Canoe and Kayak Safety | FAQ | Feature Stories: Paddling Along the River
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Peace River Canoe Trail
The Peace River Canoe Trail is officially designated as part of Florida’s Statewide System of Greenways and Trails. The Spanish, on a map as early as 1544, called it “Rio de la Paz” — river of peace. Seminole’s called it Tallackchopo (cow peas) because the river’s banks were covered with wild peas. The Peace River, true to its name, is a serene, slow-moving river with few signs of civilization. Whether you paddle for a day or a week, the Peace River’s quiet isolation lets you leave big city worries behind. The scars of 19th century phosphate mining of the river banks and bed have been absorbed by the river and lush vegetation.Red-shouldered hawk soar high above moss-draped cypress trees. Turtles slide into the water as a paddler drifts by. Deer and turkey feed in the palmetto thickets. A black bear may wander to the river’s edge. Wading birds walk along the bank looking for food while keeping an eye on a nearby alligator. Otter play among the willows. Horizontal cabbage palm dip their trunks in the water before curving straight up so the tops clear the surface. Along its 67 miles, the pale, tea-colored river shows many different faces. Sometimes the river is narrow, passing swiftly between high banks. Around a gentle curve, the river may widen and the current become slow-moving. Past another of the S curves, the river becomes a quiet shallow pond before narrowing again. The Peace River is split by tiny islands and joined by numerous creeks. Sandy beaches and sloping banks provide excellent camping spots.
Notes and Precautions
Observe the No Trespassing signs. There is no camping allowed on the east side of the river from Zolfo Springs to Brownville. Also, do not camp on the west side of the river between Gardner and Brownville Bridge. Not many camping sites available below Brownville. Paynes Creek State Historic Site is located .5 mile east of Bowling Green, off SR 664A. An interpretive center, picnicking and nature trails are available. Paddlers may continue downstream. Check maps for additional access points.
There may be access points (both public and private) in addition to those listed here. Please remember that some sites require a fee for launching and/or parking.
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