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Silver River Report
(Silver River, Silver Springs)

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Report By:  paddledipper    Date: 3/23/2012 
Rating:Trip Rating     Photos: See 8 photos     Map & Directions: View

An enjoyable wildlife filled paddle! - The BEST!

My Report:

I've read and enjoyed many of your trip reports but this is my first posting. Dave, the Central Florida Expert was so helpful in advance and patiently answered many questions for me. I believe prior knowledge makes for a much better trip, EVERYTIME!

It was beautiful day in Central Florida for a paddle!

My friend, my 11 year old daughter and I drove from the Sanford, Florida area to Owens Lake and met up with fellow paddler who has a place there. We drove over to Ray's Wayside Park on Hwy 40 ($5 parking) and put our kayaks in the water at 10:05AM. It's a clean nice park with bathrooms and a staging area right by the put-in. My friend's were both in solo kayaks but because this was my daughter's first long paddle the two of us used a borrowed tandem for the trip. Love generous kayaker friends!

After a short paddle down a canal, we turned right into the Silver River headed upstream. The current was mild and although it did pick up slightly around and some bends we never felt strained at all; it was overall a pleasant upstream paddle.

There were blue flags in bloom and several other purple flowers I don't know the name of.

This was my first trip with an eTrex so I have rather accurate mileages and times.

I've been on several river trips but this one tops them in all in wildlife sightings! Along the paddle to Silver Springs Amusement Park where the head spring is located we spotted upwards of 100 turtles, blue herons, great egrets, ibis, cormorants drying their wings and many other birds. I'm no bird expert but I recognize some and ask about the others. There were several small groups of ducks and another I'm not sure of but thought MIGHT be a moorhen. Alligators were plenty. There were many 3-5 foot guys but they kept their distance and we kept ours.

I know youíre wondering if we saw monkeys. Let me tell you, we hit the mother load in the Rhesus monkey department that day. We passed 4-5 troops of them! They entertained us well swinging from the trees, falling from branches and watching us like we were the wildlife. One adult monkey was tenderly picking at a juvenile and searching the little oneís ears like maternal monkeys do. Like the gators, everyone kept their distance and behaved nicely. We encountered no aggressive monkeys but unfortunately did see one couple in a canoe feeding them.

You pass through Silver Springs State park but the only access you come across is a nice canoe/kayak put in with a porta potty for those in need. If you put in here it's only a 2 mile paddle to the head spring BUT I was told it's a 1/2 mile trek from the parking area to the put-in. Personally, I'd rather paddle 4 miles than drag a yak a half of one.

There are very few places to stop and eat a snack along the bank so our group pulled up to a few cypress knees in the water and had a bit to eat about 3 miles in to fuel us the rest of the way up. We did pass a smaller spring with a tiny beach. Some brave swimmers were enjoying it on our return trip.

We made it from Ray's Wayside Park to the head spring right at 4 hours. Once there we paddled around talked, watched the glass bottom boats, ate again and viewed the fish that were showing up beautifully in spring. A mother and son in a canoe tried to point out underwater statues to us but the glare of the sun didnít allow us a good visual.

After our break at the head spring we paddled back downstream and continued seeing more wildlife. We stopped at the State Park area and stretched our legs a bit. We had to watch a small juvenile alligator that sat about 6 feet from out kayaks and was curious enough to swim towards us when we waded in the water but we got on in our kayaks and he turned away. Dang ankle biters! A bit further downstream we came across a log with 3 tiny alligators (maybe 5-6 inches) and sure enough as we paddled past there was big momma at the end of the log guarding her babies and daring us to come near. No problem momma, we love our babies too and weíll leave you to yours.

We crossed paths with several kayakers, a few canoes, a couple pontoon boats, a couple fishing boats and one young man paddling standing up on an ocean kayak. Everyone was considerate to us kayakers and very friendly.

The return paddle downstream took half the time at 2 hours. We took our time during the whole paddle and didnít rush once, until we heard distant thunder just at we reentered the canal headed back to Rayís Wayside Park and we decided to call it a day.

We took our kayaks out at 5:05PM and paddled 10 miles round trip.

Please forgive my wordy report but I enjoyed this trip so much! The Silver River is a MUST DO if you enjoy seeing wildlife and because we did it on a weekday the river traffic was low in the human department.

Plan to take your time and if you're like me, just when you're about ready to give up and turn around headed back downstream it means the head spring and amusement park is just around the bend!

Get Map & Directions for this trip

Location Data:

Difficulty: Moderate
Location Type: River
Boat Type: Kayak
Distance (miles): 10.5
Fees/Costs $: 5

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

Smaller Spring No Comm
Smaller Spring
Blue Flags No Comm
Blue Flags
Alligator Sunning No Comm
Alligator Sunning
Cormordant No Comm
Passerby No Comm
Silly Monkeys No Comm
Silly Monkeys
Faithful Steeds No Comm
Faithful Steeds
Plain Happy! No Comm
Plain Happy!

Special Interests and Comments:

Special InterestsHow did the monkeys end up on the river? Read this!

Post Date: 3/26/2012

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