Buckman Lock and Florida Trail Trailhead

The Lock was constructed in the 1960s as part of the halted Cross Florida Barge Canal. It is past its 50-year life expectancy.


210 Buckman Lock Rd., Palatka, FL 32177
South of Palatka of SR19.

Hours: 8 am until sundown

Schedule: 365 days a year

Staffed: 7 am to 3 pm, closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas

Contact: (386) 329-3575, Call ahead to check on lock opening times.

Amenities: Bathrooms, picnic pavilion, trailhead.

Cost: None

Conservation Significance

  • The Buckman Lock is the only current gateway for the West Indian Manatees.
  • Approximately 100 unique manatees have made the trek through the metal and concrete structures during recent years into the Rodman Reservoir and the Ocklawaha. Scientists expect that 500 plus manatees would make the Ocklawaha and Silver Springs their home, particularly during the cold weather months, if the Rodman/Kirkpatrick Dam was breached.
  • Although it allows some aquatic species to enter to reservoir, it does not provide a migratory connection for fish and shellfish from the Atlantic and St. Johns River to the Ocklawaha River and Silver Springs. Many of the historic migratory fish are absent or are rarely seen in the upper reaches of the Ocklawaha and Silver Springs.
  • The St. Johns Loop North Trailhead provides access to non-motorized multi-use trails to the north and east of the lock.
  • It serves as a navigational connection between the St. Johns River and Rodman Reservoir for boats. Paddlers and motorboats go through the locks and then navigate the historic stumps of the drowned forest of the Ocklawaha.

Food and Provisions: None. Closest restaurants in Palatka.