Barron Creek – Ferguson River loop equals approximately 16 miles in total.
A very interesting paddle, see last pic for map of route. We elected to launch at the Everglades City Ranger Station put-in.
PLEASE keep in mind that only about half of this is inside Everglades National Park. The eastern portion, which is the Barron river & creek is NOT, and is an airboat trail frequented by tourist boats!! As such you will hear the airboat(s) in the distance, revving up & down as they negotiate the turns. Sounds a bit like some sort of “monster” gaining on you .. but do show RESPECT to them by keeping and pulling over to the right (you’ll know when they are close). This is really their territory so to speak, be courteous, smile & wave at the tourists, watch for the prop wash when they pass. Keep in mind these folks are out there making a living .. if you decide to go, get a real early start, you only have till about 9:30 or so until they start running. Once you get half way through Ferguson Bay, you will see the markers for the park, and you’ll be in the “safe”.
That said, it is beautiful, particularly the mangrove tunnels in the eastern section and the “prairie” area just past. After this you’ll come into a cove with some of the stickiest, clingiest & bottomless quicksand/mud that there is! If you capsize here for some reason .. well good luck!! We just got through on very low water, but it was tough going, don’t stop, keep moving so that you have a chance of staying on top of the muck. Right after this you’ll enter Ferguson Bay, and it’s straightforward from there on. Of course you should work with the tides as much as you can.
BIG thanks to Terry Helmers of the Everglades Exploration Network for organizing!
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DISCLAIMER:: The maps and images on this site are not intended for navigation, I am not a guide; use any and all information at your own risk! Your mileage may vary .. so use good judgement before venturing out!
With that said..