This sand-bottom river was given its name, “Perdido,” meaning “lost,” by the Spaniards who inhabited the area in the early 1700s. This “lost” river begins in southern Alabama and empties into Perdido Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The river was once used for lumber harvesting and efforts have been in place for many years to restore it to its natural state, including the restoration of the pine/wiregrass habitat. The Florida Greenways and Trails program already includes 18 miles of the Perdido River in its roster of paddling trails.
Unlike most Florida rivers, the Perdido is absent of any notable springs and is dependent on rainfall for its flow. Numerous sandbars large enough for camping or picnicking can be found along sections of the river. Above Barrineau Park massive log jams make paddling difficult and potentially dangerous. The most appropriate section for paddling starts at the Barrineau Park Bridge and continues southward 18 miles to Sand Landing in the Perdido River WMA. Below Sand Landing the river widens, is tidally influenced, and the presence of motor boats increases.
Wildlife on the Perdido River
Paddling on the Perdido River is a pleasant experience in a natural area devoid of houses. Wildlife such as deer, black bear and feral hog can sometimes be spotted along the river bank. Woodpeckers, hawks and herons are frequently seen on the typical float trip. Evidence of the presence of alligators was also discovered by the author on a recent trip down the Perdido. It pays to keep a watchful eye out and swim with caution on any river within Florida.
Put-in and Take-out Locations on the Perdido River
There are several locations for accessing the Perdido River making it easy to plan trips of different lengths. Barrineau Park Bridge is located at N30 41.417 W87 26.421 and can be reached by following Hwy 29 north of Cantonment to CR 196/Barrineau Park Road. Turn left and follow the road past CR 97 and CR 99 to reach the bridge via unpaved access. Launch vessels from the Alabama side.
By following CR 97 south paddlers can launch or takeout on Fillingham Landing Road. Continuing along CR 97 turn onto Old Bridge Road to reach The Pipes Landing. Both of these launching areas have picnic tables, grills, hiking trails and portable toilets. Two miles below The Pipes on River Access Road is Muscogee Adventures Unlimited which allows launching and parking for a small fee.
Sand Landing in the Perdido River WMA is the last reliable takeout point. This access point has a paved ramp, picnic tables, grill and portable toilet.
Approximate Mileage Between Access Points
- Barrineau Park Bridge to Fillingham Landing: 2.9 Miles
- Fillingham Landing to The Pipes: 4.3 Miles
- The Pipes to Adventures Unlimited: 2 Miles
- Adventures Unlimited to Sand Landing: 9 Miles
For planning purposes, the Perdido River is located just a few miles to the west of Pensacola. While in the area take an extra day to explore another notable river, the Blackwater River near Milton. Milton is also the state recognized “Canoe Capital” of Florida and has several more paddling destinations to delight enthusiasts. Plan a paddling vacation for the entire family and see what keeps paddlers coming back for more.
Adventures Unlimited, 160 River Annex Road, Cantonment, FL 32533; (850) 968-5529
This article is copyrighted by Beverly Hill