This is Segment 25, Region L. While this segment covers one of the largest urban areas in the state, paddlers will find vast stretches of marsh, islands, beach and coastal forest in prime condition. Helping drive the effort to save environmentally sensitive lands, the City of Jacksonville founded "Preservation Project Jacksonville" in 1999. The project has already acquired over 50,000 acres.
This segment begins at Palm Valley Road, near the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve. Heading north, the ICW goes straight and narrow for about nine miles along private land and the Guana River Wildlife Management Area. The west bank is relatively unspoiled and about halfway to the Hwy 202 bridge you pass TPC at Sawgrass, home to the PGA "THE PLAYERS" golf championship.
The ICW widens after the Hwy 202 bridge and becomes more natural looking, with numerous tree islands, tidal creeks and unbroken expanses of marsh. It is here that you'll be in the Northeast Florida Blueways, a scenic network of island preserves, tidal creeks and salt marshes along the ICW from Atlantic Beach to South Jacksonville Beach.
Proceeding north in the ICW, past Tideways and Dutton Islands you'll eventually reach Pablo Island, a small tree-covered spoil area. Sister's Creek Marina in the St. John's River basin is the take-out for this segment.
21 miles of Circumnavigational Trail
- Boat traffic can be heavy along the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), especially on weekends and holidays
- Paddling along the high energy East Coast shoreline is not recommended due to safety considerations
- There are no inlets in this segment connecting the ICW to the Atlantic with the exception of the St. Johns River. Jetties that extend almost two miles into the Atlantic along the mouth of the St. Johns make this option prohibitive.
- Paddlers in the ICW must often contend with a strong easterly shore breeze.
Primary Campsites & Distances Between on Circumnavigational Trail
- Palm Valley Road to Dutton Island, 16 miles
- Dutton Island to Sister's Creek Marina, 5 miles
- Police, Fire and Medical Emergencies: 911
- St. John's County Sheriff: 800-346-7596
- Duval County Sheriff: 904-630-0500
- Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission Hotline: 1-888-404-3922
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