UPPER OKLAWAHA RIVER
This twisting, dark-water river offers few public access points. There
is no problem with logs or fluctuating water levels. The current flows
fast enough to make it tiring to paddle upstream. Two days are
required to make the entire trip, but you can launch a canoe or take
it out at several points along the river, reducing total floating time.
Those points are at Sharps Ferry, Wayside Park, Gores Landing, and
Eureka Bridge. Limited overnight camping is available at Gores
This is an easy trip, crossing Lake Eaton and then down the narrow
creek to Highway 314. Slow current in the stream permits paddling
back up. A few logs may be encountered during periods of low water.
CANOES AND EQUIPMENT
Canoes have carried people and materials on Florida's rivers, lakes,
and streams for thousands of years. They offered the Indians an easy
way to move loads along before overland transportation was
developed. Now, with highways crisscrossing the landscape, our
quiet waterways offer a chance to escape backward in time to the
undeveloped Florida of centuries ago.
The Indian dugout canoe, carved from a cypress log, has been
replaced by more maneuverable and stable craft. Modern canoes
are made of canvas-over-wood, aluminum, or fiberglass. Most peo-
ple prefer a canoe about 16 feet long for Florida conditions. Shorter
canoes lack the flotation to carry two adults and their camping gear,
or a couple of children. Canoes longer than 16 feet may be hard to
maneuver around some of the sharp bends common to headwater
streams. Also, a short canoe draws more water and thus tends to
be slower and rub on underwater obstructions.
You can rent canoes from many sources, including the conces-
sionaires at Juniper and Alexander Springs on the Ocala National
Forest. Many rental agencies are listed in the yellow pages of
telephone directories. Or, you may be able to borrow one from a
friend. Test several kinds of canoes before deciding on what
A good paddle can add to your enjoyment of a trip. Most people find
a paddle about as high as their nose to be the right length. Light-
weight spruce or cypress paddles are less tiring and will work fine
unless you abuse them by using them as push poles on trees. It is
a good idea to carry an extra paddle in case of breakage.
The careful canoeist faces little danger in Florida streams, which lack
the whitewaters of mountain rivers. However, canoes might turn over,
usually after striking an underwater log or rock. Sometimes canoes
capsize when people trade places and violate the rule that only one
person should move at a time.
Don't panic if you suddenly find yourself in the water. Usually you
can touch bottom. Hang on to the canoe, which will float. Guide it
to a shallow spot and empty it by rolling it over on the bank. Equip-
ment such as cameras, camping gear, or lunches can be kept dry
and safe if placed in plastic bags tied to a thwart.
State law requires a Coast Guard-approved flotation device for
everyone. Life jackets should be worn by all nonswimmers or elderly
people; a flotation cushion will do for others.
Snakes may be seen resting on limbs. Most are nonpoisonous; all
will leave you alone if you don't bother them. Alligators won't bother
you in a canoe as long as you keep at least 10 feet away. Don't per-
mit your dog to swim in creeks or ponds or it may become a meal
for a 'gator.
Perhaps the greatest danger is from sunburn. A large hat, long
sleeves, or suntan lotion help prevent overexposure.
For more detailed descriptions of the canoe areas, use the follow-
ing U.S. Geological Survey topographical map quadrangles. These
map quadrangles can be obtained at local map and chart dealers
or write to Map Information Office, U.S. Geological Survey,
Washington, DC 20242.
Oklockonee River Lake Talquin, Smith Creek, Thousand Yard Bay,
Sanborn, McIntyre, St. Teresa
Bradford Brook Tallahassee
Lost Creek Arran
Lower Oklawaha River Lake Delancy, Welaka
Upper Oklawaha River Lynne, Ft. McCoy
Eaton Creek Lake Kerr, Fort McCoy
Juniper Creek Juniper Springs
Farles Prairie-Sellers Lake Farles Lake, Juniper Springs,
Alexander Creek Alexander Springs, Lake Woodruff
Upper Sopchoppy River Bradwell Bay, Crawfordville West
Owl Creek Forbes
River Styx Kennedy Creek
Kennedy Creek Kennedy Creek
New River Sumatra, Owens Bridge
APALACHICOLA NATIONAL FOREST
Apalachicola Ranger District
FL Highway 20
P.O. Box 579
Bristol, FL 32321
Telephone (904) 643-2282
OCALA NATIONAL FOREST
Lake George Ranger District
FL Highway 40 East
Route 2, Box 701
Silver Springs, FL 32688
Telephone (904) 625-2520
Wakulla Ranger District
US Highway 319
Route 6, Box 7860
Crawfordville, FL 32372
Telephone (904) 926-3561
Seminole Ranger District
FL Highway 19, North
1551 Umatilla Road
Eustis, FL 32726
Telephone (904) 357-3721
CANOEING THE OCAI .A NATIONAL FOREST...
