Mud Swamp-New River Wilderness


Cypress swamp in the Mud Swamp-New River Wilderness
Cypress swamp in Mud Swamp-New River Wilderness

Mud Swamp/New River Wilderness is an 8,090-acre refuge designated by Congress on September 28, 1984, in Apalachicola National Forest.

Mud Swamp is essentially a large pool of standing water held in place by the clay-rich soil beneath it and constantly fed by the New River. Water depths vary from a few inches to several feet, depending on the season. Scattered around the swamp are numerous small islands and hardwood hammocks.

This is another place in Florida where humans are horribly outnumbered by biting insects (so the best time to visit is February). You'll also find a fair few alligators and even some black bear, wild boar and white-tailed deer in the area. Among the wiregrass you'll also come across pygmy and eastern diamondback rattlesnakes. There are no old roads and no trails, anywhere. Hiking and hunting in the area are extremely challenging.

New River flows in from the north and until it hits the swamp, the river banks are lined with Atlantic white cedar. The underbrush in this area tends to be relatively thin but that doesn't make getting around any easier. Most visitors come in on canoes or kayaks. They put in near Carr Bridge and float the six miles down to old Magnolia Landing (which is only on the older maps). Unless you know the many different channels along this twisted route, you might get yourself into serious trouble.

Cypress swamp at Mud Swamp-New River Wilderness
More cypress swamp at Mud Swamp/New River Wilderness