Campsite 47 is on Warren Bluff Road and we were encoutering large water-filled holes that when we realized we had missed the turn to this site. We didn’t feel like retracting our bumpy/muddy excursion to find it. We will report on it when it dries out. Warren Bluff Road probably should not be attempted when its wet by passenger cars. Tate’s Hell State Forest was purchased by the state for restoration of a critical watershed for two major north Florida rivers and restoration is the primary mission of this forest. GPS location: 29.87059, -84.68293.
You can reserve this camp site on Reserve America, Tate’s Hell State Forest, Picketts Bay section. When you get to your site, check cell coverage and find closest point where you can get that coverage. If you need to call 911 give 640 Sunday Rollaway Camp Road, Tate’s Hell State Forest, as your address, GPS 29.90432, -84.65221. First responders will not be able to find you if you only give a campsite number. Reserve America will not include this information on your confirmation.
Sunday Rollaway bears the remnants of the pine plantation which it was before the state of Florida acquired Tate’s Hell State Forest to restore it to its natural function — a watershed for the Ochlockonee and Apalachicola Rivers.
After a long entry drive, one comes across this delightful end of the road camp site.
The photo above is facing the entrance. It’s what one would see while camping here.
If you have children, they will immediately be taken by the small sandy area at the end of the road where the remnants of pilings which held a bridge are still visible.
Although folks who bank fish may wish access to the end of the road, it seems you can spread out as much as you like without blocking road access to them as a matter of courtesy. Those wishing to launch come campsites are allowed to do so in Tate’s Hell State Forest; hopefully they will respect your desire for privacy and room and will park the cars at the entry and walk in to the river once the boats have been unloaded.
The channels alongside the campsite may make for a buggy summer. This seems an ideal fall through spring site.
The campsite sits high enough above the water line that it will remain dry.
A small area of sand at the end will allow for easy access of canoes or kayaks.
The view to the left at the end of the road is the Crooked River East and to the right Crooked River as it winds itself into and estruarian environment to join the Carrabelle River (New river) and then to the Gulf of Mexico.
Tate’s Hell provides several different type of low land ecosystems in which to camp. You will be camping in estuaries here — giving you wide expanses of sky (sun and moon).
In an prematurely early spring we saw buckwheat trees in full bloom along the entry and white violets on the ground.
There are few trees on this site, so it may be very hot during the summer. Not sure whether you’ll be close enough to the ocean to benefit from evening breezes.
If you camp here, please post your comments on the box provided at the end of this post.
The way the campsites are listed on Reserve America is enough to frustrate even a avid puzzle fan.
Here’s an easier way to find that campsite using the Tate’s Hell State Forest map. To shorten this, I’m using abbreviations: CS for campsite, CG for campground, RV/T means both RV’s and tents are allowed on that site; T means tent only. Womack Creek is under two separate categories: Tates Hell Womack Creek Campground and Tate’s Hell Womack Creek Primitive Campsites.
On Reserve America the sites are listed under the following categories: 1) Tate’s Hell State Forest Juniper Creek Primitive Campsites, 2) Tate’s Hell State Forest New River Primitive Campsites, 3) Sumatra Primitive Campsites, Tate’s Hell State Forest, 4) Tate’s Hell State Forest County Line OHV Campground, 5) Tate’s Hell State Forest Pickett’s Bay Primitive Campsites, 6) Tate’s Hell State Forest Rock Landing Campground, 7) Tate’s Hell State Forest Deep Creek Primitive Campsites, Florida, 8) Tate’s Hell State Forest Womack Creek Primitive Campsites, 9)Tate’s Hell State Forest Womack Creek Campground, 10) Tate’s Hell State Forest High Bluff Primitive Campsites, 11) Tate’s Hell state Forest Crooked River Primitive Campsites, and the most recently opened 12) Tate’s Hell SF Cash Creek Campground, Florida.
First, get the Tate’s Hell State Forest map from the Tate’s Hell site — this gives you an overview of the whole forest. The campsites are noted by black triangles. The reference guide below tells you what the name of the campsites or campground you should find your desired campsite. Look at the previous paragraph to see how that section is named.
Campsites in bold type has a separate report and photographs of that site. Sites marked with asterisks * are not reservable walk-in sites where you pay at the site or at the forestry office.
