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Canoeing & Kayaking

Eau Gallie River, Melbourne, Florida USA

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Copyright 2001 Alfonso Vazquez-Cuervo - See Terms of Use

Our Route Summary

  • Submitted by: Dave White
  • Date Submitted: 11/2001
  • Location: Ballard Park, Melbourne Florida USA
  • Class: 1 with one short portage
  • Distance Paddled: about 5 miles round trip
  • Water Level: water level changes typically don't affect this paddle
  • Water: brackish at start, changing to fresh as local stormwater runoff enters the river upstream
  • Wildlife: many birds – herons, egrets, pelicans anhingas, alligators
  • Special Regulations:

Entry and Exit

  • Directions: From US 1 south of Eau Gallie Blvd., turn east on Thomas Barbour Road, and follow it to the end at Ballard Park
  • GPS: N 28 deg 07.515' W 080 deg 37.523'
  • Fee: none
  • Description: sloped grass area next to concrete boat ramp and docks
  • Parking: adjacent paved
  • Facilities: picnic shelters, tennis courts, restrooms, playground, and other amenities
  • Handicap Access: yes

What We Saw

After putting in at Ballard Park, we paddled upstream, into minimal current, across the broad bay with stately homes on each side, many with boat docks. Several marinas flank this wide portion. After crossing under the Florida East Coast Railroad bridge, the River narrows only a bit, and continues to be flanked by nice homes.

About 1.5 miles upstream a small dam (photo at right) with about three inches of flowage over four eight foot sections of spillway requires one to portage.

GPS: N 28 deg 07.616' W 080 deg 38.717'

The north side portage (on your right facing upstream) may be a little easier put in on a small beach than the narrow cement dam on the south side. Note that the cement areas exposed to water are extremely slippery.

At a point near the Eau Gallie Blvd. bridge, the River narrows, and the north side becomes heavily vegetated, with many Brazilian Pepper trees. There are numerous patches of native palmettos, oaks, and mangroves, some appearing very pristine. Unfortunately, at this time there was a fair amount of litter caught in the cat tails, slat marsh grasses, and other water vegetation. Back yards of homes with mowed lawns reached to the water’s edge on the south side almost to the end of the navigable portion at Croton Road.

Numerous small fish, possibly mullet, repeatedly rippled the surface. Traffic sounds and airplanes were sometimes intrusive. Nevertheless, this is a very pleasant leisurely two hour paddle - one which is probably not often kayaked or canoed. Many pelicans and other water birds were in evidence throughout, even near the boat ramp at Ballard Park.

Don't forget to enjoy "one of the best echoes I've ever heard," as Al Vazquez, put it, at the turn around point under the bridge at Croton Road.

GPS: N 28 deg 07.965' W 080 deg 39.292'

This bridge is typically to low to paddle. And the river beyond is channeled and not a good paddle anyway.