Wakulla River To City Park Report
(Upper bridge of Wakulla River)

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Report By:  jlpaddle    Date: 5/2/2015 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 5 photos     Map & Directions: View

Shadeville Rd/CR-61 has an unimproved boat ramp on the Southwest side of the bridge.

My Report:

Randy Lazenby (from Birmingham, Alabama), Claudia, Charlotte and John did a moonlight paddle on the Wakulla River on Saturday night. We had a great trip - excellent weather, no clouds and few bugs at the put-in and none at the takeout. Bugs coming to the lights were a problem at times, but depending on how much you talk you may not be hungry at the end of the trip. Remember bugs are a good source of protein. (Editorís note Ė if you attach a flashlight to the kayak instead of using a headlamp, the bugs donít bother you as much.)

While Claudia and John was busy running the shuttle to the City of St. Marks City Park, Randy and Charlotte watched the birds from the bridge over the river on CR 61. We noticed an eagle in one trip and 4 osprey in a nearby tree. One of the osprey dove down into the water, fought in the water, flapping its wings the entire time, and rose victoriously with a fish in its talons. The eagle then chased the osprey for a short while down the river, then gave up and came back to its tree. The osprey flew by immediately after that, with the fish still in its talons, and crossed over the bridge where we stood. Then the osprey lost the fish, dropping it into the water between the bridge and the fence for the state park. Randy couldnít believe his eyes, ďItís like a nature show and I donít have my camera!Ē

On the river, there was more motorboat traffic than I have experienced before on moonlight trips. All the motor boaters were nice and slowed down for us. Just below the US-98 bridge we encountered two pontoon boats, one had run out of gas and was being pulled by the other, when it ran out of gas. These young people had consumed quite a bit of fuel themselves and were a little on the rowdy side. They asked Randy to get them a gallon of gas, which probably would have powered them up the river another 100 feet. When we left they were debating about calling someoneís brother to bring them some gas.

At the St. Markís City Park, we discovered that the tide was still out and we would have to walk a considerable distance, about 25 feet, through soft mud, to get to the river bank, and about 20 feet to get to the wooden take-out platform, so we opted to paddle around the bend, up the St. Marks River a short distance, to the power boat take out. It was then a short walk for John and Claudia to go to the City Park where the car was parked. John then took Claudia to get her car since we couldnít carry all 4 kayaks on our Honda Element.

Other Wildlife: There were coots near the put-in and a heron along the river. The cormorants and anhinga were flying in formation looking for a place to roost for the night. We saw an Ibis hiding in the bushes. Toward the end of the trip we kept running up on fish near the surface.

Flowers blooming on the river were swamp dogwood (Cornus foemina), spider lilies (Hymenocallis), duck potato (Sagittaria lancifolia), pickerel weed (Pontederia cordata) and soft-stem bulrushes (Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani). The swamp rose (Rosa palustris) and elderberry (Sambucuc nigra) were in very full bloom.

The gauge at Crawfordville said the depth was 3.25 ft. and the cfs was 650. You can use this link to find the tides. We did, but expected the tide to come in more than it did.

We met at the upper bridge at 7 PM, put-on around 8:30, after running shuttle, and were off the river by 11 at the St. Marks boat ramp for a trip of about 6.6 miles. It was low tide at the City Park, so we could not get out of our boats there (think 20 feet of mud). If you donít take out at the City Park, and go to the St. Marks Boat Ramp, it adds another 0.8 miles and you have to contend with power boats and grumpy fishermen in the dark. Luckily there were no fishermen and no motorboats. After a little over a two block walk we proceeded with the turnaround.

To get there: Tallahassee from Capital Cir SE turn south on Woodville Hwy/FL-363 10.2 miles to right turn on Bloxham Cutoff Rd/FL-267 0.1 mile, then slight left onto Shadeville Rd/CR-61 2.3 miles across the bridge and the boat ramp is on the left.

30.213317, -84.262071

For the turnaround go back on Shadeville Rd/CR-61 2.3 miles, turn slight right onto Bloxham Cutoff Rd/FL-267, Turn slight right onto Woodville Hwy/FL-363. Continue to follow FL-363 5.1 miles, Turn right onto Shell Island Rd 0.4 miles, take the 3rd left onto City Park Ave 0.4 miles, Take the 3rd left onto City Park Ave 0.01 mile. City Park is on the right and it has bathrooms and covered picnic tables.

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Location Data:

Distance (miles): 6.6
Fees/Costs $: 0

Photos from Upper bridge of Wakulla River:    (Click image to view full size)

River view1 No Comm
River view1
River view2 No Comm
River view2
River view3 No Comm
River view3
Osprey & nest No Comm
Osprey & nest
Moon & stars No Comm
Moon & stars

Special Interests and Comments:

Special InterestsThere is an Old Spanish Fort near the boat ramp. Wakulla Springs State Park is near the put-in. The St. Marks Wildlife Management Area is also in the area.

Post Date: 5/4/2015

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