CS 1 Sumatra, RV/T
CS 2 North Road, New River, RV/T
CS 3 New River west of river, New River, RV/T
CS 4 Gully Branch, New River, RV/T
CS 5 Dew Drop, New River, RV/T
CS 6 Borrow Pit, New River, RV/T
CS 7 Borrow Pit, New River, RV/T
CS 8 Parker Place, New River, RV/T
CS 9 Pope Place, New River, RV/T
CS 10 New River East, Pickett’s Bay, RV/T
CS 11 Gully Branch, Pickett’s Bay, T
CS 12 New River east of river, Juniper Creek, RV/T
CS 13 New River east of river, Juniper Creek, RV/T
CS 14 New River east of river, Juniper Creek, RV/T
CS 15 New River east of river, Juniper Creek, RV/T
CS 16 New River east of river, Juniper Creek, RV/T
CS 17 New River east of river, Juniper Creek, RV/T
CS 18 Boundary Road, Juniper Creek, RV/T
CS 19* County Line OHV, OHV Campground, RV/T (not reservable, walk-in site)
CS 20 County Line OHV, OHV Campground, RV/T
CS 21 County Line OHV, OHV Campground, RV/T
CS 22 Bus Stop, Juniper Creek, RV/T
CS 23 Log Cabin, Womack Creek Primitive Campsites, RV/T
CS 24 Log Cabin, Womack Creek Primitive Campsites, RV/T
CS 25 Log Cabin, Womack Creek Primitive Campsites, RV/T
CS 26 Log Cabin, Womack Creek Primitive Campsites, RV/T
CS 27 Nick’s Road Landing, Womack Creek Primitive Campsites, RV/T
CS 28 Loop Road, Womack Creek Primitive Campsites, RV/T
CS 29 Womack Creek, Womack Creek Campground, T
CS 30 Womack Creek, Womack Creek Campground, T
CS 31 Womack Creek, Womack Creek Campground, T
CS 32 Womack Creek, Womack Creek Campground, T
CS 33* Womack Creek, Womack Creek Campground, T (not reservable, walk-in site)
CS 34 Womack Creek, Womack Creek Campground, RV/T (electric hookup)
CS 35 Womack Creek, Womack Creek Campground, T
CS 36* Womack Creek, Womack Creek Campground, RV/T (electrical hookup) (not reservable, walk-in site)
CS 37 Womack Creek, Womack Creek Campground, T
CS 38 Womack Creek, Womack Creek Campground, T
CS 39 Womack Creek, Womack Creek Campground, T
CS 40 Womack Creek, Womack Creek Campground, T
CS 41 Rock Landing, Rock Landing, RV/T
CS 42 Rock Landing, Rock Landing, RV/T
CS 43 Rock landing, Rock landing, RV/T (not reservable, walk-in site*)
CS 44 Crooked River, Crooked River, RV/T
CS 45 Crooked River, Crooked River, RV/T
CS 46 Sunday Rollaway, Pickett’s Bay, RV/T
CS 47 Oxbow, Pickett’s Bay, RV/T
CS 48 Warren Bluff, Pickett’s Bay, RV/T
CS 49 Pidcock Road, High Bluff, RV/T
CS 50 Rake Creek, High Bluff, RV/T
CS 51 Dry Bridge, High Bluff, RV/T
CS 52 Doyle Creek, Deep Creek, RV/T
CS 53 Deep Creek, Deep Creek, RV/T
CS 54 Whiskey George, Deep Creek, RV/T
CS 55 Cash Creek, Cash Creek Campground, RV/T
CS 56 Cash Creek, Cash Creek Campground, RV/T
CS 57* Cash Creek, not listed on Reserve America, (not reservable, walk-in site)
*The walk-in sites means that it’s on a first come basis. You pay at site or at the forestry office and you do not have to pay the additional reservation fee to Reserve America.
Hopefully, this will help you to find the right campsite.
We hope eventually, we will be able to report and photograph every campsite to give you additional information.
What is not generally known is that Tate’s Hell is a great location for paddlers of all skills. It offers a 9 mile wilderness trail from FR 22, Sumatra campsite soon after put-in to campsite 17 (with no access to the river by road until CS 17). This section of the new is navigable usually only during the spring high water period and requires some stamina since one never knows what conditions the trail will offer (portages, scoot-overs, limbos, climb-over large tree trunks, etc.) There are good learn-to-paddle areas like Trout Creek and Barrow Pit pond (CS 6-7) and a delightfully short or longer, depending on tide, full-of-wildlife Pine Log Creek right off CR 67. There are lots of possibilities for overnight camping while paddling. From Log Cabin campground on the Ochlockonee to Womack Creek Campground and stopping to do Womack Creek to Nick’s Road primitive campsite and back. Then south to the Crooked River and Loop Landing PCS to Rock Landing Campground with a vault toilet. One can continue to paddle on the Crooked west and with a possible road portage if the river is too high under the bridge at CR 67 bridge and Crooked River to Sunday Rollaway campsite and Warren Bluff campsite on the west of CR 67. Then to Pope Place on the New River and, you wish, upstream as far as your stamina will take you, with all the New River sites (some easily accessible by river). Tate’s Hell SF is made for paddlers!
This campground is a 2.5 miles walk to the Womack Creek Campground with its showers and flush toilets. There is no potable water source here.
The covered pavilion and a concrete picnic table/bench near the water provide good places to stop for a picnic.
There are three camp sites, out of the way of the Day use area, but near the vault toilets which can be seen on the right side of the road.
For rivers, creeks, campsites, roads and other references in the articles in Tate’s Hell State Forest see: http://www.freshfromflorida.com/content/download/27522/521772/TatesHellSF.pdf
This is a forestry brochure for Tate’s Hell. The map is on screen 3. Hit “view” on your toolbar then “rotate” to rotate map. Adjust % (magnification) on PDF top bar to enlarge or minimize. (For computer literate: we are placing these directions for people like us, who grew up on typewriters. Humor us.)
