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Trip report: October 2019

Ichetucknee River...

Kayaking in North Florida

The Ichetucknee River runs about 5.2 miles from Ichetucknee Spring to the Santa Fe River. Fed by at least 9 springs, this is a pristine and beautiful river, designated as a National Natural Landmark. The first 3.2 miles within Ichetucknee Springs State Park is the most popular. Tubing is very popular and it can get crowded in the summer - best to paddle during the cooler months between Labor Day and Memorial Day. Launch from just below the main spring and paddle downstream about 3 miles to the take-out within the park. Or, continue to the River's confluence with the Santa Fe River and downstream to the public take out at Hwy 129 for a total trip of about 9.8 miles. (Detailed map and photos below.)

paddle Ichetucknee River, kayak, canoe

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Ichetucknee River

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Distance: 5.2 miles, 3.2 miles are within the State Park
Location: Columbia County (Fort White)
Difficulty: Easy
Tidal: No
Launch points: Ichetucknee Springs State Park (See map)
Nearby points of interest: Gainesville, University of Florida, Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park


Paddling Adventures (at the State Park; rentals, shuttle)
Adventure Outpost (High Springs, tours)

Support and Advocacy:

Friends of Ichetucknee Springs State Park

 Page Summary:

  1. Paddling on the Ichetucknee River
    - Ichetucknee Springs State Park - north launch
    - Ichetucknee Springs State Park - south take-out
  2. More About Ichetucknee Springs State Park
  3. More Information and Resources

Paddling on the Ichetucknee River... Comments and Photos

Between the launch and take-out are two landings - Midpoint Dock and Dampiers Landing. There's a short walk to both launch and take-out, so bring wheels if you've got them or use one of the many outfitters serving the area. Many paddle up and back within the Park, but for those extending their trip onto the Santa Fe River, the boat ramp at Hwy 129 is easy on-off. Within the Park, all is a protected and no motorboats. Disposable containers and wrappers are not allowed. Coolers are inspected.

Ichetucknee Springs State Park - north launch

The State Park north entrance is the main access for paddling, the springs, and other park activities. Between the launch and take-out are two landings - Midpoint Dock and Dampiers Landing.

Ichetucknee Springs State Park - south take-out

Use the outfitter shuttle, or wheels are great here. The South Take-Out gate is closed to vehicle traffic from April through September due to high usage, the take-out may be accessed from trails at the south entrance, or tram service is available.

More About Ichetucknee Springs State Park

The park provides parking, restrooms, picnicking, playground, showers, a concession, and Visitor Center. In addition to paddling and tubing, activities include swimming and scuba diving, plus hiking on three nature trails. The park is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail with a large variety of birds, and wildlife including alligators, turtles, beaver, otters, deer and more. The river flows through hammock, forest and cypress floodplain.

More Information and Resources

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