Arbuckle Creek

by  Tracysurf

A self-supported trip created by Tracysurf

Trip Overview

The Trip

My trip was +15 miles. Getting dropped off at the Avon Park Air Force Range (CR 64) and ended at Arbuckle Creek Road (Arbuckle Creek Boat Ramp). I put in on the East side. That area is posted and of limits to the public, but the guard was away. A public/private ramp is on the West side, but getting to it wasn't obvious and it didn't look welcoming.

Other than a few houses, barbed wire fences, and some artillery fire and boundary signs from the Air Force Range, the route is completely remote. There's enough of a canopy and dense vegetation, that much of the route was shaded.

Thurderstorm rolled through with heavy wind and rain. The canoe started to fill up with water, but I managed to find a clearing to get out and dump the water.


Lot's of native birds flying away as you approach. Would make for some great photos if you're fast enough.

Of course, gators are common, but I had so many encounters that it became a big part of the experience and admittedly, I was a bit concerned. It's likely the time of the year (August). Sunning gators spook and jump into the water. It happens so fast that I rarely saw the gator, but only the splash. Something I never adjusted to, startling me every time. At times close enough to rock the canoe.

At one section of the creek, I heard remarkably loud mating calls. I was about 7.8 miles downstream and sounded like someone kickstarting a motorcycle... something I never heard before and I had to Google it. (See the video to hear the faint growl and the splash of a spooked gator getting into the water just as the video ends. ).

Watch the bubble trials going under the boat... and you can count on a gator surfacing. One time I was stopped and looking at my GPS. One surfaced literally an arm's length away from me, scaring both myself and the gator.


Even though this was my second time doing this trip, it still amazed me. Lots of gators and a passing thunderstorm with heavy rain, wind, and lightning kept the thrill meter pegged.

I absolutely loved this paddle and would recommend it.

Safety Notes

Don’t tip over. Lots of big gators in places with no easy to get out of water.

Trip Details

  • Trip Dates: 8/14/2021
  • Sport/Activity: Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Beginner, Intermediate
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water

Trip Location