Wilderness Canoeing - Day and Overnight


The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge has nearly 120-miles of water trails that visitors can explore.  Both day-use and overnight options are available.


Day-Use Water Trails

The Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge maintains close to 120-miles of water trails that are open for visitors to explore.  Water levels and trail conditions vary based on time of year and rainfall, so be sure to call (Richard S. Bolt Visitor Center - 912-496-7836) in advance of your trip.  Bring your binoculars and a camera! Each season of the Okefenokee is beautiful and different.    


  • Visitors can explore the water trails by canoe/kayak or boat with small motor (10HP or less).  
  • Refuge hours vary seasonally, be sure to be off the water by the designated time.
  • Weather conditions can change quickly, be prepared.
  • Collecting of plants and/or animals is strictly prohibited.
  • Do not approach, harass, or feed alligators (or any wildlife species).  
  • Day-use visitors must stay on marked day-use trails (a portion of the refuge water trails are only open to overnight permit holders).
  • Do not stray off trail - this is for your safety!  People can be easily lost in dense vegetation, overgrown trails, and low water.
  • There are 4 boat launches on the refuge.
    • Main Entrance (Suwannee Canal Recreation Area) - Located near Folkston, bring your own boat or rent a canoe/kayak from Okefenokee Adventures.  This entrance gives you access to the Suwannee Canal (Orange Trail), Pink Trail, and Yellow Trail for day use opportunities.  
    • Stephen C. Foster State Park - Located near Fargo, this entrance also has opportunities for you to rent a boat (including a fishing boat with small motor) to explore the water trails, fish, and visit Billys Island.  Access to the Red Trail, Brown Trail, River Narrows, Suwannee River Sill, and Billys Island from this entrance.
    • Kingfisher Landing - This remote entrance is located between Folkston and Waycross.  No facilities are located here, visitors must bring their own boat.  Access to the Green and Red Trails.
    • Suwannee River Sill - Located off of 177 before reaching Stephen C. Foster State Park, this gravel boat launch allows visitors access to the Suwannee River Sill and the Brown Trail.  Water levels fluctuate at this entrance.  Access to the Suwannee River, downstream of the Sill, is also available here.
  • The Okefenokee has many designations, help us keep the refuge healthy, clean, and safe for future generations:
    • National Wilderness Area
    • National Natural Landmark
    • RAMSAR Wetland of International Importance
    • National Water Trail
    • World Heritage Site (proposed)

Overnight Wilderness Camping Trips (permit required)

Visitors also can have the opportunity to camp overnight at one of seven platforms or three islands in the swamp.  A trip can be anywhere from one-night to 4-nights.  A permit is required for these trips and can be secured up to 2 months in advance of your trip.  Information about the permit process, trails, platforms, and platform availability can all be found on Recreation.gov

For more information, see the refuge's Overnight Camping Permits page