(386) 454-0611 riverguide2000@yahoo.com

Ocklawaha River – Below the Dam

We offer 4 guided canoe and kayak trips on the Ocklawaha River: Ocklawaha River: Silver River – Gores Landing (see description below) Ocklawaha River:  Gore’s Landing – Eureka Ocklawaha River: Florida’s Pompeii – The Reservoir (Rodman Dam) Ocklawaha River: Below the Dam Ocklawaha River: Below the Dam Group size: 1 – 24 people. Trip length : 4 – 4.5 hrs. Skill level: Great for beginners and experts alike. 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 Ocklawaha is wider here than above the reservoir and much more braided. Many side streams and confusing forks make this an interesting area to explore, but can turn a leisurely paddle into an extreme workout if you make a wrong turn. You won’t want to get to far ahead of the guide on this trip.   Sydney Lanier, a well-known writer of the 1800’s, called the Ocklawaha the “sweetest water-lane in the world, a...

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...

Suwannee River Spring Hop #2

   SUWANNEE SPRING HOP #2:  Hwy 51 – Mearson Spring      Group size: 1 – 24 paddlers Trip time: 3 – 4 hours Skill level: Great for beginners and experts alike   The meeting place for this trip is on the Suwannee, about 1.5 hours NW of Gainesville.     Description   There are few places, in Florida or elsewhere, where you can find as many beautiful and unique springs as are found along the middle Suwannee River. On this trip, we’ll visit Telford, Bathtub, Convict, Running, Royal and Mearson springs.   This is a relatively wide section of the Suwannee, averaging 300 – 400 feet across, that flows lazily in long, sweeping curves. Stained dark brown with tannins, much of it having come from the swampy headwaters of the Okefenokee swamp, contrast sharply with sandy white beaches and sloping bluffs. Perched above the river bank and stretching unseen for miles in all directions, mixed forests of pine and oak dominate the setting. It’s a higher, drier terrain than we experience on our “swampier” rivers, with nice, expansive vistas – plenty of Kodak moments.   The width of this section can make it sunny and hot or breezy at times. It’s a fairly long stretch too (about 11 miles) and usually takes us about 4.5 – 5 hours, including swim and lunch stops at the springs.     Wildlife   At this time of year, Middle Suwannee is the stomping grounds (or rather, splashing grounds) of the amazing Gulf sturgeon. Unlike some wildlife encounters, spotting sturgeons takes no skill at all. Just keep your eye trained to the open water...

Suwannee River Spring Hop #1

SUWANNEE RIVER SPRING HOP #1:  Charles Spring – Hwy 51    Group size: 1 – 24 paddlers Trip time: 3 – 4 hours Skill level: Great for beginners and experts alike   The meeting place for this trip is on the Suwannee, about 1.5 hours NW of Gainesville.     Description   On this trip, we’ll explore a 9 mile stretch of the Middle Suwannee, starting at one of my favorite spots on the river, Charles Spring and ending about 3.5 hours later at the boat ramp alongside the Hwy 51 Bridge. Along our route, we’ll stop off at Allen Mill Pond spring run and Lafayette Blue Springs. (to avoid confusion, it’s customary to include the county name when referring to any of the State’s many “Blue Springs”).   Most of the middle Suwannee is characterized by a wide, slow flow of tannin-stained water, whose rich, carmel color contrasts beautifully with white sand beaches. In places, the soft, smooth complexion on these dunes is interrupted by outcroppings of rough-hewn limerock. Above the river bank and stretching unseen for miles in all directions, a mixed forests of pine and oak dominate the setting. It’s a higher, drier terrain than we experience on “swampier” rivers such as Ocklawaha and Withlacoochee.   Of course, the main attraction to this part of the river are the springs. On warm days like we’ve been enjoying lately, the clear, 72 degree water of Charles and Blue Springs are hard to resist. But, you won’t have to wait for the springs if you want to swim. Current water levels are low enough to make plenty of good, shallow areas to pull over and wade in.     History   Our launch site...

Salt Springs

Salt Springs Kayak (& Canoe) Tour Group size: 1 – 24 paddlers Trip time: 3 – 4 hours Skill level: Great for beginners and experts alike. 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 This is a relatively wide run with lots of marsh vegetation lining the banks. This, combined with its proximity to the wide-open St. Johns river, can make this a challenging paddle on windy days (if it’s too windy, we won’t go out). The unusually high mineral content of this water is attributed to the incredible depths of the spring. Originating below an ancient sea floor, the water picks up dissolved particles in this mineral rich layer of sediment on its rush toward the surface. The result is a unique mix of flora and fauna along the run. A couple of ancient Indian mounds make nice rest stops along the way. Wildlife The high mineral...