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Al V

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Our Route Summary

  • Submitted by: Al Vazquez
  • Date Submitted: 2/2001
  • Location: North of Chuluota, east of Orlando and west of Titusville
  • Class: Typically flat water river with some current
  • Water Level: we paddled during a time of extreme low water and had shallow spots, but only one minor pullover on a sand shoal
  • Distance Paddled: about 9 miles one way (5 hours)
  • Water: fresh, tannic
  • Wildlife: Alligator, turtles, Willow trees, water lilies, gar, catfish, and other various large fish

Entry

  • Directions:
    • From I-95 north of SR 50:
      • Exit I-95 onto SR 50 west
        • Drive toward Orlando and Christmas
        • Travel about 17.6 miles
        • SR 50 will merge with Route 520
        • SR 50 also becomes Colonial Drive
  •  

    • From I-95 south of State Route 528:
      • Exit I-95 onto SR 528 west (Exit 205AB)
        • Drive toward Orlando
        • Travel 10.5 miles
      • Exit onto SR 520 west (Exit 31)
        • Travel 8.6 miles
        • SR 520 merges with SR 50
        • Travel 3.8 miles

       

    • Turn right (north) onto Chuluota Road (Route 419)
      • Travel 8 1/4 miles to the bridge over the river.
    • Before crossing the bridge, turn right
    • Turn left immediately into the small parking area.
      • The portage to the river is About 75 yards
  • GPS: N 28 degrees 39.330' W 81 degrees 10.191' (actual)
  • Fee: none
  • Description: grassy banks
  • Parking: paved space for 5 or 6 vehicles about 75 yards from the river
  • Facilities: none

Exit

  • Directions: From the Entry point above, head back south to Snowhill Road. Turn Left (east) onto Snowhill and drive to the bridge over the river there. Before crossing the bridge, exit to the right and leave your vehicle there to shuttle back to the entry point. The round trip trip drive from the put in is only about 20 minutes.
  • GPS: N 28 degrees 40.677' W 81 degrees 06.866' (actual)
  • Fee: none
  • Description: grassy banks
  • Parking: adjacent unpaved
  • Facilities: none. (There are excellent hiking and biking trail heads on Snowhill Road however.)

What We Saw

The Econlockhatchee River is a classic paddle in central Florida. It originates as a couple of smaller creeks that can be paddled only during very high water by technically skilled paddlers and continues past our take out point all the way to the St. Johns River. This section starts to the north then turns to the east.

An unusual characteristic of the river are numerous high sand bluffs like the one pictured at left. Turkey Creek is one of the only other rivers in central Florida with such bluffs.

Though heavily used for recreation by nearby Orlando, the river remains teeming with fish, alligators, and a variety of plant life.

I saw one of the largest gators yet. My fellow paddlers told me it was on the far bank in the water. I finally saw it's head some six to eight feet from shore. As I approached to take a photo (still from a safe distance), I realized that what I thought was a large log on the bank behind its head was actually the tail of the big guy shown at right.
After a couple of hours of paddling, the river widens dramatically. At one of it's widest points with a spur to the river right is a nice landing for lunch. When we stopped, there was a primitive picnic table and the area was adorned with voodoo-like trinkets.

There is also a trail through a Palmetto forest leading from the clearing. If you go hiking, be careful not to walk near the high sand bluffs up river from the lunch area as the sand can give way.

Near the take out, the Florida Trail crosses the river over a very nice foot and horse bridge shown in the photo. This bridge is a nice rest stop with some bench seats and shade right by the river; a great place to chart with passing hikers and equestrians.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There used to be a smaller bridge that had been cleverly crafted by Florida Trail and Sierra Club volunteers on the remains of an old railroad span. It's shown in the smaller photo at right.

 

On our February paddle, Willow trees on the river had the fragrant blooms shown at left. Stop and smell the Willow tree blossoms! (Unless, of course, you're allergic to Willow tree Blossoms :-)