Barron Creek – Ferguson River loop in the
Ten Thousand Islands.
Counter clockwise paddling around Everglades City.
Please note that only about half of this route 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.
If you decide to go, get a real early start,
you only have till about 9:30 or so until they start running!
The airboat sounds a bit like some sort of “monster” gaining on you, but do show RESPECT to them by keeping out of the trail and pulling over to the right. You will certainly know when they are close! This is really their territory so to speak, so be courteous, smile & wave at the tourists. Watch for the prop wash after they pass you by. Keep in mind these folks are out there making a living!
“Close encounters of the airboat kind!”
That said, the area is beautiful, particularly the mangrove tunnels in the eastern section and the “prairie” zone just past that. The mangrove tunnels are possibly some of the most striking that you’ll find anywhere. This is why they run tourist airboat tours here. 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,so 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 then it’s straightforward from there on. Once you get half way through Ferguson Bay, you will see the markers for the park, and you’ll be in the “safe” from the airboats and loud noise. Of course as always, 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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With that said..