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Silver River

Silver River Guided Kayak & Canoe Tour   Group size: 1 – 24 people Trip time: 2.5 – 3 hours Skill level: Beginner – Expert Cost:  $50 per person. With your own boat it’s $35. NOTE – There are additional park/launch fees of $6 – $10 (varies depending on how many people are in your vehicle. The more people per vehicle, the less your fees).   Description   This river is about 1 hour south of Gainesville, 1.5 hours from Orlando and 1.5 hours from Tampa. As we set off on this 2.5 hour, downstream-only paddle, we first enter onto the river’s large head-spring, the well-named Mammoth Spring. Heading downstream, the first mile of the river carries us past a series of other substantial springs that feed more clear, artesian water from small spring coves along either side.   The channel here is 30 – 40 ft wide and flanked by an unbroken panorama of cypress, ash, gum, red maple and an assortment of other trees and plants. These are an important part of the great Ocklawaha river basin, which this river joins after its 5.5 mile run (just beyond our take-out site).   There are always many water birds, especially near the head spring. Turtles, gators and and other reptiles always keep things interesting, as do my personal favorites, the river otters. The quiet paddler with a searching eye will usually spot one of these stealthy hunters on about 3/4 of our trips.   The most popular animals on Silver River are the Rhesus monkeys  (actually macaques – see below). Even though exotic species are never welcome in natural habitats, its hard not to enjoy watching these interesting, amusing Asian/African primates. It’s not their...