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Bear Lake to Fox Lakes Exploratory Paddle

Something a little different and very close to my heart.  I can take three more paddlers along as we meet with others from the Everglades Exploration Network. 

Some folks will be paddling from Coot Bay to Cape Sable for an overnight.  They goal there is to paddle using only natural waterways, and not the Homestead Canal.  The overnight is pretty full.  If interested,click on the link and

                   CLICK HERE AND READ ALL OF THIS

Please click above and read it, yes, I am repeating myself.  Sorry, this is important.  You must make arrangements directly with Vivian or Jay.  You will have to obtain your own camping permit on Friday, before the office closes at 5pm.  

Read all of it, this is not a paddle to play on.  I have paddled from Bear Lake to East Cape using the canal, in part.  I cannot say for certain you can do outside the canal, or even if there is still enough water in the canal to make it passable.  You may end up on a very long round-trip paddle.

OUR PLAN:  Those joining me will launch from the Bear Lake Canoe Trail.  From there, we will paddle the Bear Lake Canal to Bear Lake, cross the lake to Raulerson Prairie and head towards the bend at the old homestead canal.  Distance is about 6 miles, one-way.  We will split from the overnight group at this point.  They will continue to Cape Sable, we will head north to Fox Lakes.  The lakes have not been accessed in a long time, that I know of.  It seems doable.  The key word is "seems."  We will return to Bear Lake.

If you are attending, I can e-mail you the GPX file and kmz file for most of this route.  The Fox Lakes section is exploratory and yet unmarked.

LAUNCH TIME:    Be ready to launch at 7:00 a.m.

LOCATION:  Bear Lake Canoe Trail Launch

DIRECTIONS EVERGLADES NATL PARK:  Drive to Everglades National Park.  Visitors coming from the Miami area and points north should take the Florida Turnpike (Route 821) south until it ends, merging with U.S. 1 at Florida City. Turn right at the first traffic light onto Palm Drive (State Road 9336/SW 344th St.) and follow the signs to the park.

Once in the park, follow directions to the Flamingo Visitor Center. Give yourself plenty of time, that's about a 45-minute drive, nearly another 40 miles. YOU WILL NOT GO ALL THE WAY TO FLAMINGO. 

When you pass Mrazek Pond (on your left) slow down.  You will go over a small bridge as you approach Flamingo.  Immediately after the bridge, turn RIGHT onto the Bear Lake Trail road.  If you go to Flamingo, you went too far.  Turn back towards the bridge and look for the road. 

Once on the road to Bear Lake, you will feel as if you are lost.  This is a dirt road.  Stay on it, it will take you to a parking area.  Unload your boat on the left, by the canal.  Then park and get ready to paddle.  

MAPS of the area are available for download, for free.

Private vehicle: $10.00 - Good for 7 consecutive days at all park entrances.  For $25 you can get an annual pass.  Each kayak or canoe will also pay $3 to launch.


• Beverages, a lot

• Snacks and lunch, we will eat out on the trail

• Sunblock/Hat

• Gloves, the type you use for gardening

• Long pants and long sleeves strongly suggested

• Bug repellant, Bug Suit and/or head net if you have one

• Good footwear (you may have to get out of the boat)

• Waterproof camera

• Line/rope

• GPS, compass, charts, aerials

• Marking Tape!

• Light in case it gets late

• Towel and change of clothes for after.  There is a hot shower at Flamingo for $3, or thereabout

TERMS OF PARTICIPATION:  By participating in any of our paddles you assume all risks and responsibilities for your personal health and safety and for your equipment. It is important for everyone that each participant be prepared for the trip. Please use your discretion and best judgment when joining a trip. Be sure you are up to the paddle -- physically, mentally and that your equipment is appropriate for the intended outing. Know and respect your limits. Be safe and you will certainly enjoy another fantastic paddle.

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  • Esther

    Distance covered, approx 19 back country miles over skinny muddy water, crustacean covered trees, and some of the most beautiful sites in the glades. Three groups met on Bear Lake and crossed to crossed the Mud Flat Lake (Raulerson Prairie), then the group split up. Some headed south to connect to Cape Sable. This group went North to the Homestead Canala nd Fox Lakes.

    The first attempt to Fox was via the Homestead Canal; locate one of two old openings to East Fox Lake. Found the opening, it was clogged solid. The team backtracked to the HC bend and headed north again. This time, Bingo! Tunnels! Red Mangrove line the tunnels creating a twisting turning route. Water movement, a good sign. There were very few cuts on the trees, signs of prior human contact. The cuts are quite old. Cutting is not allowed in the park. The goal was to survey and report for future projects. No need, the route the Fox Lakes is open and clear. The route to the bend at HC, now that's more difficult!!

    1 · February 2, 2014

  • Rolando P.

    I am sorry Esther I am not felling very well next time

    January 31, 2014

  • Jonathan

    This is right up my alley but I'm buried and unable to do much paddling these days. Keep me in mind for the next time.

    January 30, 2014

  • Rolando P.

    Hello Please if you can send me the kml file to [masked] Bringing my sea kayak is ok on this trip right?

    January 30, 2014

    • Esther

      Yep. That's okay. You'll be okay on the SOT too. Just e-mailed you the gpx file

      January 31, 2014

  • Steve O.

    Dang. I'm interested but couldn't make it before 8am. Have to drop the wife n kids off at the airport at 6am.

    January 30, 2014

    • Esther

      Hopefully we will do this again. We'll take lots of photos. I hope we make it thought too. : )

      January 30, 2014

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