Ocklawaha River – Bear Creek Hwy 19 Loop

Leaving a Shady Rest StopToday we paddled close to home. One of the last remaining sections of the Ocklawaha River, that I have paddled but have yet to document. The entire Ocklawaha River – Bear Creek Loop, which begins at the Hwy 19 Bridge, goes East to the St Johns River, then back up Bear Creek, is about a 10-mile paddle. Today, however, we paddled a 6.5-mile loop, entering Bear Creek 3.5 miles down the Ocklawaha.

Bear Creek – Ocklawaha River Loop

Bear Creek in SeptemberBear Creek is a wonderful paddle through a typical Bottomland Hardwood Forest. Often flooded, bottomland forests are characterized by Cypress, Gum, Ash, Maple among others. The trunks are usually fluted and often form a tangled canopy overhead. The shoreline is loosely defined with the typical ‘Swamp Smell’, which are gases produced by decaying bacteria and vegetation. Bear Creek is known for its diversity of Flora and Fauna.