Canoeing - Kayaking - Rafting
Spring to Dampiers Landing at the South Parking in Ichetucknee
Springs State Park near High Springs, Florida USA
Copyright 2010 Closewaters LLC-
Our Route Summary
- Submitted by: Al
- Date Submitted: 7/2010
- Location: just north of High Springs,
- Class: 1 with
a typical current of just over 1 mile per hour
- Distance Paddled: about
miles one way
- Water: clear
- Wildlife: wood
stork, turtles, alligators, egrets, herons, grasshopper, lilies,
snail eggs, fish, cypress trees, live oaks,
Regulations: no food, drink, tobacco, disposable items,
or pets on the river. We were allowed to take sunblock. Note
that this section of the river is only open during the summer
from the Saturday before Memorial Day through Labor Day. The
entry is limited to 750 tubers launching per day to protect
it. Weekends are so busy with people tubing down this river
cars are in queue along the highway at 7 AM, though the park
did not open
best! Friday morning, we were the first car in line
just before 8 am. All the side springs feeding the main channel
were marked "Restricted Area", but perhaps they may be entered
with the right permit in a kayak.
- Directions: The
From High Springs, go northwest on US 27. In Fort White, turn
right onto Route 47 north. In about 1.5 miles, turn west (left)
onto Route 238 (Old Bellamy Road). After about 3 miles, turn
left into the north entrance to Ichetucknee Springs State Park.
Another option for paddlers is to launch at Dampiers Landing
(see below) and paddle up the this entry point, then back down
- Fee: $5 per
paddler or tuber includes the shuttle to bring the driver back
to the spring to launch
About 100 foot dirt trail leading to wooden steps down
to a launch platform at the water. Look for the canoe launch
sign on the dirt road loop to drop boats as close as
possible to this entry point.
- Parking: paved
parking, though most drivers drop their boats or tubes and passengers
here, leave their vehicles at Dampiers Landing in the south parking
area and take the shuttle to return the driver here to rejoin
their passengers for the trip downstream.
Restrooms, paved parking, swimming at the spring, nature trails
- Special Handicap Access: None
- Directions: From
High Springs, go north on US 41. Less than a mile, turn west onto
NW 210 Lane and follow it as it turns northwest to the ramp less
than 1/2 mile down.
- GPS: N 29° 57.620'
W 82° 46.256' (actual reading)
- Fee: None
Slippery rocky beach and wooden ramp, unfortunately about two
hundred yards of wooden boardwalk and paved trail from the
parking area. There's a nice dirt road all the way to the beach,
but the park did not allow kayakers to use it. Bring wheels
to carry your boats that long distance.
- Parking: paved
on the other side of the concession stand and restrooms
restrooms, showers, concession stand, picnic tables, nature trails,
van shuttles to north area
put in (drivers only) and trams to the mid-point entry about 25 minutes by tube
ride upstream or from the end takeout just north of Route 27,
another 1 hour tube ride downstream.
Where We Paddled and What We Saw
Known as a popular river to tube
casually downstream, this crystal clear, spring fed river is also
a gorgeous paddle on this upper section of this tributary of the
Santa Fe River. Like the Santa
Fe River and other rivers in this
part of Florida, the Ichetucknee exits the ground as an artesian
with a healthy
flow. Unlike the Santa Fe however, you kayak the Ichetucknee on
clear water in this section. (The Aucilla
River is an even
more spectacular, faster flowing example of such a river that flows
above and below the ground along a section of the Florida Trail.)
the river from the ramp, paddle downstream to the right of
the put in facing the river. The current was obvious as several
people in tubes launched with us on Friday morning.
Like many such rivers,
the Ichetucknee's water temperature is moderated by the ground and
is usually a cool
72 degrees Fahrenheit year round. So it feels nice and cool in the
hot summer and nice and warm on cold winter days.
We kayaked this section of the Ichetucknee
River along with a few tubers under open stretches with a few overhanging
live oaks with Spanish Moss.
Paddling anywhere in Florida during the summer, it's a good idea to
check the weather forecast and Doppler radar before heading out as
afternoon thunderstorms are common. Fortunately, we had a clear sunny
It's always a treat to see a wood
stork; a bird with one of the ugliest heads, but gorgeous in flight
in flocks numbering hundreds of birds.
Looking down into the clear water,
saw many fish and swaying grasses. It's possible there may be otters
or alligators also.
|We saw a number of turtles.
But this was one of a couple of very large ones,
warming itself in the
sun of this open area on an
||Near Dampiers Landing, the tree canopy
covers more of the river. We saw snail eggs, exotic flowers, and
this colorful grasshopper by kayaking slowly with the tubers along