(386) 454-0611 riverguide2000@yahoo.com

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...

Withlacoochee River (South) #1

Withlacoochee River (south) #1 :  Trails End – Outlet River   Group size: 1 – 24 people Trip length: 3.5 – 4 hours Skill level: Intermediate – advanced Cost: This one is $50 per person ($39 for “wanna go” members). With your own boat it’s $40 per person ($29 for members). The launch site is about 1.5 hour drive south from Gainesville. Description This is a nine mile stretch on relatively quiet waters. We’re usually on the water about 3.5 – 4 hours (including lunch stop in a long abandoned orange grove that still yields lots of  fruit).   The Withlacoochee River has been designated one of the State’s “Outstanding Waterways” and this section is about as outstanding as it gets. The only houses we see for the entire trip are those at the small fish camp at our launch site. I call this the “Trails End” section of the Withlacoochee River, in honor of the Trails End Camp where we launch. Our trip ends about nine miles downstream at Marsh Bend Park on Outlet River (a mile long stream connecting Lake Panasofkee to Withlacoochee River).   For much of it’s hundred mile length, the Withlacoochee carries itself with a subtle beauty that is unlike any other Florida river. The section we’ll be exploring on this trip is one of the finest. Sandwiched between two large wetlands, Wahoo Swamp to the south and the Tsala Apopka wetlands to the north, time and civilization have never stood a chance here.   In addition to being relatively devoid of human enterprise or habitation, this part of the Withlacoochee has a great diversity in appearance, ranging...

Lower Suwannee River NWR Paddle Trail

Lower Suwannee River NWR Paddle Trail  “Chapman’s Lost World of the Ivory-Bill” Group size: 1 – 24 paddlers Trip time: 3 – 4 hours Skill level: Great for beginners and experts alike The meeting site is in the Town of Suwannee, about 1.5 hours W of Gainesville.      Description This tour follows a network of beautiful back creeks and side channels along the lower Suwannee River. Our entire trip is within the bounds of the 53,000 acre Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge. Here, low tidal creeks and coastal swamps are home to a fantastic array of bird, reptile, amphibian and insect species. While the main channel of this last leg of the Suwannee is relatively wide (averaging 600 – 800 feet across), the backwaters we follow on this trip rarely span more than 100 feet and are partially shaded near the edges by overhanging bald cypress, water elm, tupelo, ash, maple and oaks. The shrub layer is dominated by swamp dogwoods, Walter viburnum, buttonbush and climbing asters.This tour is part of our “Wild Florida Chronicles” series, in which we follow the routes of some famous explorations. On this segment of the series, we follow the Chapman/Brewster expedition of 1890. While this team of famous naturalists only spent a couple of weeks exploring this area, their combined knowledge, along with with detailed notes and journal entries, left us a great snap-shot of life along the lower Suwannee in the late 19th century. Most of the species they described are still here, including great blue, tri-colored. little blue herons, great and snowy egrets, prothonotary and parula warblers, swallow-tailed kites (in...

River Styx

River Styx Kayak Trip Group size: 1 – 14 people Trip time: 5.5 – 6.5 hours Skill level: Intermediate Cost: $75 per person ($60 for “wanna go” members). If you bring your own boat it’s $60 per person. ($50 for “wanna go” members) Difficulty: This is a STRENUOUS TRIP. Many tight squeezes between trees, over fallen logs and through overhanging vines and brush make this more of a push, pull and slog than an actual paddle. This is not for the average, casual paddler. Cost Most guided tours are $50 per person. (includes boat, paddle, vest, shuttling and your guide) Using your Own Boat – $40. (many paddlers with their own boats like to join us to learn more about the history, archaeology and natural history of these rivers). Dates Join a scheduled tour (see tour calendar ), or suggest one.  Find a free date on the calendar and suggest the trip of your choice. If there are no conflicts, we’ll post it! OR Schedule a private tour. Use contact form, email us at riverguide2000@yahoo.com or call (386-454-0611) Location Check the River Locator Map or Click the link below for a local map and then use zoom and panning arrows to explore the area. (Note: the marker is NOT our meeting place, but a nearby landmark. Local Map  Description Experience the thrill of going where no one in their right mind has gone before. Actually, a lot of clear-thinking, otherwise normal people, venture into this large swamp, fully aware that it is more of a swamp than a river, and that most people who try to traverse it in one day usually spend the night...

Juniper Run

Juniper Run Kayak (& Canoe) tours Group size: 1 – 24 people Trip time: 4 – 4.5 hours Skill level: Intermediate, narrow winding creek can be a challenge for novices Cost Most guided tours are $50 per person. (includes boat, paddle, vest, shuttling and your guide) Using your Own Boat – $40. (many paddlers with their own boats like to join us to learn more about the history, archaeology and natural history of these rivers). Dates Join a scheduled tour (see tour calendar ), or suggest one.  Find a free date on the calendar and suggest the trip of your choice. If there are no conflicts, we’ll post it! OR Schedule a private tour. Use contact form, email us at riverguide2000@yahoo.com or call (386-454-0611) Location Check the River Locator Map or Click the link below for a local map and then use zoom and panning arrows to explore the area. (Note: the marker is NOT our meeting place, but a nearby landmark. Local Map Description The first mile of this gentle spring run is one of the most magical places in Florida. A thin sheet of crystal clear spring water skims your boat over the white sand bottom (from an ancient sand dune), as you pass through a fantastic sub-tropical forest of palms, hardwoods and lush under story of shrubs, vines, ferns and herbaceous plants. This is Fern Hammock. After a while, the surrounding forest changes, almost imperceptibly, to a higher and drier forest of oaks, hickory and pine. Then, by the time you’ve become used to your new surroundings, the flood plain widens again and the river carries you through an alternating series of...