My son and I arrived early at Everglades City at the Ivey House and arranged to be shuttled by North American Canoe Tours from the put out/arrival point along the shore of Chokoloskee Island near the mouth of Turner River and dropped off at the put in along hwy 41.
The trip started along in a south direction and we paddled along a lush and green foliage bordered clear watered softly moving stream that wasn't too wide from bank to bank. Lots of wildlife to see like birds of all types and all sizes of turtles, beautiful water lilies adorned the way in abundance. The creek disappears into a mangrove tunnel that is just wide enough to allow the kayaks to enter if you crouch. (yes the map given at the Ivey House is a must as it can be a little confusing with out it!)
This very shaded mangrove tunnel is at least about 150 yards, if not more, and paddling was useless and we got thru by grabbing mangrove roots and pushing ourselves along and at a good clip I would say after we got the hang of this un-orthodox style. It was like shooting pool, grab-aim-pull and sometimes we would glide along without having to touch the roots for 30 or 40 feet. After what seemed like a long time we emerged into a wider and darker section of the river that seemed like a marshy area. We could hear airboats in the area and arrived at an intersection that again having the map was the trick to knowing the way as sometimes what appears to be isn't and what doesn't appear to be is.
We continued to paddle along for a couple of miles before we re-entered into another mangrove tunnel that seemed to mirror the previous one and quickly adopted the grab-aim-pull style of jetting thru this shady section. We again re-emerged into a more traditional everglades mangrove lined river and paddled into a fierce incoming tide for another 3 miles until we arrived at the mouth and paddled across the small bay to the put out.
There was really no beaching nor swimming areas, though we took a small break on a shallow bank that was 2 ft deep and we ate our lunch in the kayaks. The entire paddle must have been close to 9 or so miles. This was a moderately demanding and long (but beautiful) grab-aim-pull/paddle that drew some sweat but no complaints. It is preferable to go in the winter as to the possibility of heavy mosquitoes must be considered.
The Ivey House is a nice hotel right across from the North American Canoe Tours Center
There are no permits required unless you plan to fish which then you need a fishing license
Hwy 41 (Tamiami Trail between Naples and Miami) and turn south at Hwy 29 into Everglades City to N. American Canoe Tours
N. American Canoe Tours: 941-695-3299
Ivey House: www.iveyhouse.com/
The map sold for $6.00 at the canoe outfitter is very important as the way can get confusing for the first timer and even for the repeat paddler.