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Wekiva River / Rock Springs Run

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Difficulty: Moderate Scenery: Very Good
Location: Apopka,
Orange County
Distance: 8 miles Rock Springs Run to Wekiva Marina; 1.4 miles extra for Wekiwa Springs trip.
Atlas: Page 79 B-3
Last Update: February 2007 Canoe OK: Yes

Photos only Photo-trip - limited details.


Close your eyes for a moment - not too long, otherwise you won't be able to read this. Imagine yourself floating down a crystal clear spring fed river just minutes from downtown Orlando. Birds chirp, otters splash playfully, wind blows lightly through the trees. Is this Walt Disney World? No! Think again. It's prime Florida wilderness and rated by the State as an Outstanding Florida Waterway.

This is a very popular trip, so if you can go weekdays you'll avoid the crowd. The trip starts at King's Landing Canoe Rental, a private canoe launch near the beginning of Rock Springs Run. You'll pass through a variety of environments including pine flatwoods, marsh land, sub-tropical and dense hardwood forests. A few homes and cabins can be seen for the first 1/4 mile or so. At about 8 miles into the trip, an optional 1.4 mile paddle (round-trip) takes you to the popular Wekiwa Springs. Downstream from the confluence of Rock Springs Run and Wekiwa Springs is Wekiva Marina, your take-out.

Wekiwa, Wekiva. Which is correct? According to a Florida State web site, the spring's name (Wekiwa Springs) is derived from the Creek Indian word "Wekiwa" meaning "spring of water" or "bubbling water." Wekiwa Springs is the headwaters for the Wekiva River. "Wekiva" means "flowing water."


From Orlando, travel north on I-4 to SR 436. This will take you to the small city of Apopka. In Apopka, turn north (right) on CR 435 / Park Avenue. Follow this for six miles to a T-intersection at Kelly Park Road. Turn east (right) and then north (left) on Baptist Camp Road. Go past Kelly Park to the King's Landing put-in. It will be on the right side of the road. To find the take-out from Apopka, at SR 436 turn north (right) on S. Hunt Club Blvd. Follow to N. Hunt Club Blvd. Continue on this road to the canoe launch at Wekiva Marina.

Note: Just like in Disney World, there are fees associated with this adventure. Expect to pay $5 to launch your own boat at the marina, $20 to rent a canoe and $10 for one person to ride from the take-out back to the put-in. Also, if you visit the Wekiwa Springs State Park, it's $1 per person by boat or $4 by car.

Wekiva River / Rock Springs Run Photographs

Wekiva River / Rock Springs Run; Kings Landing.

King's Landing
The trip starts at King's Landing, located just north of Kelly Park and Apopka. A carpet-covered canoe ramp and 200 yard long canal lead to Rock Springs Run. The current flows swiftly upstream from the canal and you can go 1/4 mile or so before running into deadfalls crossing the river.
Wekiva River / Rock Springs Run.

Rock Springs Run
Rock Springs Run is a wonderful, twisty, shallow, spring-fed stream that runs for 8 miles through many unique habitats. Short plastic boats rule here. Lots of going over and under logs. Camping is allowed at designated campsites on the spring run. Be sure to pack out all trash; too much of it already ends up in the water.
Wekiva River / Rock Springs Run;Plant Life;Plants;Hyacinths;Maple Tree.

Plant Life
A wide diversity of plant communities can be found along Rock Springs Run and in the Wekiwa Springs State Park. Palms, new growth Cypress, Florida Red Maple, Pines and other species of trees make up the forest habitat. Water hyacinths and water lettuce are prevalent also.
Wekiva River / Rock Springs Run;Wildlife;Animals;Limpkin.

This is prime Florida black bear country. Although rarely seen, they do exist. Deer, fox, raccoons, otters, Limpkin, Great Blue Heron and White Ibis can be spotted by the observant paddler.
Wekiva River / Rock Springs Run;Wekiwa Springs;Wekiwa Springs State Park;Springhead.

Wekiwa Springs State Park
The park covers 7,000 acres of scenery that offers an opportunity to see how Central Florida looked when the Timucuan Indians lived here. A museum and visitor center houses exhibits on their history. Activities at the park include swimming, SCUBA diving, picnicking, camping, canoeing, fishing and hiking.
Wekiva River / Rock Springs Run;Wekiva Marina;Canoe;Great Blue Heron.

Wekiva Marina
About 1/2 mile before the marina, Rock Springs Run and Wekiwa Springs merge to form the Wekiva River, which flows into the St. Johns River 15 miles to the northeast. The marina is located just past an old bridge on the east side of the river. The take-out is a small canal immediately downstream from the marina. Canoes can be rented here and paddled up to Wekiwa Springs for a shortened trip.