CS #5 – Dew Drop, Tate’s Hell State Forest

Reserve this site at Reserve America, CS #5, Dew Drop, Tate’s Hell State Forest, New River Section. When you arrive at the campsite, find the closest cell signal location. If you call 911, give this address: 2121 River Road, Tate’s Hell State Forest, GPS 29.93646, -84.73512. First responders will not be able to find you by just a campsite number. Reserve America does not include this information on your confirmation.

Situated on the New River, this campsite is much smaller than many of the New River Sites. One cannot safely launch a boat in the New River from this site.

A long entry surrounded by pines and palmettos will take you to the campsite.

The site would be large enough for a family, but may feel rather cramped with a small group.

There is no safe access to the river.

The above photo was taken when the river was low.

But it’s a lovely site with river view.

This is a Cotton Mouth – Gully Branch Road, Tate’s Hell State Forest

This cotton mouth (water moccasin) was crossing from one ditch to the other on Gully Branch Road.

Having seen a lot of water snakes on Womack Creek, and not seeing the indicator of a venomous snake — its triangular shaped head — I assumed it was a brown water snake. However, just in case I was wrong, I gave it enough breadt. It stayed put while I walked around it, taking snap shots.

Later, I found out it was a cotton mouth.

This is what I should have known: dark strips by each nostril and pale snout. The triangular head on this one was not noticeably triangular, but the distinct neck should have been another warning. Nonvenomous water snakes do not have necks. In coloration, dark brown, black to olive and with brown or yellow banding, it looks like come water snakes. If I got close enough, I should have noticed that its pupils are vertical, like cat pupils, not round in most nonvenomous snakes.

Fortunately, they are not known to be aggressive. However, had it been warning me, it would have coiled and exposed the inner lining of its mouth.

The bite is highly venomous and one should seek treatment immediately. Anti venom is available for this species.

As a constant paddler, I should have known how to distinguish a cotton mouth from nonvenomous snakes.

CS #7, Borrow Pit, Tate’s Hell State Forest

Reserve this site at Reserve America, Borrow Pit #7, Tate’s Hell State Forest, New River Section. When you get to the site, find the best cell coverage location. If you call 911, give them as address 2500 Forest Road 90, GPS 29.91707, -84.73446, Tate’s Hell State Forest. First responders will not be able to find you by campsite number. Reserve America does not include this information on your confirmation.

Borrow Pit campsite #7 has its own borrow pit and is on a rarely traveled road off West River Road, west of the New River. The pond has fish and, like Borrow Pit #6 site, is on a large flat area suitable for running and games for children (and adults). These two sites are perfect for petanque (like bocci but not requiring a prescribed court and more compact to carry). The road around the pond is long enough for biking for children and within eye sight of parents. Access into the pond is easy for kayaks, SUPs or canoes. The pond here is smaller than the larger pond on CS 6.

The damaged fire pit and grill and table are unshaded, except by the pines surrounding this very large site. Iff camping during warmer months, some shade cover is recommended.

It’s near the New River, so paddlers can have a driver drop them off one of the river campsites with a good launching area (separate post to be written later) and paddle down to another New River site where there is safe take-out landings, east or west of the river, to be picked up later. Gully Branch Recreation Area has a day use area suitable for lunch stop-overs (or put-in or take-outs) and vault toilets.

CS 55-57 – Cash Creek Campground, Tate’s Hell State Forest

Reserve sites 55 and 56 at Reserve America, Cash Creek, Tate’s Hell State Forest, Cash Creek section. When you get to your site, locate the area with cell connection. If you call 911, give as address, Cash Creek Recreation Area, 201 Cash Creek Road, Tate’s Hell State Forest, GPS 29.81643, -84.83709. First responders will not be able to locate you with just a campsite number. Reserve America does not include this information on your confirmation.

This campground does not afford much privacy, but is suitable for those who wish to be closer to the many paddling areas off SR 65, on the eastern tributaries of the Apalachicola River. It is also close to Eastpoint, the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve, St. George Island and seafood retailers and restaurants. There is a concrete boat ramp at this day use area and campground with sandy launch areas for kayaks and canoes.

The photos above are of Cash Creek looking upriver (first two shots) and downriver. This is a favorite launching area for motorized fishing boats headed downstream through the estuaries. For kayakers and canoers, there are over 12 miles of paddling options upriver. Downriver paddling is among estuary grasses and without shade. One can easily get lost among the trails in the estuary without some type of directional aid.

We have seen swimmers near the dock; we have also seen large alligators upriver.

The amenities at this campground are a vault toilet (bring your own toilet paper, just in case, and sanitizer), bear-proof garbage cans, covered picnic tables. There is no water at the site — it is a primitive campground.

Campsite 55 is next to the day use pavilion, separated by palmettos.

This is across the day use pavilion and adjacent to the non-reservable walk-in site #57.

Although lined with sand and gravel, the bed is adequate for tents.

These sites are perfect if you wish to take a moonlight night paddle in Cash Creek (no trees to obscure path of moon across the sky) and return to watch enjoy the night at the landing or around your campfire. (There are large alligators in Cash creek).

The photos above were taken on an overcast day. The photos below of the creek looking upstream and then downstream were taken on a sunny day.

