Kayak the Rockfish Creek Paddling Trail
Rockfish Creek Paddling Trail is a hidden gem hiding in plain sight. We rented kayaks from Yakalacky Outfitters, which made the logistics super easy. The hardest part was finding a parking space at Hope Mill Lake. After that, they met us at the parking lot with our boats, and we used the easy put-in at the beach. We paddled a half mile across flat water and under the railroad bridge. We saw kids jumping off the bridge like a scene from Stand By Me, and then the lake started getting narrower and narrower. That’s when things got really fun.
We followed signs and flagging on the paddling trail between old cypress trees and swamp flowers. The Black River seventy miles away has a 2,624-year-old cypress, the oldest tree east on the east coast, but here, you can see its cousins with a simple paddle. After about an hour of exploring the backwaters, we returned to the beach and left our kayaks for Yakalaky to pick up. We wondered if the mass of humanity splashing by the shore knew how close they were to the incredible Rockfish Creek natural area.