In case you didn't know, the Santa Fe River goes underground at O'Leno State Park then rises 3 miles away at River Rise. Our two dozen paddlers from 27/80 Paddlers out of Stuart, Florida paddled against the current to River Rise on another perfect Florida Fall day.
Be sure to make a Pit Stop in High Springs before Launching, there are no facilities. The abandoned boat ramp gave us River access with lots of parking. As soon as we were away from land, we all had to keep paddling just to stay even. Most of the land on both sides of the River are owned by the State, so this is a beautiful and remote trip. At the bends and curves, the still black water reflects the trees and is picture postcard perfect.
When the water level is low, you have to deal with a few shallow spots. On our day, the water wasn't low, so we only had to deal with the current. It's a 2 mile paddle against the current with a nice place to get out and stretch your legs when you get to River Rise. Be sure to stay to the Left - the deep bubbling current on the Right makes it a bit unstable. There's a footpath up the hill to signage that explains what's going on with the River. We were lucky enough to come across a Ranger.
After the leg stretch, it was a leisurely float back with the current. It took about 2.5 hours for the whole 4 miles including the rest stop.
This was Day Three of a Three Day Paddling Trip.
No Facilities at the launch but lots of Parking.
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
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.)