicap Access: yes

What We Saw

Cumberland Island, GA is the southern most barrier island on the GA coast just N of Amelia island, FL and E of St Mary's, GA. Rather than spending a lot of time on history cultural recourses etc. I will just refer you to their official site Cumberland Island is a National Wilderness Area and is administrated by the National Park Service, a division of the Department of the Interior. Cumberland Island is only accessible by boat. You can charter one, take the ferry or have your own.

Lodging is abundant in St Mary's but I have to say that our hands down favorite is the Riverview Hotel.

There are only 2 camping possibilities accessible by kayak although there is one place, Plum Orchard, where you can rest on the way to Brickhill Bluff. Service trips are available for groups but are difficult to schedule (but not impossible) You must reserve through the National Park Service ( )

Sea Camp:
Nice, flush toilets, cold showers, raccoon cages, picnic tables and fire rings. Not primitive camping and takes forever to check in. Accessible by ferry (St Mary's) or kayak from Ft clinch on Amelia Island. It can be difficult to get out of/into your boat at high tide and you have to cross 2 shipping lanes and about 5 miles of open water. You have to portage your gear about 3/4 mile to the campground but wheeled carts are available for this purpose.

Brickhill Bluff:
This is primitive camping at it's best. It's a little over 12 miles from Crooked River State Park the first six mile of which can be pretty hairy. (Make sure you scroll down for special notes about Brickhill) Put in is at Crooked River State Park . You can pit stop at Plum Orchard at the mouth of the Brickhill River after you cross the Cumberland River and the Intercoastal Waterway

The beach is about a mile east of the CG and is worth every step. The trails are not all that intuitive so pay attention or risk getting lost. The church where John Kennedy Jr. got married is a couple of miles north as is an old settlement (abandoned).

Make sure you do the following:

Pay close attention to the tides or you will regret it. Links on the will be helpful. Look for "The Dividing" on the "harbor tides" site linked to our site and add 40 minutes for the CRSP put in. Look for Cumberland Warf and add about the same for put in at Brickhill or better yet, call "Up the Creek" kayak shop in St Mary's and ask them. They are well equipped helpful and knowledgeable. (link under links/outfitters on )

Remember there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING available on the island. If you don't bring it you will have to do without it, so pack carefully. There are no-see-ums at dawn & dusk near the water. Move 100' feet inland & they won't bother you. Ticks can be a problem. Bring repellent avoid walking in tall grass and do a thorough tick check often.

There are no privies so bring a trowel and dig a cat hole. Burn your toilet paper and then bury or the animals will spread it around and ruin the view. You must pack out everything you bring. Please leave no trace and avoid irritating the ranger (he's a good guy and friendly to kayakers but has to live by the rules).

Access Alert!!!

The National Park Service is going to move the Brickhill Bluff Campground! If it's a hundred feet you will still be able to move your gear & boat and have time to break camp, repack your boat and still catch the incoming tide. If it's 1/4 mile or more the National Park Service will have dealt paddlers a grievous blow indeed!

Please check page dealing with this issue and make yourselves heard... or forever hold your peace.

GPS Waypoints to Brickhill Bluff from Crooked River State Park

From, To, Leg Distance, Cumulative Distance, Bearing,
Latitude, Longitude:

BRKH01, BRKH02, 1.43 mi., 0.00 mi., 70.05 degrees
N30 degrees 50.87', W81 degrees 33.24'
BRKH02, BRKH03, 0.93 mi., 1.43 mi., 138.61 degrees
N30 degrees 51.29', W81 degrees 31.89'
BRKH03, BRKH04, 0.81 mi., 2.36 mi., 88.74 degrees
N30 degrees 50.68', W81 degrees 31.26'
BRKH04, BRKH05, 1.23 mi., 3.17 mi., 101.96 degrees
N30 degrees 50.70', W81 degrees 30.44'
BRKH05, BRKH06, 0.41 mi., 4.40 mi., 60.87 degrees
N30 degrees 50.48', W81 degrees 29.22'
BRKH06, BRKH07, 0.49 mi., 4.82 mi., 37.15 degrees
N30 degrees 50.65', W81 degrees 28.86'
BRKH07, BRKH08, 0.27 mi., 5.31 mi., 62.31 degrees
N30 degrees 50.99', W81 degrees 28.56'
BRKH08, BRKH09, 0.22 mi., 5.58 mi., 60.63 degrees
N30 degrees 51.10', W81 degrees 28.32'
BRKH09, BRKH10, 0.29 mi., 5.79 mi., 22.88 degrees
N30 degrees 51.19', W81 degrees 28.13'
BRKH10, BRKH11, 0.30 mi., 6.08 mi., 340.49 degrees
N30 degrees 51.42', W81 degrees 28.01'
BRKH11, BRKH12, 0.36 mi., 6.39 mi., 305.55 degrees
N30 degrees 51.67', W81 degrees 28.11'
BRKH12, BRKH13, 0.28 mi., 6.74 mi., 291.13 degrees
N30 degrees 51.85', W81 degrees 28.41'
BRKH13, BRKH14, 0.33 mi., 7.02 mi., 330.66 degrees
N30 degrees 51.94', W81 degrees 28.67'
BRKH14, BRKH15, 0.17 mi., 7.35 mi., 265.92 degrees
N30 degrees 52.19', W81 degrees 28.83'
BRKH15, BRKH16, 0.38 mi., 7.52 mi., 223.72 degrees
N30 degrees 52.18', W81 degrees 29.00'
BRKH16, BRKH17, 0.23 mi., 7.89 mi., 278.98 degrees
N30 degrees 51.94', W81 degrees 29.27'
BRKH17, BRKH18, 0.28 mi., 8.12 mi., 300.32 degrees
N30 degrees 51.97', W81 degrees 29.49'
BRKH18, BRKH19, 0.46 mi., 8.40 mi., 345.97 degrees
N30 degrees 52.09', W81 degrees 29.74'
BRKH19, BRKH20, 0.22 mi., 8.87 mi., 32.02 degrees
N30 degrees 52.49', W81 degrees 29.85'
BRKH20, BRKH21, 0.77 mi., 9.09 mi., 58.50 degrees
N30 degrees 52.65', W81 degrees 29.73'
BRKH21, BRKH22, 2.25 mi., 9.86 mi., 78.44 degrees
N30 degrees 53.00', W81 degrees 29.07'
BRKH22, BRKH23, 0.42 mi., 12.12 mi., 14.04 degrees
N30 degrees 53.39', W81 degrees 26.84'