Wacissa Springs to Big Blue Spring
Wacissa Springs is located about 20 miles East of Tallahasse, Florida in Jefferson County. It is a popular park close to the head springs. After about a 30 minute drive I arrived at Wacissa and pumped up my Sea Eagle 330 and launched.
There were several wading birds, Snowy Egrets, Black Crown Night Herons, Wood Ducks, Great Blue Herons, Osprey, Red-shoulder Hawks, Belted Kingfishers, and probably some I have missed. These birds are easily viewed within 100 yards of the launch site.
There is a large island maybe 250 yards from the launch site in the middle of the river. Past the island there are several side creeks to the Wacissa River going down stream on the left hand side, the first gets shallow and narrow very quickly, and is easily missed as it is reached by a hair pin turn. The next two wider and at about a 90 degree angle so they are easier to locate and are marked by a stand of several big Cypress Trees and fairly wide to start, but again get narrow and shallow. You can spend five or ten minutes easily exploring these side creeks, or much longer if you want to deal with fallen trees that may require you to half portage in knee deep water. There is a lot of wildlife if you choose to explore these creeks.
After these first three side creeks you will find a forth side creek, again marked by a large stand of Cypress trees. This creek is quite wide and if you avoid the fallen trees at the entrance close to the mouth paddling is easy. After maybe 1/4 mile you will find two floats over Big Blue Spring. This area is maybe 150 feet across with crystal clear water maybe 40-50 feet deep. You can pull your kayak on the floats and look down into the springs, or jump in to cool off if the weather is warm. There is a smaller creak leading from Big Blue Spring that is similar to the previous two creeks, with fallen trees blocking the creek and wildlife to view.
When I arrived at Big Blue Springs it was around 4:00PM on a Friday and there were two kayaks there, but in the next 30 minutes four more boats arrived, one a motor boat with 5 people on it. It does get crowded on weekends, and even after work on weekdays. So I headed back to the head springs.
The trip back was up stream but the current was minimal and I really did not have any problem. There was a crowd gathering at the head springs since this is a popular swimming hole and it was a warm late summer day. After I packed up my 330, I went to the swimming hole to cool off in the clean, clear spring water and drove back to Tallahassee.
You could easily vary the length of a trip here. I have included a link to information about the Slave Canal (below) which is about a 17-mile trip one way. However, this Wacissia River trip is the first one I would recommend preparing to do the Slave Canal. You will get used to the area and have a fun time. If you want to take a trip down the Wacissia that requires more skill and effort it is easy to build up your skills with shorter trips.
One thing I like about Wacissa is while it is fun to spend a couple of hours going to Big Blue Springs, it is also possible to spend all day doing the Slave Canal, or even longer camping along the way.
There is plenty of parking in a dirt lot. There is a concrete launch site for big boats and a grass and dirt site for paddling boats (that is where I launch). There are picnic tables and a concrete platform with a ladder for swimming.
No fees or permits are required for paddling boats; motor boats may require valid registration.
Wacissia is at the junction of Tram Road and 59. I just drove East from Tallahassee on Tram Road till I hit 59 then turned right and where the road splits into the park entrance and 59 I took the park entrance.
The Slave Canal is a trip well described in this link:
This is a trip not to be taken lightly. The maps in this pdf show where the major features are starting at the head springs all the way to where you can exit on the Aucilla if you traverse the Slave Canal.