Located just 15-minutes from the St. Marys Historic Waterfront, Crooked River State Park is a favorite destination for paddlers and campers seeking the complete Coastal Georgia experience. Featuring both hiking trails and paddling trails, visitors are given full access to the maritime forest and marsh habitats that dominate this part of the Georgia coast. Crooked River State Park is not only the preferred launch-site for paddlers heading to Cumberland Island, it’s also home to one of six paddling trails making up the Georgia State Park’s Park Paddlers Club.
The Cherry Point Kayaking Trail at Crooked River State Park is a 4-mile loop that takes kayakers approximately 2-hours to complete. The trip puts-in precisely 90-minutes before low-tide and proceeds east past the driftwood covered beaches and bluffs of Crooked River State Park and into the salt marsh. About a mile into the trip, paddlers turn south and are met with a view of the buildings on the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base waterfront. Stingrays are commonly seen along the shoreline on this part of the trip — as are dozens of large wading birds and circling wood storks.
Osprey and Bald Eagles are often seen catching fish in the river on this trip; and it isn’t unusual to see dolphins and sharks eating shrimp and bait fish along the edge of the marsh. After rounding the point and putting the navy base behind us, there are several sandbars exposed for a brief break from the kayaks before riding the rising tide back to the take-out. Passing by the bluffs along the north border of the park, paddlers are treated to striking scenery and a swift ride. The erosion along the bluffs is evidence of the power and speed of the current in this river. The Crooked River has the swiftest tidal currents in the area, so kayakers must plan trips carefully according to the tides. Though the State Park has designated this trail as a self-guided trail, coastal kayaking — especially in the Crooked River — is not something beginners should attempt without instruction. Up The Creek Xpeditions provides rental kayaks and equipment for experienced kayakers who wish to paddle this trail as a self-guided trip.
For camping reservations or other information about Crooked River State Park,
contact them by telephone at:
Park Hours: 7AM-10PM
Office Hours: 8AM-8PM
$5 parking. Annual passes available.