Places to Paddle tm
Canoeing - Kayaking - Rafting

Santa Fe River from High Springs Ramp to Route 27 Ramp, Florida USA
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Our Route Summary

  • Submitted by: Al Vazquez,
  • Date Submitted: 7/2010
  • Location: just north of High Springs, Florida USA
  • Class: 1 with a typical current of just over 1 mile per hour, however there were a shoals, rocks hidden just below the surface, and couple of narrow, shallow channels where the current accelerated to 3 to 4 miles per hour over 50 to 100 foot distances, making any upstream paddling difficult in these areas
  • Distance Paddled: about 3 miles one way
  • Water: tannic spring water
  • Wildlife: turtles, alligators, egrets, herons, fish, otters, cypress trees, live oaks, Spanish moss
  • Special Regulations: 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° 51.128' W 82° 36.681' (actual reading)
  • Fee: None
  • Description: Cement ramp and small beaches on either side of the ramp. Beware of rocks along the beaches and shoals in the area of the ramp and especially downstream.
  • Parking: paved beside the ramp and unpaved along the road.
  • Facilities: None
  • Special Handicap Access: None


  • Directions: From Gainesville, take Interstate 75 north. Just past Alachua, exit onto Route 441 / 20 / 25 northwest to High Springs. In High Springs, take Route 27 / 20 northwest to the bridge over the river about 1 mile west of town. The put in and parking are on the north east side of the bridge.
  • Fee: none
  • Description: paved boat ramp with small adjacent beach
  • Parking: adjacent paved
  • Facilities: none there, but there are some at High Springs
  • Special Handicap Access: none


Where We Paddled and What We Saw

Entering the river from the ramp, paddle downstream to the left of the ramp facing the river. The current was obvious in the area of the ramp the day we paddled this section of the Santa Fe River. There are grasses growing from the bottom that float partially on top clearly showing the direction of the current.

The first 200 meters downstream of the put are shallow with rocky shoals, so be careful. There were faster flowing channels of water on either side by the shore, but these proved to have rocks hidden just below the surface that crunched the scraped the hull of my kayak several times. I found it better to paddle in areas where grasses indicated some depth below them.

Like many such rivers, the Santa Fe River'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.

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 day.

Parts of the shoreline had rocks eroded with deep holes, clearly well above the water level we paddled that day.

Other parts of the shoreline by calmer deeper sections of the river were covered with bright moss and floating duckweed. These nestled among tree roots entering the water, forming beautiful natural art along the shores of the Santa Fe River as we kayaked.

About 2 miles down, we came to a small outlet on river right where a strong side current swept what seemed like half the flow of the river into it. This impressive sight is a sink near the surface where much of the flowing river does in fact disappear below ground into a sink locals call "The Suck". Many such sinks in other rivers are well below the surface so the water appears calmer, but not this one. We played it safe and avoided kayaking into the fast flowing current leading into the small side outlet.

The flow from this sink reappears into the river a short distance downstream in one of several shallow channel areas of fast current on this section of the Santa Fe River.