Chipola River Greenway Overview
The beautiful Chipola River Greenway is a chain of five parcels of land totaling approximately 291 acres located along the west side of the Chipola River. The Chipola River Greenway is home to many rare plants, birds, butterfly and animal species and as trails are created, special care is taken to ensure the conservation of these special habitats.
The Chipola River Greenway is connected by water to City owned and maintained Yancey Boat Landing, as well as to several State owned parks. Yancey Boat Landing is accessible by automobile on North Jefferson Street (Cavern’s Road) less than a half of a mile from the Noland Street Trail Head.
The Chipola River is fed by a natural spring located at Jackson Blue Springs, a Jackson County managed and State owned park. The spring feeds directly into Merritt’s Millpond before encountering a dam located on US90.
The Chipola River Paddling Trail
The Chipola River Canoe Trail is officially designated as part of Florida’s Statewide System of Greenways and Trails. The Paddling Trail begins at the SR 166 Bridge one mile north of Marianna and ends at Scotts Ferry Bridge on SR 71 for a total length of 52 miles.
This beautiful paddling trail flows through river swamps and hardwood forests of beech, magnolia, oak and dogwood. Beavers, otters, alligators, turtles, deer, as well as many birds are seen on the river. Limestone bluffs and caves are also seen along the river. Several shoals, including “Look and Tremble” below the SR 274 bridge are found especially during low water levels.
Butler Recreation Area
The Butler Tract of the Chipola River Greenway is roughly 110 acres of floodplain forest and loblolly pine along the Chipola River. The park entrance is located across from Butler Avenue in a quiet neighborhood. A $2 donation is suggested at the gate with envelopes and drop box provided. There are benches and a few picnic tables at the park (one at the entrance, others scattered throughout the trail) which make this a great place to take the family. Lots of wildlife; great for birding, always see deer in the area (or their tracks on busy days.) Since this is a floodplain area, don’t wear your nice shoes–expect that there will be mud. GPS at Location: 30.784436° N, -85.221353° W; address at 3017 Noland St, Marianna, FL.
On Friday, January 15, 2016, the official groundbreaking ceremony for the Gateway Overlook was held. Located not far off US Hwy 90 behind O’Reilly’s Auto Parts and the Old US Road, it will include 650 feet of boardwalk and two miles of nature trails on a 125-acre parcel on river frontage land. The Gateway Park will include picnic areas on the bluff, and a ramp will lead to the river for the launching of canoes and kayaks.
Hinson Conservation and Recreation Area
If you’re ready to spend the day exploring, don’t miss your chance to wander the 4 miles of trails in the Hinson Conservation and Recreation Area at the southern end of the Chipola River Greenway. The trails are maintained by the Florida Trail Association, Chipola Greenway Volunteers, and local Boy Scouts and were designated as a National Recreation Trail in 2013.
The Hinson Recreation Area is a wonderful place to hike, fish, or just go for a picnic with the family; there are several tables placed throughout the park. The area features ample parking, lots of room for kids to run, and a small boat launch add to the appeal.
For more information on hiking at Hinson, check out the Florida Hikes! page here.
GPS at Location: 30.757621,-85.213923; address at FL-73, Marianna, FL 32448