|Distance: 9 miles
Silver Lake to Nobleton.
|Atlas: Page 78 D-1
|Last Update: October 2002
||Canoe OK: Yes
- limited details.
The Withlacoochee South (another river in Georgia and north Florida
bears the same Native American name meaning "Crooked River"),
or "The With", as locals call it, is a blackwater river
starting in the Green Swamp near Lakeland. The river twists and
turns its way in a northwest direction for about 100 miles before
dumping into the Gulf of Mexico. It is one of only two rivers in
central Florida that flows from south to north and the river is
of such ecological and recreational importance that it was designated
an Area of Critical State Concern in 1979 and added to Florida’s
Statewide System of Greenways and Trails a few years later.
The official 83-mile long canoe trail begins at the Coulter Hammock
Recreation Area in Lacoochee and ends at the US 41 bridge at Dunnellon
Wayside Park. Beyond this the Withlacoochee forms Lake Rousseau,
a long skinny lake that was created to be part of the ill-fated
Cross Florida Barge Canal.
From Tampa travel 35 miles north on I-75 to Highway 50 (Exit 301,
old #61). Turn east (right) and go one mile to Croom-Rital Road.
Turn north (left) and follow Croom-Rital for four miles to the Silver
Lake Recreation Area. Follow park signs to the boat ramp. The take-out
is at the Nobleton boat ramp located on CR 476 in Nobleton. Turn
right on Lamkin Drive and you'll see a small county park with picnic
tables and boat ramp.
Withlacoochee River Photographs
What might first appear to be an alien spacecraft hovering above the Withlacoochee Forest is actually a strange shaped leaf floating in the black, tannin stained water. Reflections of trees and clouds give the photo its eerie appearance.
||Withlacoochee State Forest
The forest consists of over 123,000 acres in five main tracts. Some areas are set aside for hunting during fall months, so be sure to wear bright clothing. You can check on season dates by calling the Recreation Visitors Center at 352-754-6896.
||Florida Apple Snail
This freshwater invertebrate can be found in most Florida ponds, bogs, streams and rivers and can get up to 3 inches in diameter. We found quite a few of these large "cinnamon bun" looking snails about 1/2 mile downriver from Nobleton.
||Withlacoochee in the Morning
Early morning is the best time for wildlife viewing on the Withlacoochee. A lucky (and quiet) paddler may spot deer, wild hogs, turkeys, raccoons, alligators, snakes, and many different species of birds. With or without animals, watching the fog rise off the calm, blackwater river is a wonderful experience.
||Canoe and Kayak Camping
There are many places to picnic and camp on the With. In the nine miles of this trip, you can camp in developed spots at Silver Lake and Hog Island or for the more adventurous, there is primitive camping one mile downriver from Silver Lake.