3 reviews
paddle sports
2 months ago

A great experience and recommended highly for reasonably fit paddlers with at least a moderate level of experience, including kayak camping. Research it well-once you start, there is no civilization until the end. No crossroads, no stores, no ranger stations, nothing but the Chickees and ground sites that you will be camping on. It may be accessible all year round but unless you are fond of paddling in full mosquito/no-see-um gear you don't want to except in the dead of winter (January and maybe the first half of Feb.). Also you are required to declare your campsites in advance and stick to them. They take commando camping very seriously here. It's not like a forest trail where, if things don't work out, you can just move off the trail and camp. You can't do that here-trust me-and if too many people show up at a Chickee it can be a serious problem. I strongly recommend paddle camping overnight in the area at least once before you start the trail and be prepared for some gymnastics getting on and off the Chickees. When I went there were a couple that still didn't have ladders. The park service has tons of good info online-read it. If you go in winter, after a couple of good cold fronts have dropped the mosquitos to a more tolerable level you will see other folks on the waterway, we never had a day when we didn't. If you don't have good navigational skills and/or a good nav app & GPS I would fore-go "The Nightmare" and take the coastal detour but we did it and I thought it was one of the highlights of the trip. Again, it was a wonderful experience and I highly recommend it to any serious paddler.