My friend and I headed out of Jacksonville n the way for a day paddle on Spruce Creek. However, the farther south we went the harder the rain. By the time we got to the put-in at Spruce Creek it was clear that the weather was going to be too bad for our planned paddle. We headed back north thinking to stop off at Tomoka, Bulow or Pellicer Creeks, whichever was the first one we hit after the weather cleared up.
That turned out to be Pellicer, a 4 mile Florida canoe trail. We got off I95 onto US 1 and drove to where it crossed Pellicer. We checked out the creek, but although there was one small ramp, it seemed to be on private property and there were no other put ins. Then my friend remembered Faver-Dykes State Park, which was right down the road. It turns out this is the official put in for the canoe trail.
The park has a number of dirt road and finally about a mile in we found the ramp. There was also a small launching dock and there were also canoes there that looked like they could be reserved through the park. With the late start we didn't get on the water until 11:15. The tide was going out, so the current was noticeable, but we had no trouble paddling upstream.
In this area the marsh grass (spartina) came down to the banks on both sides of the creek. There was evidence of alligator activity, but we didn't see any. There were lots of birds though, herons, buzzards and an osprey. There were also a lot of mullet jumping and gar rolling on the surface.
The air was still and humid, but it was overcast, so not too hot. As we continued to paddle the spartina began to be broken up with palms, cypress and pine trees and ferns. The water also was getting both fresher and clearer and we began to see more bluffs along the banks with an occasional house.
Finally a breeze started to pick up and by now most of the spartina had been replaced with fresh water flora. After about an hour we passed under I95. We had seen it off and on through the trees, but the creek has quite few bends, which made the approach a bit longer than we had guessed. Not too far after I95 we crossed under US 1 and the ramp we had seen during our scouting trip. Soon after US 1 the creek began to narrow down quite a bit with more downed trees and limbs to scoot around. Eventually the creek petered out and we decided o turn around. The water was quite still back here and was clear enough that I could see three 2 1/2 to 3 ft gar motionless under the surface.
We got back to US 1 and the ramp about 1:00 and decided to have lunch sitting on the little wharf there. After about a half hour leisurely lunch we headed on. By this time a stiff breeze had come up and slowed our progress a bit, but it wasn't too long before we were back to Faver-Dykes and the ramp. We were out of the creek by about 2:30, then packed up and headed back to Jacksonville.
It was a very nice, short paddle and a nice substitute for aborted Spruce Creek trip.
There is a campground at the park and at the launch there is a picnic area and restrooms. Looks like this also rent canoes with advanced reservations.
There was a $2.00 entrance fee.
Head south on I95 from Jacksonville or St. Augustine and get off on US 1, exit 92. Go north on US 1 for 300 yards and turn right on Faver-Dykes Road. Go 1.5 miles on Faver-Dykes Road to Faver-Dykes State Park.