Centered around a strangely beautiful 6,700-acre lake with dark tannic waters and wizened ancient cypresses, Dead Lakes Park is more than just one of Florida’s most intriguing places to paddle.
With a campground and hiking trails that wander off into the floodplain, it’s a great weekend destination.
Resources for exploring the area
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Trailhead: 30.138273, -85.201568
Address: 482 Gary Rowell Rd, Wewahitchka
Land manager: Gulf County
Phone: 850-227-8693 or 850-229-7800
Open sunrise to sunset. Leashed pets welcome.
The park is off SR 71 just north of Wewahitchka on State Park Rd, south of Blountstown.
About the Park
Known as Dead Lakes State Recreation Area until the State of Florida removed it from the Florida State Parks system in 2003, it is now a Gulf County Park.
Signage and facilities make it obvious that it was once a state park. The grounds took a beating from Hurricane Michael, so those who’ve been here in the past will note the lack of ancient trees.
Destroyed by Hurricane Michael, the campground has not reopened. We do not know if the nature trail has reopened but suspect not, since it started at the campground.
While the boat ramp and waterway are the central focus for most visitors, the park also has a day use area with picnic tables and a nature trail.
The lakes were formed when a dam was placed across the Chipola River in 1960 near Wewahitchka.
The creation of a Chipola Cutoff canal diverted the river’s main flow away from the cypress swamp to the Apalachicola River, changing the hydrology of the area.
After many of the trees in this massive cypress-tupelo swamp in the flooded river floodplain died back and fishing declined, the dam was removed between 1987 and 1989.
Without the dams, fish populations and species diversity have risen every year. Anglers enjoy excellent bream and shellcracker fishing in spring.
The tupelo trees of the swamp are the reason Wewahitchka is known as the country’s best source of tupelo honey.
Explore the park
See our photos of Dead Lakes
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Connecting neighborhoods, parks, and services within a historic Apalachicola River town, the paved 3.9-mile Blountstown Greenway includes a segment of the Florida Trail
At the Constitution Convention Museum State Park, interpretive exhibits and artifacts put a face on Florida’s frontier days, with a special focus on the historic city of St. Joseph (now Port St. Joe).
With a boardwalk over a beautiful coastal scrub to a beach on the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Salinas Park provides a picnic grove in a pine forest.