Upper Oklawaha River Eaton Creek
OCALA NATIONAL FOREST
2 3 4
- -- _---
19.5 M--r 15 I:E
H 14 13
20 2T-_ 23 24
-28 26 25
7 .1 Lake:Store -
-e la 29
_.4 31 -3
5 4 --jx E
OCALA NATIONAL FOREST SCALE:0 5 MILES
OCALA NATIONAL FOREST SCALE: o
Lower Oklawaha River
OCALA NATIONAL FOREST
SCALE: 0 MILES
Farles Prairie Sellers Lake
OCALA NATIONAL FOREST
SCALE: o o 1 MILES
- PRIMARY HIGHWAY
-=- SECONDARY HIGHWAY
@) STATE OR COUNTY HIGHWAY
65 FOREST ROAD
- ACCESS POINTS
THE NATIONAL FORESTS
Salt Springs Run
OCALA NATIONAL FOREST
SCALE: o 5 1 ILES
ENT OF- ,
SALT SPRINGS RUN
Crystal-clear water gushes year-round from the springs and flows
about 5 miles before emptying into Lake George. Canoes can be
rented and launched from Carrol's Marina, located at the head of
Salt Springs Run. The slow-moving current allows paddling back
upstream to the Marina, rather than entering the often-rough Lake
George. Although there are few intermediate access points through
the surrounding marsh, an area suitable for primitive camping is
located on higher ground about 1 mile upstream from the lake. Power
boats also use this run.
Persons of any race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, or with any handicap-
ping condition are welcome to use and enjoy all facilities, programs, and services
of the USDA. Discrimination in any form is strictly against agency policy, and should
be reported to the Secretary of Agriculture, Washington, DC 20250.
LOWER OKLAWAHA RIVER
This is a dark, slow-moving,twisting river with little fluctuation in water
level. The current is slow enough so that you can paddle upstream.
Put in at the Rodman Dam Landing and take out at the Highway 19
Landing, which is reached by paddling south just after passing under
the Highway 19 bridge.
There are several high bluff areas along the river where you can
stretch your legs or camp for the night. Fishing can be good to
The canoe trip from Juniper Springs Recreation Area to the Highway
19 bridge is about 7 miles long and flows through the heart of the
Juniper Prairie Wilderness. You will be surrounded by a lush tropical
forest comprised of palms, cypress and many kinds of southern
The first 21/2 miles of this creek are narrow and winding, with a chan-
nel scarcely wider than 6 feet. Below Half-Way Landing, the stream
broadens out and becomes shallow and slow moving. There are no
intermediate access points, and the average family takes about 4
to 5 hours for the trip. Camping is discouraged along the stream.
Canoes and rehaul service are available from the Juniper Springs
Concessionaire on a "first-come first-served" basis and can be
reserved by contacting Tom Handley, Route 3, Box 651, Silver
Springs, FL 32688; telephone (904) 625-2808. Canoes cannot be
rented after 12 o'clock noon.
FARLES PRAIRIE SELLERS LAKE
Prairies are shallow lakes with fluctuating water levels and wide,
grassy borders. While there are not developed trails for canoeing,
these chains of lakes offer a chance for extensive exploring and
wandering during periods of high water. Best water conditions are
from June through October.
ALEXANDER SPRING CREEK
The water that pours from the giant spring flows for the first 5 miles
as a broad, clear, slow-moving stream. After that, there is a transi-
tion to a narrow, winding stream and finally, near Shell Landing the
stream once again becomes broad and slow moving. This canoe
run is usually open and is an easy trip. However, sometimes during
the late summer, water hyacinths may jam the stream between the
Ellis and Antonio Landings.
From Ellis Landing, the slow current permits paddling back upstream
to Alexander Springs. or on the lower portion of Alexander Creek.
Average canoeing time from the spring to Ellis Landing is 1 V/2 hours;
to 52B Landing is 4 hours. The trip to 52B is recommended only for
those who have had some canoeing experience.
Canoes can be rented on a "first-come first-served" basis from the
Alexander Springs Concessionaire. Plan on arriving before 9 a.m.
to improve your chance of getting a canoe. The Concessionaire is
not open all week so plan ahead to be sure of a canoe rental.
