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Double Hammock South Branch

See trail guide below ... click on camera icons for photos at that location.

The Double Hammock Creek South Branch paddle trail takes you along a 5-1/2 mile round trip journey that may be challenging for novice paddlers. You will paddle through open Gulf waters and through narrow winding streams, and you might encounter strong tidal currents.

If you plan to complete the entire trail as shown, timing your trip will be essential. Some parts of the trail require a moderately high tide of about 2 feet for passage. Consult a tide table and plan to launch on a rising tide. If the tide has already crested, you are too late to launch.

Another consideration for this trip is the wind. Part of your trip will be through open Gulf waters. So if the wind is blowing more than 10 mpg, plan to get wet. If the wind is from the east, a windy day is probably okay since you will be hugging the shoreline. But even then, you could encounter whitecaps at the wide mouth of Salt Springs Run.

Hidden along Double Hammock Creek is a series of 18 geocaches. See HERE for more information.

  1. Access to the launch site is provided by the Kayak Launch Trail that runs from the main parking area in the Park. Another convenient launch point is Brasher Park at the west end of Koons Drive in Port Richey.
  2. The large building here is the Energy Marine Center - a research and classroom facility owned by Pasco County Schools.
  3. This is the mouth of Salt Springs Run. Check the trail maps for another paddle trail that takes you to the two springs that are the source of Salt Springs Run. If you look into the Gulf from this point, you'll see a number of houses on stilts about a mile offshore. Some of the nine that remain were first constructed nearly a hundred years ago, and have been rebuilt periodically after hurricanes.
  4. The south entrance to Double Hammock Creek is too shallow for larger motorboats at low tide. Just east of here you'll join the Westport Channel, dredged to accommodate boaters who live in the Westport subdivision. The main channel exits to the Gulf to the north.
  5. A typical lake - common to the Park area. Sometimes finding the entrance to these lakes through the mangroves, or along airboat paths, can be challenging. This one is easy to find and makes an enjoyable sidetrip. Watch for Great Egrets, Herons and Wood Storks in the trees, and mullet jumping in the lake.
  6. Navigate through a narrow rocky outcropping. Easy for canoes and kayaks - but watch out for motorboats who must stay in the channel to prevent running aground.
  7. A tricky area to paddle known as Aligator Pass. If you timed your trip properly, you will breeze through this section and quickly arrive in the southern branch of Double Hammock Creek. Our paddle trail shows you another way out - but if the tide is not high enough for that route, you will need to be a strong paddler to go back the way you came.
  8. You are now entering a serpentine creek running to the north. This is when you wish you brought the short paddle. Just take it slow and easy and you will make it through. This area of Needle Rush marsh is characteristic of a large part of the Park.
  9. The winding stream you just navigated is the result of runoff from the land to the east. But it is also fed by an underground source called "Gar Spring", located near this point. The houses on the north side of this canal are in the Westport subdivision - a development of houses and apartments with an entrance off Scenic Drive in Port Richey.
  10. The houses you see are located at the west end of Salt Spring Road, behind the Gulfview Square Mall. Some are remnants of a fishing village that has existed here for many years. Centuries ago, native Americans lived, hunted and fished here - the Park is home to many registered cultural and historic sites.
  11. Now it's time to make a quick return to Salt Springs Run through what is referred to as "High Tide Pass". Some also call it "the chute" because of the rapid water flowing in on a rising tide. Finding the entrance may be a challenge for newcomers - here's a hint: N28 17.650 W082 43.553. This small waterway is appropriately named - you will need about 2 feet of tide to paddle through unscathed. Less than that and you will need to get out and pull your watercraft or risk scraping the bottom. While the northern part of the Pass isn't all that pretty, it turns into a winding labyrinth with low-hanging mangroves as you proceed to the south.
  12. Now back in Salt Springs Run, it is pretty much a straight shot back to your launch point. If there is a strong wind from the east or south, just paddle past the Energy Marine Center and hug the southern shore. Having just come through High Tide Pass, you will have enough water to return by any path you choose.
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