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Canoeing & Kayaking

Everglades West Lake, Flamingo Florida USA
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Copyright 2002 Alfonso Vazquez-Cuervo - See Terms of Use

Our Route Summary

  • Submitted by: Al Vazquez
  • Date Submitted: 2/2002
  • Location: about 4 miles north of Flamingo Florida USA
  • Class: Typically flat water river with three large lakes that can have wind blown waves. Avoid this paddle on windy days.
  • Distance Paddled: about 16 miles round trip to Alligator Creek
  • Water Level: usually navigable even during the dry season
  • Water: fresh to salty in tidal Alligator Creek
  • Wildlife: alligators, bromeliads, anhinga,, ibis, ducks, great blue heron, turtles
  • Special Regulations: 6 horsepower motor limit

Entry and Exit

  • Directions: On Route 9336 about 4 miles north of Flamingo on the south side of the road
  • GPS: N 25 degrees 12.882' W 80 degrees 51.020'
  • Fee: $10 per vehicle park entrance fee plus $3 for a 7 day non-motorized boat permit
  • Description: cement boat ramps
  • Parking: adjacent paved parking
  • Facilities: restroom (no running water), great picnic pavilion, boat docks
  • Handicap Access: the ramp is steep and slippery

What We Saw

West Lake itself is about 2 miles long over half a mile wide.

We paddled from the entry at the northwest side of the lake to Alligator Creek on the southeast side.

The red mangroves along the shore had a very sharp high water mark on them as seen in the photo at right.

We were caught in some bad weather on the paddle and had to cut it short. The shoreline offers a number of bays and nooks in the mangroves where paddlers can find shelter from the wind and rain, particularly on the lee shore. And that's what we did that day.

This is not a good paddle on days when wind or storms are forecast. On windy days, Noble Hammock would be a better paddle as it does not have the open water of West Lake.

The best scenery on this paddle were the spectacular, huge, blooming bromeliads (see photo at top) along the south shore of the lake.

There was also an overly friendly gator with one missing leg at the put in ramp that kept eyeing the red flag I forgot to remove from my boat (see photo at left).

One of the great things about West Lake, particularly for groups, is the large pavilion shown at right. Alan, our excellent trip leader, cooked us a great hot lunch with burgers, weenies, and hot sausage that really hit the spot after paddling in the rain.

It should be possible to paddle from West Lake through Alligator Creek back to Flamingo in one day if the weather is good. We left that for another day.