CS 11 – Gully Branch Primitive Camp Site

Reserve this site at Reserve America, Tate’s Hell State Forest Pickett’s Bay Primitive Campsites.

Campsite 11, Gully Branch, is a tent only primitive camp site just a short walk from the day use area on Gully Branch Road. You will have to carry your gear from the off road parking to the campsite which is not visible from the road.

There is a picnic table and a firepit (but no standup grill) at the riverside site.

Because this is in the day use area, a vault toilet is available for use and the covered picnic tables if it’s raining.

There are two such buildings on the south side of the Gully Branch Road. On the opposite side are a small covered picnic table and a large covered group picnic area.

The vault toilet lies behind the two picnic areas.

The landing at Gully Branch is used by motorized boats which usually go down river and paddlers.

A favorite trip with a short shuttle is to put in at CS 17 on East River Road and take-out here at Gully Branch: 6.5 miles of easy downriver paddle with enough of a winding course to make it interesting.

Below Gully Branch road, tides are more noticeable. As the river becomes slighter wider and less winding, winds also can add to the day’s workout.

During the summer months yellow flies at Gully Branch can be fierce.

We find, even when it’s hot, a fire in the firepit at dusk, keeps mosquitoes away.

The photos were taken when the tide was outgoing. Water levels will vary at this site depending on tides.

Trout Creek, Tate’s Hell SF, a great place to learn to paddle.

A very short tributary of the New River, south of Pope Place (CS 9) on West River Road. The put-in is just south and west of the bridge over Trout Creek which lies at the junction of West River Road and River Road, a little over a mile south of CS 9.

It is narrow enough to be protected from wind and has minimum current. However, the tide does affect the level of the creek. If you should ever have to paddle under a log or a large branch going upstream (limbo), note which way the tide is going. You may not have room on the return trip if you paddled up on an incoming tide.

About 1/4 mile east of the bridge is the New River. Paddlers can paddle from upstream on the New and be picked up here, if they prefer not to take-out at an occupied camp site.

We saw a red cockaded woodpecker in the slash pines here several years ago.

This is a perfect place for kayak polo, for those who have shorter kayaks and a floatable ball and some type of “basket” or bucket.

Campsite #8 – Parker Place in Tate’s Hell SF

Reserve this site at Reserve America, State’s Hell State Forest, New River Primitive Campsites.

Like all other sites on the New River, Parker Place on the west side of the river, can easily accommodate 8 people or 8 small tents and cars.  It is a RV/tent site.

It has a long and wide entry which can be used for parking or a narrow soccer field for the kids — the palmettos on either side will keep the ball on the field.

Standard equipment at all Tate’s Hell primitive camp sites are a large picnic table, a fire pit and a standup grill.   You should provide your own potable water and dig your own bathroom arrangement in the woods.  Having a portable toilet with disposable, biodegradable packets are quite convenient.  You are responsible for packing all garbage out of the site.   There are bears in Tate’s Hell SF and food and scented items should be kept in the car or hung from a tree far away from the sleeping area.  A kayak hatch will not deter varmints!

For paddlers, the landing at Parker Place allows for safe put-in and take-out.  However, when the tide is out, be careful to step on the visible sand — the landing can drop suddenly.  And hold on to your kayak if the current or wind is going downriver.

The lower sites on the New allow for a more expansive view because the river doesn’t curve as much.

At the end of the day, this is the down river view.

And this is the upriver view.

The nearest campsites are not within hearing range.  How about that for a wilderness camping experience?

We recommend a campfire particuarly around dusk to keep the mosquitoes away.  Don’t bring campfire from home, unless you’re from Franklin county.  Sometimes forestry leaves firewood at the site; otherwise try the IGA in Carrabelle or inquire at the gas stations.

The early riser in the group can also really ingratiate himself/herself to the group by starting a fire on a cold morning.

The photos were taken when the tide was outgoing.  Water levels will vary by tide at this site.

Campsite 9: Pope Place, Tate’s Hell State Forest

Pope Place Campsite, a very large RV and Tent primitive camp site on the New River, is listed in Reserve America as Tate’s Hell State Forest New River 9 (section).  

As in all Tate’s Hell sites (except the new Cash creek sites), sites can easily accommodate up to 8 people.

Privacy is insured not only by the distance between sites,  but also by the trees and vegetation around each campsite.

Entry is wide and can accommodate several parked cars, but there is more than ample space in the site itself.

This is a good site for paddlers since the landing is sandy.  This photo was taken at low tide.  There is a drop so, when taking out, be sure that your feet are on the exposed sand, if possible.  This site is below Gully Branch Road after which tidal currents can be felt. If one capsizes in a fast outgoing current, one could easily lose one’s craft.

The view from this site is spectacular.

Looking upriver.

And…

downriver.

Campers can put-in from upriver sites on the New River or paddle from this site.  Tidal current may be noticeable.   If the current is too strong for up and back or down and back and a shuttle is not possible, try Trout Creek.   Trout Creek is just south of this campsite on West River Road at the intersection with River Road, a little over a mile of this campsite.

The current is not that noticeable on Trout Creek, except where it meets the New River, but water levels will go up and down.  Paddlers need to consider the level of the water if going under limbos on this creek (if there are any), a higher level of water may narrow the opening on a return to take-out.   This is an excellent creek to paddle with children just learning to paddle or for adults who have reluctantly been urged to try paddling.

If you can shuttle, putting in at Gully Branch Road landing, will give you a nice downriver paddle to the campsite.

Experienced paddlers, who like wilderness paddling, occasionally put in at FR 22 east of Sumatra, camp over at campsite 17 on the New River (in Tate’s Hell SF Juniper section) and paddle to Pope Place for a next day take-out.  The total paddling mileage is about 23 miles: 9.5 miles the first day and 12.5 the next day.

Paddlers have access to the water through your site. Paddlers should park their cars in the entry driveway and not the campsite.

There is no water or toilet facilities.  The forest is heavily rooted and a trowel isn’t going to give you a deep enough pit.  Bring a portable toilet (with biodegradable, disposable bags).  Everything should be packed out.  There are bears in Tates’s Hell and food should be kept in cars, or hung away from sleeping areas.   A kayak hatch is not a good place to keep food or scented items such as shampoo, soap, etc. overnight.

 

 

 

 

How to find Tate’s Hell SF camp sites on Reserve America

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.

There is a separate blog report with photos on the campsites noted in bold letters.

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 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 have begun to revisit each campsite to photograph the site and to note other information to help those who do not live in the area to find the most suitable site.

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!

Our December Pinxster Azalea

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Around a particular bend in Womack Creek, always, a pinxster azalea bush sets out its blooms — in December.

Other pinxsters on that creek start blooming in March through early May.  This one is either early or very late.

It never fully opens like the ones which bloom at the customary time.  Some years it shows heavy frost bites, but it struggles to bloom.  So far this is a good year.

Some like to make examples of what we see in nature.  This shrub can certain suggest metaphors.

We, however, always look forward to seeing it bloom, sometimes struggling, sometimes not.

If I could learn brevity — it probably deserve a haiku.