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Backpacker Magazine – May 2010

Water: Ten Thousand Islands Loop, FL

See the Everglades by boat on this 23 mile trip.

by: Steve Howe, Map by NOAA

Explore liquid horizons, crushed-shell beaches, and islands hedged with thick mangroves on this three-day tour in the Gulf of Mexico. Most of this 28-mile route is sheltered, but strong winds and tidal currents can up the difficulty, and mazelike channels and miles of repetitive green shoreline make navigation challenging. To stay on course, match island shapes to your GPS screen and paper charts

INFO File trip itinerary and grab permits ($10/person plus $2/night) 24 hours in advance. (305) 242-7700; Trip data:

1. Visitor center
0461193E 2858626N; mile 0
Launch northwest toward Lane Cove.

2. West Pass

0454012E 2860204N; mile 5
Head 269 degrees west . The proper route curves south to open water.

3. Tiger Key
0450747E 2856720N; mile 8.5
At Gulf, steer southeast to beach campsite. Secure food and water against raccoons.

4. Rabbit Key
0461883E 2848129N; mile 19.7
Hug isles to limit exposure to wind and waves, and camp on northeastern beach.

5. Rabbit Key Pass
0463535E 2851563N; mile 22.3
Navigate this labyrinthine canal on a bearing of 340 degrees northwest.

6. Take-out
0463750E 2852993N; mile 23.3
A Wilderness Waterway marker confirms the correct route back to Chokoloskee.

Paddle Away
See more trip options.

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Reader Rating: -


Florida Native
Aug 17, 2010

If you get to Rabbit key at low tide, you have to haul your gear >100 yards to the camp site. At high tide, you can paddle right up to the beach. Be prepared for an incredible number of mosquitoes!


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