We chose to paddle the southern half about 12-13 miles of this salt marsh run. Located about 80 miles north the full run includes rough camp sites between Crystal River and Homosassa on the northern end. The southern half runs from Homosassa to the Chassahowitzka. Launching from the Chassahowitzka CG boat ramp in crystal clear spring fed water, we paddled 3 miles into the brackish area where the cypress and palm trees disappeared. About another mile brought us to an island setup with a dock, outhouse and covered picnic tables. This was the only place we could exit our boats. Open water and a good breeze made it choppy but in another 1/2 mile we spotted an island with a house on it and changed course from west to north and were sheltered from the waves until the home stretch.
The first marker was missing but we located about every other marker for the route using topo maps and a compass.
We spotted a ranger on and confirmed our first cut north. That was the only boat until we reached the end of the route. The trail is not obvious and requires careful observation or better yet, GPS. About half the trail signs (crossed paddles with numbers) could be found. Including only 2 stops totaling 30 minutes it took us 6 hours to make the paddle feeling our way along the route. Wildlife was minimal but would be far more abundant in the winter. We reached the Homosassa River and turned east for 1 mile to our exit ramp. Holiday boat traffic gave us some fun waves to ride up to the no wake zone. Recreational paddlers should not consider this run unless very well conditioned.
Its an interesting run and worthwhile for strong paddlers with fast boats.
In Chassahowitzka there is a boat launch, restrooms and misc supplies. In Homossassa, there is an outfitter, Riversport Kayaks, with full kayak supplies and rentals, maps and eating places.
There is a $2 parking fee at the Chassahowitzka CG.
To Chassahowitzka from U.S. 19 to SR 480 for 3 miles to the boat launch see map: http://gorp.away.com/gorp/resource/us_nwr/fl_chass.htm. To old Homossassa, see map: http://www.flakayak.com/our-location.html.
Map of the Nature Coast Canoe and Kayak Trail from any local outfitter.