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Latest update: Nov. 2013

Wekiva River... Wild and Scenic Florida

The Wekiva River begins at Wekiva Springs State Park and runs 16 miles north to the St. John's River. The Wekiva is one of only two National Wild and Scenic Rivers in Florida (the Loxahatchee River is the other). The Wekiva River and Rock Springs Run together comprise the Wekiva Paddling Trail. Despite proximity to Orlando and its developed suburbs, the river maintains its pristine natural beauty. However, it is threatened by pollution and utilities extracting water from the aquifer that otherwise would flow to the springs. (Detailed map and photos below.)

paddle Wekiva River

Distance: 16 miles; the 27 mile Wekiva Paddling Trail includes Rock Springs Run
Location:
Seminole County
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Tidal: No
Launch points: Wekiva Springs State Park (Wekiva Springs Road), Wekiva Island (Miami Springs Road), Wilson's Landing, Katie's Landing (rt. 46, Sanford), Highbanks Marina (St. John's River) (See map)
Nearby points of interest: Wekiva Springs State Park, Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park

Rentals/Outfitters/Tours:

Nature Adventures (rentals, park concessionaire)

Wekiva Island (rentals)

Central Florida Nature Adventures (tours)

Support and Advocacy:

Friends of the Wekiva River

Wekiva Wilderness Trust

Wekiva River... Comments and Photos

Wekiva Springs is a popular destination and the river can be busy, especially on weekends. Rentals and a launch are located at Wekiva Springs State Park, as well as camping, swimming and snorkeling, fishing, hiking, picnicking, off-road bicycling, concession, playground, and a Nature Center. Be careful as the Wekiva approaches the St. John's due to heavy motorboat traffic. Wildlife sightings includes alligators, birds, turtles, deer, and bears.


Wekiva Springs State Park to Wekiva Island

This can be a busy section - especially on summer weekends - with paddlers launching from both Wekiva Springs State Park and Wekiva Island, plus others from Rock Springs Run. A positive is that no motorboat traffic is allowed within the State Park.


Downstream from Wekiva Island

We paddled about 1.25 miles downstream from Wekiva Island. There's some boat traffic in this area, but a pretty paddling ride with some side channels to explore.


Katie's Landing Upstream to SR46 Bridge

Katie's Landing is the only launch on the river in the Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park. The river is wide here, with little shade, and some motorboat traffic. There are some homes along the shoreline to the east. To the west is Seminole State Forest and the Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park (camping, hiking and equestrian trails, off-road biking, and fishing).


Katie's Landing Downstream

The river was more narrow in this direction, and very pretty with several side canals for exploring. We saw lots of birds here. Katie's Landing used to be in private hands, but is now part of the state preserve.


Wilson's Landing

The park is pretty with a boardwalk overlooking the river and a big picnic pavilion available for rental. To launch requires wheels or dragging your kayak or canoe downhill about 100 yards (and consequently, back uphill after your paddle). For that reason, we launched from Katie's Landing.


Wildlife along Wekiva River

The abundant wildlife include the usual alligators, turtles, birds, fish. Bears, otters and deer are also seen.

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