_V ~ ...
.; NE -L- I,
CANOEING THE APALACHICOLA NATIONAL FOREST Canoesareeasyto carryon a cartop carrier, but must be tieddown
securely with rope or straps. Each end of the canoe should be tied
." ^-A. to the car bumper to prevent the canoe from twisting and turning
,as you drive.
A canoe is easy to put into the water without getting your feet wet.
Ochlockonee River '"
"c' '; ,"" 'ver Two people can pick it up in the middle, walk to the bank, and feed
ch ock n.eRiv r. the canoe into the water hand-over-hand.
APALACHICOLA NATIONAL FOREST Getting into a canoe that has the bow on the bank and center sec-
SCALE: O 01 5 1 2 3 4 MILES tion unsupported in the air can cause damage. Make sure the canoe
.- Iis almost completely floating before boarding.
The basic propelling stroke is the bow stroke. Reach as far forward
II i Ias comfortable and pull the paddle through the water in a straight
S---& ~ r- Upper Sopchoppy River line. On the return the paddle is lifted above the water and turned
L..CA,-.F E so that the blade is parallel with the water (feathered) to reduce wind
/" .r '"APALACHICOLA NATIONAL FOREST resistance.
SCALE: -- -The backwater stroke is used to slow or stop the canoe. Simply
_" HSFORD., "''r n reverse the bow stroke and push.
I-- --" In narrow streams you often have to pull the bow sideways with the
S-. paddle to maneuver around sharp turns.
S. -The person in the stern uses a "J" stroke to keep the canoe on
-Gra course. Turning the paddle outward at the end of the stroke over-
BRADWELL B Y The three National Forests in Florida Apalachicola, Ocala, and
S- comes the canoe's tendency to turn.
-I. -r.......' -.. "."'---There is no whitewater such as you will find in the mountains, but
rt y 71! !'''p'^' '*" *a variety of streams awaits your visit. Each stream has its own
_- Te-- ---d WILDE % NES ,Spring Cthreek, begin broad with slow moving water and then become
.. L -i narrow and deep downstream. Others, like Juniper Creek, start
- ---- V Oscarcely wider than the canoe an d e nd up more thanks a hundred f eetour
S-'" '' vers. The numeriodicallyus stop towev enr, offer the scenery. In streams with
S- obstructing logs you will move at about 12 miles per hour
S. -' ''1 -- ," -i The streams are kept in their natural condition. You won't find roads
'' running paralle l alongside the streams awaits your visit. You may strehave to duck under
Slow-hangractristics that make it unhes or lift the anoe other partly subme, likrged logs.ex
S'' 1 EN The spring Creams are left in broad withese priw moving water aconditions to provide a
Jm ^ -- F, .- ... challenge and a sense of achievement, and to let visitors experience
I -Lanideie the quiet beauty of the unspoiled environment.
Los- t reek Be considerate of those who will canoe after you. Carry out all your
Trash so the stream will look natural. Please leave flowers, cypress
S" cAPALACHICOLA NATIONAL FOREST knees, and shrubs for others to enjoy.
_________ lOCHLOCKONEE RIVER
--' .sin Florida. As a canoeist, you usually have few problems with logs,
SLand only during drought conditions will short portages be necessary
-3-S / on the upper part. Water, toilet and camping facilities are available
'- tion areas. These areas are on creeks running into the river, giving
,,- + Ieasy access to the river. However, locating them from the river may
L.267mi| be difficult if the directional signs on the river have been vandalized.
-/- This small stream presents some of the most challenging canoe-
\ running on the Apalachicola National Forest because of the many sharp
itslow-highetandcn b ches or lift the canoe over partly submerge os
challenge and a sense of achievement, and to let visitors experuce
Sthequing logs. From October through January, the water is generally too
A L C e c February through May Lost Creek can be floated, but you will fre-
.'.- 2 / quently have to lift your canoe over logs.
Los- tra* Check the stream gauge on the upstream side of the Forest Highway
APALACHICOLA NATIONAL FOREST13 Bridge. shrubs for o A reading less than 2.30 feet indicates the creek is
OCimpassable; less than 4.50 feet indicates numerous logs will be
-- encountered while over 4.50 feet means good canoeing. You can
I iM Threach the put-in point by driving north along the powerline right-of-
S-. ~.way from Forest Highway 13.
