7 - Rat and Polly Islands



Put In: Lat/Long 29°34’39”/81°37’37”       

            Base of Dunns Creek Bridge

Take Out:  Same as Put In

Distance:  4.75 miles

Planned Stops:  None

Difficulty:  Intermediate

Estimated Time:  3 hours

Narrative Description:  This is one of Putnam Blueways & Trails' favorite routes.  The put-in is a dirt ramp located underneath the Dunns Creek bridge on Hwy 17 South. You will cross the Dunns Creek channel at least twice so caution should be taken of the motorized boat traffic. There are no restrooms or take-outs so be prepared.

Rat Creek and Polly Creek are sheltered creeks with little current. You will paddle on the eastern shore of the St. Johns River so wind could be an issue. Dunns Creek always has current depending on the tide so paddling near the shoreline is recommended. Murphy Creek is also on this route and an interesting excursion can be made 1/2 mile up the creek to the old Mayport ferry – NOBLE PHOENIX – now residence of one of Palatka’s citizens.

Both creeks are lined with lily pads and the river is lined with vallisneria (eel grass). This is an excellence birding paddle. Polly Creek holds Great Blue, Little Green, Little Blue and Tri-color herons. Ospreys, egrets and eagles call this place home. Manatees have been known to camp in the shallow water of Polly Creek so paddle slowly and pay attention. Toothy reptiles and Florida Cooters abound. Dunns Creek is Bartram Trail site #8 and the trail marker is located on the western bank of Dunns Creek.

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