Tucked away on the Eglin AFB Reservation is an unassuming creek that local paddlers have enjoyed for years. Plan a paddling trip on the Titi and become a fan as well.
Paddlers in the Florida panhandle have no shortage of places for canoes and kayaks, but some paddling spots are “best kept secrets.” One of these happens to be Titi Creek, pronounced tie-tie, located on the Eglin AFB Reservation just south of the city of Crestview. The Titi, named for the numerous Titi bushes that grow along its banks, offers a bit of something for almost every paddler.
Getting to Titi Creek
Accessing the put-in point for Titi Creek requires a recreational pass which is available from the Jackson Guard located at 107 Hwy. 85 North, Niceville, FL 32578. Purchase of the seasonal recreation pass provides outdoor enthusiasts with a detailed map of the Eglin Reservation and allows them access to 280,000 acres of the 464,000 acre Eglin Reservation. There are several excellent paddling creeks located on the reservation.
To get there, turn off of Highway 85 N onto Little Silver Road, also referred to as Range Road 211 on the Eglin map. Continue past the Okaloosa Correctional Institution. The road then becomes unpaved except over a creek crossing. Road signage on the reservation is spotty at best. Turn left at the first crossroad, Range Road 207, and keep right until reaching the put-in spot located next to a small concrete bridge over the creek. The final leg to the put-in has several deep sandy areas and a 4WD vehicle is highly recommended.
The entire trip from the put-in point to the take-out at the Shoal River bridge along Highway 85 is about eight miles. Only half of the trip is on Titi Creek, which twists and winds its way along before merging into the Shoal River for the remainder of the trip.
Exploring Titi Creek
This tannin-colored creek meanders past two other creeks, Honey and Silver, on its way to the Shoal River. Paddlers will often travel a short distance up the very shallow Honey Creek to have lunch at a convenient pull-over. A portion of the Florida Trail also parallels Titi Creek and hikers may occasionally be encountered crossing the bridge at the put-in location.
One of the most notable features of Titi Creek is when it begins to flow through a beautiful section of the cypress swamp. This occurs along the lower section of the creek before it finally merges with the Shoal River. First time canoeists and kayakers on the Titi would be wise to travel with someone who’s paddled the creek before and is familiar with the trail through the swamp in order to avoid backtracking.
Depending on the water level, paddlers can be faced with two very different paddle experiences. Negotiating the creek’s numerous twists and turns after a heavy rain can become a bit more technical for less experienced paddlers, although it makes getting through the cypress swamp a bit easier. At other times, lower water levels allow paddlers to enjoy the creek at a more leisurely pace, and the water is quite a bit clearer.
Other Local Paddling Trips for Niceville, Florida
Titi Creek is a great paddle, but while in the area be sure to check out Turkey Creek located in the Niceville, Fl area. This is another awesome paddle and a favorite among locals. Outdoor enthusiasts will find that both the Blackwater River near Pensacola, and Econfina Creek near Panama City well worth an additional day trip.
Additional Resources and Information:
Coordinates for Titi Creek put-in: N030 42.088, W086 29.535
Jackson Guard 850-882-4164
Special Thanks to the Choctawhatchee and Western Gate Chapters of the Florida Trail Association
This article is copyrighted by Beverly Hill