Slave Canal: a beautiful connection between two rivers.
A narrow, shaded passageway with clear water and palm trees that also has a small "drop" near the end.
The Slave Canal should be on the "must do" list for Florida Panhandle paddlers. The Slave Canal connects the Wacissa River to the nearby Aucilla River and was a long-ago failed attempt to provide a passageway for logging. It is a very short, but beautiful trip that includes lots of welcome shade for summer trips and plenty of palm trees, so you know you are in Florida. The water starts out crystal clear, fed by the springs of the Wacissa River, but by the time you reach the Aucilla, the water is much darker. In one section, you'll see rocks that were stacked by hand in the 1800s. We also noticed damage done by wild hogs, which are becoming a bigger problem.
Efforts have definitely been made to keep a route open that is wide enough for canoes and kayaks, but you should expect some pullovers and limbo logs along the way.
The entire trip from Goose Pasture on the Wacissa River to Aucilla Landing (south of Nutall Rise) on the Aucilla River is only 5.1 miles, so take your time and enjoy the scenery.
Do pay attention to where you are going, though! The Slave Canal starts about 1.9 miles downstream from Goose Pasture with a right hand turn. There is a small sign marking the entrance to the Slave Canal to help you make the turn. If you miss the turn, you will end up at a sink (it goes underground) of the Aucilla River with not many good options other than paddling back upstream.
In addition to pullovers and obstacles, the Canal features a small drop (depending on the water level).
When you reach the Aucilla River (you can't miss the current), paddle upstream about a quarter of a mile. This is easier said than done and may present a challenge. Keep struggling, though. You will see the ramp on your right.
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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Aucilla Landing (Nutall Rise)
Launch: Paved ramp. 1000 feet north of Hwy 98 on Aucilla Landing Rd.
Parking: Parkign for several cars. A few nearby houses nearby, but still somewhat Isolated.
Facilities: Portable toilet.