The Loxahatchee River is located near the southeast coast of Florida, stretching 7.6 miles long and covering 260 square miles. The slow flowing, peaceful river offers so many amazing sights, which you can see by taking a canoe or kayak through the waters. If you prefer to stay on solid ground you can also hike along the river’s edge.
There are only two Wild and Scenic Rivers in Florida, one of which is the Loxahatchee River. In 1985, Loxahatchee was named as the first official Wild and Scenic River due to its historical significance and diverse collection of wildlife. With so much to see and take in, a trip along the Loxahatchee River always proves exciting,
What To Expect Kayaking Down The Loxahatchee River
The Loxahatchee River has three different forks, all of which flow together at the central embayment. From here the waters flow out of the Jupiter Inlet and into the Atlantic Ocean. As you go down the river a gentle current pulls you, but on the way back you have to work a little harder against the current. For every one-hour you travel downstream, plan on it taking one-hour and fifteen minutes to travel back upstream.
Half of the journey includes narrow twisting pathways with clear waters and lush foliage. The lower half of the journey opens up more and the path is much less narrow. The narrower portion of the river is where kayakers tend to encounter the most exciting animals and sights. There are a few different routes you can take, but it takes approximately 4 to 6 hours in order to travel across the entire Loxahatchee River. (Learn more)
The Treasures Of Loxahatchee
Loxahatchee is highly treasured because of the wide range of species that call the river home. This one river provides so many different habitats. Some of the river contains salt water, another part fresh, and other areas are a combination of both. There are 10 predominant freshwater and saltwater habitats along the river.
Animals and habitats are only part of what you will see traveling along the river. There is a lot of history in the area as well. In fact, Trapper Nelson’s pioneer homestead from the 1930s is located right along the portion of the river that borders Jonathan Dickinson State Park.
Many years ago Trapper Nelson established his very own zoo right here along the Loxahatchee River. He caught all sorts of wild and exotic animals to display, and it didn’t take long for his zoo to become a popular tourist destination. His zoo flourished between the 1940s and 1950s, and Nelson became known as “Tarzan of the Loxahatchee.” Unfortunately, State health inspectors closed down the zoo in 1960.
What Animals Will You See In The Loxahatchee River?
The Loxahatchee River has such a wide diversity of species because it includes salt water, brackish water, and fresh water. Some of the awesome habitats you will see along the river include hardwood hammock, pinelands, freshwater marsh, cypress swamps, seagrass beds, oyster beds, coastal dunes and more.
There are plenty of animals as well; common sightings include manatees, rays, owls, wild turkeys, turtles, alligators, snakes, otters, deer, raccoons, bobcats, bats and more! (Reference)
Many different birds spend time here, it is estimated that 257 unique bird species use the diverse wetland habitats of the Loxahatchee every year.
Endangered species that call this River home include the Wood Stork and the Manatee. The Sandhill Crane and Peregrine Falcon are both threatened species that live here.
Human Impacts On The Loxahatchee River
Human impacts on the river can’t be ignored. Since the 1940s we have lost 6 river miles of cypress swamp, related directly to human impacts and industrialization. As a result the fresh water flow has decreased and greatly impacted the communities that call this river home. Thankfully, the DEP, SFWMD, and local organizations are hard at work to identify ways to preserve the sanctity of the river.
Travel Down The Loxahatchee
If you plan to journey down the Loxahatchee River make sure and wear clothes you don’t mind getting wet or muddy. When traveling through a wild river you never know what obstacles you will face, and wearing your favorite blouse is sure to end badly.
The coolest thing about this River is the diversity that it offers, parts of the river are calm, and wide open, while other parts are curvy, narrow, and more challenging to navigate. You should know how to swim in case your boat or kayak tips over. If you are up to the challenge you will have a great time exploring these naturally mystical waters.
Kayak down the Loxahatchee River with us! Camp Live Oak offers a fun guided adventure down the river as a part of our Teen Eco Experience. Contact us today to learn how your child can safely experience the thrills offered by the Loxahatchee River.