NBradford Brook BRADFORD BROOK
APALACHICOLA This fascinating chain of cypress-ringed lakes is on the outskirts of
S--O LLnanvg NATIONAL FOREST Tallahassee. The lack of current in all but the westernmost 1/4 mile
'.' .- -. .- of stream permits even inexperienced canoeists to paddle in either
SCAL E:o__ direction.
B because water levels fluctuate greatly in these lakes, chLandeck the white
I- 3.. stream gauge about 100 feet east of the culvert under State Highway
li7t- *r ,-20 \\ -- 263 A reading between 0 and 1.20 feet indicates short portages may
N--7- -. --be necessary between lakes. Dry conditions under the gauge
-'n--n dictate that travel from one lake to the next may be impractical, but
pleasurable canoeing in a single lake may still be possible.
Apalachicoia --This stream prehas very swampy headwaters that are floatable, but may
S--- I require some searching before the main channel is discovered.
SThe level of this rival canoe, excepends greatly on recent rainfall, so that
although it is floatable as far up as the bridge over Forest Highway
L t 13 nearly every month throughout the year, daily floating conditions
-. *- Air r D rad o .'3 4 mi vary constantly. The U.S. Geological Survey stream guage at
14 feet before the Upper Sopchoppy can be considered canoeable;
otherwise you will encounter considerable dragging around logs and
over sand bars between pools.
"~ #~ 1j Jr \\/ -\ f, K i "r -.- .lb IChekteImmediately downstream from the upFostrest Highway 13 bridge, the river
River Styx Kenne y ree Owl Creek New River flows 13 B ridge. A reading less th e Bradwe Bay Widerness and ite s threcisne
APALACHICOLA NATIONAL FOREST and remote. Picnicking and resting on sand bars is possible during
Moderate to low water. However, camping along the river is dis-
CALE: o- 05 1, 2 3 4 courage because of the extreme and sudden variability of water
SCALE:_MILES ___ _.flows.
- T" ... -- !--- 7'
T;-.-*-'+,' 1 ,"W-. RIVER STYX
-- ....".. ..This river offers a comfortable day trip most easily reached from
(3 W 2 White Oak Landing where parking and restroom facilities are
h -t' : available. From White Oak Landing, you can go either up or
Bon .- i-- "-,downstream. The Apalachicola River is a short, 2- to 3-mile trip
S -- downstream. Throughout the year, the slow-moving creek is fairly
7_ deep throughout the year and is not affected much by fluctuations
Tel in the water level.
S+ KENNEDY CREEK
'- Kennedy Creek is a shown tributary off of the Apalachicola River. The
/'- -- '-,N creek offers beautiful scenery on a lazy, winding current. Camping,
'- ii/_ __L water, and restroom facilities are available at Cotton Landing. Pad-
\"- tdilers can go either upstream or downstream for several miles. The
S- palachicola River is aboul 4 miles downstream from Cotton Land-
-, .-T -,Ling While water levels do fluctuate, the deep channel allows passage
'".: ;,'\-- yearro EKd.
-- ---------- -C= Hickory Landing is an excellent put-in for a trip on Owl Creek. About
~il2 miles upstream from the Apalachicola River, Hickory Landing pro-
S- -- -vides camping, restrooms, and water free of charge. Below Hickory
Landing, Owl Creek is wide and deep and is lined by the beautiful
S' river swamp habitat that extends from the banks of the Apalachicola
ai_ iRiver. You can work your way upstream for several miles until the
"LI \- creek become es im passable.
iDakoith '" "--NEW RIVER
__ LLIf Lost Creek is challenging because of its many sharp bends, New
.- River is equally challenging because of the many downed trees and
logs that require you to pull over or portage. The trip is definitely worth
;yo-t._ .a the effort because it offers a firsthand look at the Mud Swamp/New
River Wilderness. You will pass through an area that is off limits to
-_ motorized boat travel, and encounter some of the prettiest and most
-:I_ .remote canoeing in north Florida.
~~~:1.-- --' .. .. ~-'The water level in New River fluctuates considerably and, while
i .. ...'- stream gauge readings are not available, visual inspection should
--.-,. .provide a reasonable clue of what to expect. Interested adventurers
i. "-.might also want to call the ranger district office in Bristol, Florida,
S. -' before making the trip. Drought conditions in the region create almost
-- impassible conditions on the New River. You can put in where New
I I ....River crosses Forest Highway 13 or along Forest road 182. Few, if
any, people have made it all the way through Mud Swamp because
the main channel starts to break up into numerous branches before
coming back together on the southeast corner of the wilderness.
Recreation Guide R8-RG 45 January 1990