Everglades Wilderness Waterway - Sat, Feb 4 2023

REGISTRATION & PAYMENT REQUIRED: Once you've reviewed the event details, and decided you'd like to join us, you MUST sign up at the bottom of this page. This is a paid event with payment managed by the trip leader(s) and NOT the AOC. Please read the event description carefully for payment details and instructions.

Everglades Wilderness Waterway

The Basics:
Event Type:Water
Event Location: Everglades City, Florida   Water: Everglades Wilderness Waterway  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Sat, Feb 4 2023  11:00 am >> Thu, Feb 9 2023 5:00 pm  (Carpool Departure: 7:00 am   *log in for location*)
Registration Opens: Thu, Jan 13 2022 8:37 am
Registration Cut Off: Thu, Jan 13 2022 8:37 am
Event Duration:5 Days 6 Hours
Difficulty Rating:D4: Moderate to Difficult (Exploratory)
Distance:58 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
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Member Cost:$13.00/Person (See Detailed Cost Info Below)

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:7
Minimum Group Size:3
Number Registered So Far: 5 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: No

Note: This is an "EXPLORATORY" trip. This means that there are parts of this trip, or perhaps the whole trip, that is new to your Trip Leader(s). However, they are confident that this will not be an issue.
This note is here so that you can make an informed decision. When a Trip Leader isn't personally familiar with a trip, there is an increased chance of things not going as planned and you need to be prepared. The Trip Leader may have additional details in the itinerary.


This trip is only Exploratory because I have not paddled the 5.5 miles between the Wilderness Waterway via Watson's Place to Mormon Key. I've done all other areas on two different occasions.

With the exception of Hog Key, all campsites and chickees (tent platforms set in the water) are equipped with Porta-potties.

Day 1. We will depart from the Everglades Gulf Coast Visitor Center boat ramp and paddle 13 miles to Pavillion Key and set up camp on the beach. We will likely see porpoises as we leave the river and head out into the keys. From our camp, we will have great views of the sunset over the Gulf. Later, we will build a campfire below the tideline. Pavillion Key is the spot where I've had the best luck catching speckled trout.

Day 2. The next morning will be a paddle through the Gulf. Often the water is dead calm early in the morning. If so, you may see large Tarpon breaking the surface in every direction. This interesting fish needs to surface to breathe. We will paddle 12 miles to Hog Key where once again we will camp on the beach and enjoy the sunset and campfire. If the weather cooperates, we will arrive at Hog Key with plenty of time left in the day. Rest or read a book. The water is very shallow, so further exploring via kayak would need to take tides into account, but you should have plenty of time for fishing. Generally, unless the weather slows our progress, we will have a lot of time after we arrive at camp.

On day 3, we will be paddling up the river. Our departure will be set to go with the incoming tide. We will paddle 11 miles up Lostman's River to Lostman's Five Ground site.  Going with the tide, we may make 4 mph while in the river. We will be intersecting the Wilderness Waterway which we follow much of the way on days 3 and 4. Lostman's Five has expansive views of the surrounding bay. We may arrive early so plan on further exploring in the kayak, fishing, games, or reading. After arriving early at the campsite, we could also take the kayaks out to explore the surrounding area of Lostman's Five Bay, Lostman's Five Creek, or Plate Creek Bay where there is a Chickee.

On day 4 we will paddle 11 miles. This takes us up Plate Creek and Alligator Creek, our best chance for spotting an alligator sunning on the bank. First, we paddle 6.5 miles, to the campsite at Darwin's Place where a man once lived raising rabbits. Here we will take a break before proceeding on the Wilderness Waterway another 3 miles before turning off the WW to paddle 1.5 miles to Watson's Place where we will camp. 

Day 5 is a very short day. We have two possible routes to Pavillion Key. We could take a route that involves more of the Gulf and passes by Morman Key (8.5 miles) or we can stay in the estuaries and paddle 8 miles to Pavillion Key. 

Day 6 will take us back to Everglades City. From Pavillion Key it is 13 miles. The tide starts coming in at about 8 AM, so it will be a quick trip. It is highly likely that we will see porpoises today. If we have camped at Jewel Key, then the return to Everglades City is only 5 miles.



