The United States Congress designated the Mud Swamp/New River Wilderness (map
) in 1984 and it now has a total of 8,238 acres
All of this wilderness is located in Florida
and is managed by the Forest Service.
Florida doesn't get any more remote than this: no trails, no old roads, and no people. Most of the area is Mud Swamp, a region of very poorly drained clay-rich soil that holds more water than nearby Bradwell Bay Wilderness. Barely peeking above the standing water are many small, isolated islands. Heavy rainfall, especially in summer, combines with heat and humidity to provide the ideal environment for biting insects. In addition to hungry pests, this area houses hungry black bears and hungry alligators. Hiking can be perilous. The New River, by contrast, is lined with beautiful Atlantic white cedar. It enters from the north and flows through the cypress and gum swamps, relatively thin in understory, which dominate the Wilderness. Most visitors put in canoes at Carr Bridge and paddle down about six miles to old Magnolia Landing (not marked on newer maps). The route, a twisting waterway with numerous channels, is too challenging for novices.