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Crooked River State Park - Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip

Report Type: Destination Report
Nearest City: St. Marys, GA
Difficulty: Moderate
Submitted by: sheepscot_paddler View Profile

Description:

Crooked River Kayak Trails

Please stop at the visitors center to get a copy of the trail map for self guiding. Choose from 3 trails with colored markers and numbered plaques along the edge of the marsh corresponding to the numbers and colors on the trail map.

Recommended times to paddle to take advantage of semidiurnal tides (two highs and two lows per day) are based on average speed of 2 miles per hour.

Cherry Point 4-Mile Trail - launch at 90 minutes before low tide, get out for a stretch and snack on the sand bars, then ride the incoming tide back to the launch.
(4.3-miles round trip)

Harriett’s Bluff 6-Mile Trail – launch at 90 minutes before high tide, get out at the public ramp at Harriett’s Bluff or the sandy shoreline of Grover Island, ride the outgoing tide back to the launch.
(6.3-miles round trip)

Grover Island 8-Mile Trail – launch 2-1/2 hours before high tide, get out and stretch at a couple spots on Grover Island, ride the outgoing tide back to Crooked River. Continue against the tide along the north side of the river where the current is less then cross to the launch.
(8.4-miles round trip)

Dolphins travel in groups upriver to fish and are spotted 50% of the time on all three trails, listen for their blows as they surface to breathe to locate them. Once the dolphins corner a school of bait fish, they will surface often to breathe while feeding.

The private dock opposite 809 has an octagon shelter built on up pilings and is visible from a distance. More than 100 gulls, cormorants, and egrets perch on the raised boardwalk out across the marsh. Flocks of small birds fly in formation and all turn at once flashing from dark backs to light bellies for a dramatic visual effect.

The communications tower is an elevated marker beckoning you back to the Elliott’s Bluff public launch.

Look for the following along the trails:

  1. Bald Eagle spotting fish from tall trees of Grover Island 808 to 810
  2. Dolphin Sightings near markers 405, 605, 608, 801, 804, 816, 819, and 820
  3. Sand bars at lower tide levels are good places to get out and stretch. Oyster Beds along the shoreline contain sharp shells, protect your feet.
  4. Osprey Nest in dead tree behind 813, please respect their space, view from afar.
Be Safe – paddle with a friend, take plenty of hydration, snacks, sun protection, wear your pfd, and file a float plan at the office or leave one on your windshield. Carry the kayak trail map and a compass to help you find your way back in case of fog.

Accommodations:

Camp among the pines at Crooked River State Park.

Fees:

Parking Fee - $3.00 per day

Directions:

From I-95 exits 1 or 3, take route 40 to Charlie Smith Sr Hwy. Follow Charlie Smith Sr Hwy north to the end at Elliots Bluff.

Contact:

Crooked River State Park phone: 912-882-5256
website: gastateparks.org/info/crookriv/

Resources:

Get the trail map from the visitors center at the state park.


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