Juniper Creek

Ichetucknee River:  this is a short river, but it is long on beauty.

This is a crystal clear river that should be on everybody's list. It offers some of the best scenery in the state.

SKILL LEVEL:  Beginners and families. 

SCENERY:  Amazing!

LOCATION:  Near High Springs, Florida. 

ONLINE GAUGE:  Yes, check it out here.

The Ichetucknee River is a gorgeous spring-fed stream that only flows for five miles, but makes fans out of everyone who paddles or floats it.  The section that flows through the park is only 3.2 miles, but it is still worth the trip.  There are flowing grasses in the water and Spanish moss on the trees.  When the sun sparkles on the water, you will be glad you visited.

As if the views alone weren't enough, there are plenty of birds to see and manatees are seasonal visitors.  On our last trip there, we even saw wild hogs.  Seeing the hogs isn't a good thing because they can be very destructive.

The only downside of the river is that it is extremely popular, especially with tubers.  If you don't have your own boats (or something to float on), there are several outfitters all around the park.

TRIP SUGGESTIONS 

If you go to the north entrance of Ichetucknee Springs State Park between Memorial Day and Labor Day, you can unload your gear and boats, drive down to the Dampier Landing area, leave your car,  and catch the park's shuttle back up to your boat.  But you have to be one of the first 750 to arrive.  They cut off entry to the north section once the quota is reached.

There is no limit on the south section of the park.  Kayakers and canoers who are up to paddling against the stout current can start at the bottom and paddle upstream.  If you do this after the north entrance quota has been reached, you may get some privacy on the water.  

In the summer, the river is still awesome, but it can, quite literally, turn into bumper boats with all of the tubers on the water.  On a recent trip, one of our group was rammed by an out of control kayak paddled by a teenager.  The teenager promptly flipped her boat, but remained quite cheerful. 

Whether you do an out-and-back trip or just start at the top, take it easy.  Once you get to the top, try not to paddle, just stay off the banks, and take in the view.  This really is a float trip, and it will be over too soon

The Ichetucknee actually flows another two miles outside of the park before it joins the Santa Fe, but this lower section is nowhere near as nice as the protected area.  Doing the bottom section of the Ichetucknee would also require some distance on the Santa Fe where it is very wide.  We've done this before, but don't recommenced it.

TRIP INFORMATION

River Miles reflect the approximate distances from the previous launch site.

 

LAUNCH SITE MAP  (See next section for clickable directions)

I like this dry bag because it has shoulder straps and a water bottle pocket.  I've been hauling this a lot lately.

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Launch the map for locations of the springs on the river.

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LAUNCH SITE DETAILS & DIRECTIONS

Ichetucknee Springs SP -
North Entrance

Launch:  Gravel trail and boardwalk.  Easy entry off of dock.

Parking:  Plenty of parking.  Visible.

Facilities:  Restrooms.  Picnic tables.  Hiking trails.

Notes:  Entry fee.  Particularly crowded in summer, but also crowded on warmer days throughout the year.  From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the park runs a shuttle, but limits entry to the north site to 750 people.  Arrive early.

Ichetucknee Springs SP -
Dampiers Landing

Launch:  Go to Park's South entrance.  Quarter of a mile hike on paved sidewalk and boardwalk.  Launch from pier.

Parking:  Plenty of parking.  Visible.

Facilities:  Restrooms.  Picnic tables.   Seasonal snacks.

NotesEntry fee.  Bring wheels for your boat if you use this landing.  Particularly crowded in summer, but also crowded on warmer days throughout the year.

Ichetucknee Springs SP -
Kayak Takeout

Launch:  200 foot easy carry.

Parking:  Plenty of parking.  Fairly visible.

Facilities:  Restrooms.  Picnic tables.  

NotesEntry fee required.  This entrance is closed from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but you can ride on the park's trams and use their shuttle service.

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