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Rock Springs Run...

Beautiful, Diverse Paddling to Wekiva River

Rock Springs Run is our favorite paddle run in Central Florida due to its clarity, diversity, and ever-changing beauty - we've seen new channels created, sandbars lost, and other changes over the years. Starting near Apopka, it meanders 9 miles, joining the Wekiva River about 6/10 mile below Wekiva Springs State Park. Together, Rock Springs Run and the Wekiva River comprise the Wekiva Paddling Trail. (Detailed map and photos below.)

paddle Rock Springs Run

Distance: 9 miles; part of the 27 mile designated Wekiva Paddling Trail
Location:
Orange/Seminole Counties
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Tidal: No
Launch points: Kings Landing (Apopka), Wekiva Springs State Park (Wekiva Springs Road), Wekiva Island (Miami Springs Road) (See map)
Nearby points of interest: Wekiva Springs State Park, Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park

Rentals/Outfitters/Tours:

Kings Landing (rentals, shuttle)

Wekiva Island (rentals)

Rock Springs Run... Comments and Photos

There is no launch at the Rock Springs springhead, the springhead is accessed via Kelly Park. Swimming and tubing are popular here, no boats are allowed. To access Rock Springs Run, launch from King’s Landing. From King's Landing, paddle up to the barricade, and then down to the Wekiva River. The current can be swift, and during low water it may be necessary to pull your kayak or canoe over an occasional sandbar. The Run's many twists and turns can be a challenge, and trees downed after storms can present some obstacles. In recent years, the outfitter at Kings Landing has done a good job removing these obstacles.

Kings Landing - Upstream

Kings Landing

Kings Landing (launch fee, rentals, store, restrooms) near Kelly Park in Apopka is the main launch onto the paddling trail. Paddle upstream to the bridge forming the barricade between the spring area and paddling trail, or paddle downstream to the Wekiva River and take-out at Wekiva Island.


Kings Landing to Rock Springs Springhead

Very scenic (called the Emerald Cut for a reason). Approaching the springhead are some cabins. The run to the springhead is closed off by a bridge/barrier - return the same way.

 

 

Kings Landing - Downstream

Kings Landing Downstream to Campgrounds

The run is wider with less shade, no places to pull off to snack or stretch. The three primitive campsites are located about halfway down the run (reservations required, accessible by kayak or canoe only).


 

Example of the changing run

Past the campgrounds about a half mile are some spots to pull off. Our favorite stopping off / picnic spot and example of the changing run is here -  shown over several  years, 2011-2019. Storms, water flow and Nature have changed the landing.


 

Campgrounds to Wekiva River Juncture

From our stopping off point the run goes through a narrow, twisty, shaded section before opening to a flats area dominated by lily pads. Approaching the Wekiva River, the run is again more shaded. At the juncture with the Wekiva, paddle upstream to the State Park or downstream to Wekiva Island and (eventually) to the St. Johns River.


 

End Rock Springs Run - River to Take-out

The last section to the Kings Landing drop-off at Wekiva Island is on the Wekiva River. For those paddling their personal watercraft, there's a sandy beach next to the boat ramp at Wekiva Island. Launching from Wekiva Island and paddling up Rock Springs Run is an option, pay launch fee. Wekiva Island has restrooms, food and drink.


Wildlife along Rock Springs Run

Wildlife include alligators, turtles, otter, deer and an occasional bear, plus birds such as ibis, heron, and anhinga. The water is very clear, so you can see the fish. Monkeys have been reported in the area, presumably the monkeys at Silver River are branching out.

One day while kayaking, we passed a black bear just sitting there - see short video.


About Rock Springs Run State Preserve:

The Preserve has off-road bicycling, hiking, and horseback riding., and there also is a primitive equestrian camping site.

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