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Silver River Report
(Silver River-Head Spring down.)

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Report By:  paddlesolo    Date: 10/22/2013 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 13 photos     Map & Directions: View

The State of Florida now has included the former tourist attraction as part of Silver River SP and built a very nice paddling launch near the head spring. Members of the FPCKC decided to give it a try.

My Report:

If you haven't read how the state of Florida has acquired Silver Springs and added the land to Silver Springs State Park, you might want to click on this link and read the recent history of the change of ownership.

The park service has acted quickly in installing an excellent launch for people who paddle. It is on an existing canal that opens at the bottom of the large spring area making a very easy paddle up to see the largest vent, and paddle around in the area hunting for more of the 69 vents that make up Silver Springs.

Thirteen members of the Florida Panhandle Canoe and Kayak Connection joined me in a camp-out at Silver River State Park in order to have the pleasure of paddling downstream. The die-hard paddlers are still beginning at Rays Wayside Park and paddling six miles up and six miles back, but our group chose the downstream paddle, running a shuttle to Rays Wayside Park.

Silver Springs and the Silver River which it creates, is one of the greatest paddling streams in Florida, although recently the springs and therefore the river have seen a drop in amount of water and pollution. With the state of Florida in charge, changes will be made that should improve the area for future generations.

There is a great amount of wildlife including turtles, water birds, and alligators. These animals are accustomed to the many paddlers and the glass bottom boats, so are not as skittish as in other places, affording wonderful photographic opportunities. Wild flowers abound on the banks, especially Cardinal Flower, Pickeral Weed and many yellow flowers.

Since there is a strong outflow from the spring, there is a good current going downstream. One does need to be aware that power boats including pontoon boats may use the stream although they cannot make a wake, so are traveling slowly. There was a pontoon boat used by Marion County as a classroom that came to the headspring, and then stopped at a special dock at the original state park site beside the river.

The old boat ramp that could be accessed by a half mile walk from the parking lot in the original Silver Springs State Park is still available. Our group took a lunch break at this spot which is two miles downstream from the head spring. We pulled boats up on the ramp, and tied some of them in the water, and sat on the benches to eat and chat. There is also a porti-potty at this spot.

From that point, it is another four mile paddle to Ray's Landing. One has actually entered into the Ocklawaha right before seeing the canal from the basin at Rays Landing on the left. There is no sign, but just a short distance up the canal is a "No Wake" sign clearly visible from the river, and that is what caught my attention.

Lovely, lovely, paddle. I am so happy to be able to do just six miles downstream and use the marvelous paddle boat launches.

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Location Data:

Difficulty: Easy
Location Type: River
Boat Type: Kayak
Distance (miles): 5.6
Fees/Costs $: $5.00 Rays Landing

Photos from Silver River-Head Spring down.:    (Click image to view full size)

New Launching Spot No Comm
New Launching Spot
My kayak ready to go No Comm
My kayak ready to go
Classroom Pontoon No Comm
Classroom Pontoon
White Spider Lily No Comm
White Spider Lily

The scientific name is Hymenocallis littoralis

One of Many No Comm
One of Many
Common Moorhen No Comm
Common Moorhen
Silver River Cabin No Comm
Silver River Cabin

No, this rustic cabin was not the one we stayed in.

Primitive Necessity No Comm
Primitive Necessity
Ahinga drying Wings No Comm
Ahinga drying Wings
Immature Moorhen No Comm
Immature Moorhen
Another One Spotted No Comm
Another One Spotted
Wood Duck, Friends No Comm
Wood Duck, Friends
Deceptive Smile No Comm
Deceptive Smile

Special Interests and Comments:

Special InterestsOne can rent boats at the landing in the park from a concessionaire.

Post Date: 10/24/2013

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