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Silver River Report

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Report By:  ed    Date: 9/23/2006 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 3 photos     Map & Directions: View

What do you do when you're in the Ocala National Forest and have two hours to kill? Of course - a very quick paddling trip from Ray Wayside Park on the Silver River!

My Report:

The real purpose for this weekend’s trip was camping and paddling at Juniper Springs. Seeing how we had a few hours to kill before registering at the campground and Delks Bluff Bridge loomed in the distance, the car suddenly swerved to the right at the entrance to Ray Wayside Park.

If you haven't paddled Silver River, here's a background. Most people launch from Ray Wayside Park ($3 entrance) for a 10 mile round-trip to the springs. The second most popular launch site is from the Silver River State Park ($4 entrance). The paddle from the park to the springs is only 4-5 miles round-trip, but the portage of over 1 / 2 mile in each direction from the parking lot at the museum to the river definitely makes up for the lack of time on the water.

From the boat basin at Ray Wayside park head out the 1 / 4 mile canal to the river. When you reach the river, turn right – upstream. The Silver River was running deep and clear. The current is fairly stiff – maybe 2 to 2.5 MPH so it will take some effort to get upstream.

We spotted numerous large fish and many different species of birds along the way including anhinga, great blue heron, ibis, little blue and tri-colored heron. Unfortunately, no alligators or monkeys since we didn’t go all the way to the springs. The monkeys can usually be seen between the Silver River State Park canoe launch and the Silver Springs theme park so I didn’t really expect to see any in the lower portion of the river. If you don’t see any on your trip, don’t let it discourage you – you’ll just have to come back and try again!

Landing is prohibited along the entire run, with the exception of the canoe / kayak launch at the state park. If you are going to do the entire trip, plan on spending 5 - 6 hours in your boat

Being short on time and not wanting to setup a tent in the dark, at 2 miles we turned around and headed downstream. If you have two hours or all day, Silver River is definitely one of Ocala’s best places to paddle. Give it a try.

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Location Data:

Difficulty: Moderate
Location Type: River
Boat Type: Kayak
Distance (miles): 4
Fees/Costs $: $3 entrance

Photos from Silver River:    (Click image to view full size)

Silver River No Comm
Silver River

Lower section of the Silver River near Ray Wayside Park.

Silver River Anhinga No Comm
Silver River Anhinga

Anhinga on the Silver River.

Silver River 2 No Comm
Silver River 2

Afternoon paddle trip on the Silver River.


Post Date: 9/25/2006

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