You may have never heard of Telegraph Creek in Florida before and that is okay. It is a hidden gem located deep in Fort Myers Florida. It is not a place you would think about paddling but, you should. Telegraph creek is a tributary of the Caloosahatchee River. If you want to do a fun paddle away from the big city with plenty to see this is the paddle for you.The creek probably measures no more than 25 feet wide at its widest point. Making this a protected paddle even on windy days. There is plenty of water running through the creek to pass with a paddle board but, be careful with fallen trees and tree nubs. For this reason it is truly a leisure paddle experience. If you decide to go fast and not take it all in you may be going in for an unexpected swim.
There are two possible launch sites. The first launch site is right off of the road. There is a sign that says Telegraph Creek. It is a relatively easy launch site with parking right off of the road. When you first launch into the creek you are going to go right under the bridge there. The second launch site is from WP Franklin Campground. They normally only allow you to use their restrooms but, sometimes the ranger will let you park there. If you launch from there keep in mind you will be adding mileage to your paddle. Make sure to ask the rangers for directions too.
At first the creek will be lined with nice little homes. Eventually the homes give way to more natural landscapes sometimes it narrows down to the point that you will be paddling in a single file line. Along all the twists and turns you realize you are paddling under a beautiful oak tree canopy. There is Spanish moss and Lilies pads everywhere. The wild life and not so wild life is something out of this world. There are plenty of gators and birds. We actually saw a pretty big one on our trip but, he didn’t want anything to do with us and swam away (thank goodness).
The thing that makes telegraph creek so special, besides the beautiful trees, are the animals. On this paddle we saw Llamas, goats, zebras, a camel and a few cows. Yes, you read that correctly. The banks along the creek get a little high so, it is hard to see some of them but, they are there. Sometimes they come right to the edge of the water. On this trip we saw a very friendly goat and a Llama along the creek’s edge. It truly was a site to see and something really out of the ordinary. After that we paddled a little more before making our way back.What if I told you you could see Nessie the Loch ness monster on this paddle. Would you go? Well Nessie may not be there but, when we went there sure was a tree that resembled this mythological creature. Use your imagination.
Most of this paddle is shaded so, even on hotter days this would be a cool paddle. The river has some flow but, nothing too crazy. This is a paddle I would love to do again and it is only about a 2 hour drive from Miami, Fl. So, it is a fun day trip that can be enjoyed by pretty much any one that wants to do it.PH by Ryan Pinder
Getting there: I google map WP Franklin Campgrounds and when I was a about 10 minutes away I saw the Telegraph Creek sign.
Paddle Level: Easy to Moderate
Distance: 4-7 miles
Site: Fort Myers Florida