This map does not include a handful of newer campsites, including Pidcock Road camp, which is to the east of Cash Creek Day Use (CC) on the river.
Remember: Tate’s Hell is Florida’s second largest forest with 202,000 acres. Blackwater River State Forest is the larges, with 220,000 acres. This is why we wish to save these forests for the enjoyment and solace which wilderness can provide for future Floridians.
March 26, 2014
Start at Rock Landing (3.5 miles west of loop campsite) on the Crooked River and paddle west.
Rock Landing is about 4 miles from the Ocklockonee River. Crooked River has neither up-river nor down-river, tides come in through Ochlockonee River to the east and from Carrabelle River (New River) on the west. It is an alternate trail of the North Florida Circumnavigational trail. Some paddlers go up two miles on the Ochlockonee to Womack Creek Campground for a hot shower.
Tom Hahn Creek is 1 mile west of Rock Landing. But before that, .4 mile west of Rock Landing, is a smaller .4 mile creek where we saw a yellow headed night heron. There is more variety in plants and shrubs on Tom Hahn Creek, except there may be more open blooming iris and golden club patches on the first short branch.
About .4 of a mile upriver on Tom Hahn Creek the creek forks. The fork to the right is about 1/2 mile long before thickets and low water may deter you. The one on the left is about 1.1 miles log before you encounter real obstacles (there are overhangs and snags in the river toward the end).
Right now on the right branch and the shorter other creek, golden clubs are blooming. There are more blooming native pinxter azaleas on the branch to the left, swamp jessamine, lots of blooming titi shrubs and blackberry blossoms, but we saw no honey bees. Fetterbush were blooming in one large bush on the longer branch.
Expect in a few weeks blue flag iris and spider lilies.
The longer branch is wide at the entrance and narrows about 3/4 miles. We saw more alligators here than any other creek in the last 2 days — 5 alligators.
On the Crooked River, you may have tides against you or the wind or both. Keep to the shoreline and you may escape the full brunt of any wind.
Once leaving Rock Landing there is no easy place for a pit stop. On the Crooked River, the land to the north is Tate’s Hell State Forest, opposite lands are in private ownership.
Tupelo, cypress, pines, Florida maples are some of the trees you will see on the crooked river. On the way back to Loop campsite east of Rock Landing, we stopped for 15 minutes to try to photograph a beautifully golden-capped prothotonary warbler in a shrub. We were unsuccessful. It seemed undeterred by us, but kept itself under tight cover.
We’ve always wanted to camp here, a cosy (but large site) right on the Crooked River, far away from the main traffic of the forest roads, yet less than 2 miles from the Womack Creek Campground if one wanted to get a hot shower.
We had paddled over 10 miles on Womack Creek, doing our weekly spring observation field work. There were two sites at the Womack Creek campground filled — we were glad to see that people are finding out what a lovely place it is to camp. But we had reserved this site (850-697-3734 – Carrabelle Tate’s Hell Forestry) — it is one of the most popular sites in Tate’s Hell — and we had it for one night.
It was predicted to get to the low 40’s, something which we could tolerate in our 40 degree stated, actual 50 degree, sleeping bags, but we brought along our 20 degree bag, just in case to use as a quilt — a luxury when car camping, not possible when kayak/camping. We were hoping to do a 15 mile paddle the next day with headwinds expected on the paddle back. We needed to get a good night’s rest.
We had brought along some of the heavy pine wood which a previous camper at Womack Creek had given us — we had used our scroungy pine logs and saved his. We found out that it was heavy because it was green, and it took some coaxing and adding of pine cones, leaves & pine needles and dead branches to get the fire going. Fortunately we had an ax with us and we split the logs so it would burn better. In two hours we had a nice fire going, but we saved enough logs to have for the morning fire — 40 degrees can be cold right out of a warm sack.
Twilight at camp is always a nice time and coming in earlier to set up camp so one can relax at that time is one of the pleasures of being outdoors. Facing the river, enjoying our hot drinks around the fire, one of us surveyed the trees across the river, enjoying the spring colors. The other, fortunately was looking at the river. A curious otter, fat and larger than any he had seen, popped his/her head out, didn’t like what he/she saw and gracefully dove under water. The only part of the otter the tree-viewer saw was its back and glistening tail.
The wind brought chill, but the fire, once it got going, was sufficient to keep us there until 10. These campfire sessions for two, when all good talk is exhausted, led us to start reading Shakespeare, which plays were but faint memories. We did Julius Caesar last March at St. George Island Campsite, Romeo and Juliet in February, can’t remember which campground, we got bogged down on King Lear — probably not a good play for campfire reading — and Macbeth on October 31 at Florida State Caverns campground. Hamlet was in the pouches of one of our car seats, ready for reading.
But it was a perfect night for taking in the whole of the place, a crescent moon just over the trees in the south, then a single star and then more as the night progressed. No one was around, no boats on the river, no cars on the road, no sounds except the crackling of the fire.
Everything which would have been attractive to critters was put in the car for the night — the thin sliver of a moon leaving behind a starry sky for us to sleep under.
But after the morning fire burned down, we set off for the day’s paddle to a low incoming tide.