Lower Reedy Creek: Rough Island North and South, and Johnson Island
Reedy Creek watershed is one of the most diverse and intact watercourses in the area. While floodplain swamp dominates, 13 additional communities, including rare dry prairie, mesic flatwoods and scrub are also found. You can enjoy this biologically diverse treasure by boat, starting from the closest boat launch at Cypress Lake. There, you are at the southernmost end of a 25-mile-long, unchannelized and seasonally fluctuating blackwater stream that runs south from its headwaters in Lake County through Orange, Osceola and Polk counties. Reedy Creek connects Lake Russell to Cypress Lake and Lake Hatchineha.
As you proceed north, you'll be struck by how open the landscape is-a winding, natural waterway through a marshy pasture that steadily gains vegetation and becomes a canopied creek. Take in the expanding cypress forests, with the youngest trees taking hold at the edge of cypress domes. Plan to take a break at the "Cowboy Camp" established in the 1920s on Rough Island South. You will find picnic tables under mature, shady oaks by hiking one-quarter of a mile from Dead River on Rough Island South or three-quarters of a mile from Reedy Creek hiking north to a large hammock on the south end of Rough Island North. You can explore the property on foot, but there are no established hiking trails. Also, enjoy the picnic area at the south end of Johnson Island.
In all, you can go for four miles from the start of Reedy Creek until you reach an area that is off limits during the breeding and nesting season for the federally endangered wood stork. Access is limited other times of the year. The water level at the lower end of the creek tends to be quite shallow during the dry season, so check ahead for accessibility. Uplands east of the creek support nesting and breeding sites for numerous kinds of birds and provide habitat for wild game such as turkeys and white-tailed deer.
For More Information:
Orlando Service Center FL WATS 1-800-250-4250 or (407)858-6100.
Activities by Site
- Lower Reedy Creek: bird-watching, camping (tent), fishing, wildlife viewing
- Rough Island North and South: airboating, boating, camping (tent), canoeing, fishing, hiking, kayaking, picnicking
- Johnson Island: airboating, boating, camping (tent), canoeing, fishing, hiking, kayaking, picnicking
- The closest boat launch is the Lake Cypress Boat Launch.
This is a county-maintained boat launch on the right at the end of Lake Cypress Road, which is approximately 11 miles south of St. Cloud on C.R. 523, also known as Canoe Creek Road.