Another high overcast day was perfect for this Fall paddle. We were two dozen paddlers from 27/80 Paddlers out of Stuart, Florida. Nice abandoned boat ramp now used for River access with plenty of parking just west of US441.
This is part of the Santa Fe River Trail that curves past hardwood hammocks and the best part of the river to enjoy the springs, swallets, sucks and rises of the Santa Fe. Most of the springs are 2nd magnitude. With the low water, we first encountered the Columbia Spring/Rise/Swallet visible from the Put-in.
The rains of the prior week muddied up the water so the visibility wasn't the greatest, but the current, multitude of springs and sucks, variety of wildlife, and peacefulness of the River made this a great 13 mile paddle. We stopped for Lunch after 5 miles at Poe Springs on the Left Bank. We got out at the floating dock and had the picnic area to ourselves. 2 miles further we stretched at Rum Island Park on the right for a quick dip (no facilities).
We saw Naked Ed - a little bit of local color at Lilly Spring, and the goats immediately after Ed. We paddled up the spring run at Blue Springs following the boardwalk on the left. Then we came to the most congested part of the river at Ginnie Springs. There's a long, long campground on the left that looked like a giant tailgate party - tubers, paddlers, divers, beer drinkers, rope swingers and jumpers. It was fun to be in among all the action at Devil's Eye and Devil's Ear. Then after all the hustle and bustle, we had another 3 miles until the Take-out on the Left just before the bridge at SR47.
It took about 7 hours including our Lunch stop and side adventures. It was a 20 minute drive from the Take-out to the Put-in to retrieve the vehicles. (No facilities at Take-out or Put-in - that's why we stopped at Poe Springs.) This was a fabulous easy paddle. We'll do this again and hopefully the River will be clearer.
This was Day Two of a Three Day Paddling Trip.
Our group stayed at the five 2-bedroom cabins at Fanning Springs State Park about 30 miles/1 hour away. Cabin reservations at reserveamerica.com
If you stay longer than 30 minutes at Poe Springs County Park, it's $6 per person ($3 Seniors). We stopped here for our Picnic Lunch and Bathrooms.
Put-in: From I-75 North of Gainesville take US441 North to High Springs. In High Springs, follow US441 North (also US41); 1.25 miles, turn Left on Boat Ramp Road and go to the end. (If you get to the Bridge, you've gone too far.)
Take-out: From High Springs take US41 / US27 South; less than .5 miles, turn right on CR340 (182nd Ave); 8 miles to the intersection of SR47, turn right towards Fort White; 3 miles to the dirt turn off on the Right as you approach the Bridge over the River.
Page Two of the Winter 2008 Alachua County Publication THE WADER has a map showing the Springs and Swallets of the Lower Santa Fe River. You can find it at: