Sunday, March 29, 2020

Manatee Paddle - Jiggs Landing and the Braden River Trail, Bradenton, Florida

Until today, I had not paddled on the Braden River, a 21-mile waterway that drains an 83-square-mile area watershed in west-central Florida and is the largest tributary of the ManateeRiver. I found the Paddle Manatee: A Guide to Area Canoe and Kayak Trails (see REFERENCES below), an excellent resource to locate maps and places to go in my area. Much of the text in this post is from this Guide.

Kayaking from Jiggs Landing was a new kind of experience for OutdoorSteve, Cathy, and Martha because of Jiggs Landing’s unique accessible canoe/kayak launch.  I learned of this canoe/kayak launch when Cathy and I scouted the location and saw first hand how kayakers and canoers launched from a platform docked on the shore of the Braden River. The launch gives paddlers access to the entire Braden River and its freshwater system. It is accessible for handicappers.

Frankly, I was thrilled as I experienced first hand positioning my kayak on the ramp, and with the ramp’s distinctive design using side rails, bottom rollers, and sloped platform, I slide safely into the water.  Further, my take-out was from the same ramp.  Wow! 
The Braden River Trail is approximately 6 miles in total length. See the dotted BLUE lines of the map to reference this waterway trail. Public launch sites include Jiggs Landing, from which we put-in for our 3 ½ hour paddle. 

Our entry at Jiggs landing and take-out was part of this trail. Our paddle was limited to a five-mile loop upstream meandering through many side coves and marshes, as seen in RED in the below map. 

Manatees are present in the river almost year-round and may be found anywhere in the tidal river. We did not experience manatees on this trip, nor did we see alligators. However, beautiful birds and their songs, and their rookeries, were all along our paddle. In addition, varieties of beautiful flowers, mangroves, live oaks, and other various trees unique to this area were omnipresent.

The section from Jiggs Landing south upriver provides a peaceful, winding canoe experience. You can paddle from Jiggs Landing to the Linger Lodge (restaurant) and enjoy this eclectic local experience. We had dined at Linger Lodge before, and I encourage visiting it. However, our paddle upstream today did not reach Linger Lodge.

We certainly did not see all that the Jiggs Landing put-in has to offer.  We definitely will return to Jiggs Landing and:

  1.  Paddle downstream to Evers Dam
  2.  Paddle further upstream to Linger lodge for lunch/dinner
  3.  Look at our map and make sure we finish paddling all six-miles of Braden River Trail. 

Jiggs Landing is a 4 ½ acre site with excellent parking for cars and trailers and a kayaking/canoe washing area. Also a small restaurant with outside musicians playing. Jiggs Landing is located at 6106 63rd Street East, Bradenton, Florida. From Sarasota take I-75 north to Exit 217 (SR 70). Go west on SR 70 to Braden River Road (63rd Street East). Turn left (south) onto 63rd Street East. Jiggs Landing is .4 miles, just before the road turns east onto Linger Lodge Road East.

For more pictures, videos and narrative on our Jiggs Landing paddle, Click here for a 12-minute video.


" Everyone must do something. I believe I will go outdoors with family and friends"

Steve's 6th book is now available. Outdoor Play "Fun 4 Seniors" Volume III has trip preparations, routes, and narratives of bucket list places to go. Motivate friends and family to make the outdoors a key component of their daily life.

Steve’s books are also available as hardcopy and e-Books at Kindle and Morgan Hill Bookstore, New London, NH.

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