(You are not confirmed for this trip until I speak with you and tell you that you are confirmed. Do not commit to non-refundable deposits until I confirm you are on the trip.)

Participants will be together for 6 days, sometimes camping in close quarters so we need to be sure participants are compatible and comfortable with one another. Also, we will be in remote areas where it is not easy or practical to change plans. We need to be sure that participants are comfortable paddling for as long as 6 - 7 hours per day and can show confidence in wind and waves.

Time of sign up

Strength of experience

Fit within the group dynamic


Required Items to Bring:

Ruddered Kayak Single or Tandem (At least 14 feet long, enclosed with skirt, and rudder). Although people paddle the Wilderness Waterway in canoes, canoes don't do well in high winds. I've been in open water with high winds on each of my WW trips. A kayak is easier to handle in high winds.

If you don't own a suitable kayak, kayak rentals are available at https://evergladesadventures.com/kayak-tours-rentals/kayak-canoe-rentals/. Reserve your kayak as soon as I tell you that you are confirmed for this trip because this is the peak time for kayak rentals. Be sure to rent one of the ruddered kayaks. You should select 6-day rental. Their website's published cost for 6-day rentals is as follows. There is a $26.50 non-refundable handling fee for cancellations prior to 72-hour advance notice. If you call Everglades Adventures less than 72 hours before, you will be charged full price.

Ruddered Single Touring Sea Kayak for 1 person: $330
Ruddered Tandem Touring Sea Kayak for 2 people: $460

Plus 13% tax


7 gallons per person of potable water (There is no fresh water available for the entire trip.)

Free-Standing Tent (Free-standing tent is needed for Plate Creek Chickee. Depending on the number of participants, we may need to coordinate a tent plan on how to fit tents in the limited space of Plate Creek Chickee.) If you don't have a free-standing tent you may be able to creatively use ropes, etc. to erect your tent on a platform.

Paddle with a leash.

Comfortable life vest.

Large sponge for bailing kayak.

A more complete list will be shared prior to the trip.


Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.

Trip Leader will be carrying the following.

Garmin Mini Satellite (for navigation, electronic marine charts, weather reports, Emergency SOS, texting, tracking)

(With the possible exception of Pavilion Key there is no cellphone reception)

Marine Charts, Compass

Binoculars (To help spot Wilderness Waterway Markers)


Optional for others in the group to bring.

Portable Marine VHS Radio for Emergency SOS, Weather (Mark does not have one.)

Garmin Mini Satellite or equivalent for emergency and texting as a backup to Mark's Garmin.



How to Get There:
Carpool to Event Distance (round trip):0Mile(s)
Carpool Departure Time: 7:00 am
Carpool Location:   Log in for location
Carpool Directions:   Log in for directions


Long portions of this trip are across open water. Weather conditions in this environment may require difficult paddling in high winds and waves. Distances were chosen to take into account the possibility of challenging paddle conditions where strenuous effort is needed to progress at 1 mph. Paddlers should be able to handle waves that come across the deck of the kayak. In these conditions, the kayak will take on water. A kayak skirt may need to be placed over the cockpit. Kayaks need to be at least 14.5 feet long and be equipped with a rudder. Participants should be comfortable using a pedal-controlled rudder or at least confident that they can become comfortable using one.

The itinerary is designed to avoid paddling against the tide. Shallow areas extend great distances beyond beaches, meaning that landing and launching on beaches at low tide could require carrying the kayak and equipment across muddy expanses. We will work to minimize this issue by landing near deeper water and launching at higher tides.

* We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.

Member Cost:$13.00/Person
Cost Includes:

National Park Campsite Reservation Cost. (Assuming 3 participants.)

The cost does not include lodging. Depending on your travel plans, you will need lodging for the night of your travel to Everglades City.

Estimated Individual Cost:

1st night lodging (Everglades City) - $200

Lodging on return trip - $100

Single Ruddered Kayak Rental (6 days) - $375

(You can bring your own kayak if ruddered and at least 14 ft long.)

Make a Payment:Although there is a cost for this event, you do not pay through the AOC. Please review the event details carefully for information about how/where to make your payment.

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:   Please review the AOC cancellation policy.