CS#2 – North Road, Tate’s Hell State Forest

Reserve this site at Reserve America, North Road Camp, Tate’s Hell State Forest, New River section. When you arrive at your campsite, find the location with cell connection. If you call 911, use this address: 41124 S.E. North Road, Tate’s Hell State Forest, GPS 30.01801,-84.80777. First responders will not be able to find you if you give only a campsite number. Reserve American does not include this information on your confirmation.

This campsite is at the end of North Road. The only traffic you’ll see may be the occasional person hiking through to get to the New River. Almost all of the time you’ll have not just the campsite but the whole road of about 200 yards to a junction of two creeks to yourself. This site is not on the New River, but you could hike to it by following the path along the creek.

The road extends for another 200 yards and ends at the junction of two creeks.

There is a walking path which leads to the New River.

If you camp here, please comment on your experience.

CS #3 – New River (west), Tate’s Hell State Forest

Reserve this site at Reserve America, campsite 3, New River, Tate’s Hell State Forest, New River section. When you arrive at this campsite, find the closest cell phone connection location. If you call 911, give this address: 3200 Billy’s Road, Tate’s Hell State Forest, GPS29.98360, -84.73929. First responders will not be able to find you if you only give a campsite number. Reserve America will not have this information on your confirmation.

This is perhaps the largest of Tate’s Hell State Forest’s individual primitive sites. It has two ways to drive in. This side is 2 miles north of Gully Branch Road west of the bridge at the Gully Branch Day Use area. It is on the west side of the New River. Although right off Billy’s Road, there is hardly any traffic on this road.

There is a landing for kayaks and canoes to the New River, but at low water levels, there is a steep drop.

Views of the river, first downriver and below that, upriver.

If this wasn’t a large enough site, there are wide pathways.

This would be an excellent 8 person group campsite which insures some privacy for each tent. Or a large family outing.

If you camp here, please comment on your experience.

CS #12 – New River, Tate’s Hell State Forest

You can reserve this site at Reserve America, CS #12, New River, Tate’s Hell State Forest, Juniper Creek section. When you get to your campsite, find the closest cell signal location. If you call 911, use 2800 New River Campsite #12 Road, Tate’s Hell State Forest, GPS 29.96333, -84.72355. First responders will not be able to locate you with just a campsite number. Reserve America does not have this information on your confirmation.

Privacy is promised by the long entry.

This site is not on the river, but it is damper than the other sites on the New River. It seems that the site itself is a bit lower than the entry road bed. With surrounding ditches and deeply canopied, the site cannot dry out as well.

Exposed roots limit flat tent areas.

Ditches surround this site.

CS 13 – New River, Tate’s Hell State Forest

Reserve this site at Reserve America, CS 13, New River, Tate’s Hell State Forest, Juniper Creek section. When you get to this campsite, locate closest point you can get cell coverage. If you call 911, use 2900 New River Campsite #13 Road, Tate’s Hell State Forest, GPD 29.97152, -84.72610. First responders will not be able to located you just by campsite number. Reserve America will not include this information with your confirmation.

The entry is long, ensuring you privacy.

The primary campsite is small for the New River campsites, but a flat, grassy area allows for camping away from the river.

Unless the tenter has a good air mattress, these roots may make for an uncomfortable sleep.

But there are options are this site.

Even at low water levels it seems possible to enter into and return from the river in a canoe or kayak.

The view upriver, and below that the view downriver.

Only during early spring, golden clubs blooming in the ditch along the site.

CS #14, New River, Tate’s Hell State Forest

You can reserve this site at Reserve America, CS 14, New River, Tate’s Hell State Forest, Juniper Creek section. When you get to your site, find the closest place to get a cell signal. If you call 911, the address you should give is 3080 New River Campsite #14 Road, Tate’s Hell state Forest, GPS 29.98293–84.73386. First responders will not be able to find you if you only give the camp site number. Reserve America will not have this information on your confirmation.

A long entry to the campsite leading to a level, dry site.

The lower section at low water can be used as a recreation area, but when the water is higher, will be wet. This was taken when the river was very low, particularly for February.

There is another section which is flat and dry enough to accommodate other tents or parking.

One should be able to access the river with a canoe or kayak easily in most conditions.

When taken the river was so low this option would be risky — there was a drop to the water from the edge.

Low water levels offer other possibilities.

The view from this site is beautiful: upriver view and below that downriver view.

CS #15 – New River (east), Tate’s Hell State Forest

Reserve this site on Reserve America, CS 15, New River, Tate’s Hell State Forest, Juniper section. When you reach the campsite, find the closest location to get a cell signal. If you call 911 use 3270 Rock Landing Road, Tate’s Hell State Forest, as your address, GPS 29.98965, -84.73772. First responders will not be able to locate you by just your campsite number. Reserve America will not have this information on your confirmation.

Take Rock Landing Road off CR 67 and it will take you to this site.

It’s a short entry, bordered by ditches which empty into the New River.

It is a relatively small site, compared to the other sites on East River Road, but it does have way for motorized boats (small ones) to launch when it’s not so muddy and wet. There are exposed roots, limiting the number of tents which can comfortably fit here.

The lower level of this campsite would probably only to be used for play or for launching boats, not for setting up tents. It’s as large as the dry upper section of this campsite.

The site is not quite as well situated to capture the full river view, but the view would be welcome, particularly at dawn and dusk.