February 2012
Canoe Trip on the Suwannee River

Click the Map and the pictures for a larger view.

The route was from Lafayette Springs State Park to the town of Branford on the Suwannee River Trail

I flew from Elmira and met Mike in Jacksonville.  We rented a car and drover to the Suwanne River Rendezvous.

Our plan was to paddle the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail from Lafayette Blue Springs State Park to Branford.

The Suwanne River is 235 miles long from the Okefenokee in Georgia to the Gulf.  All of it is canoeable but the last 171 miles is the Suwanne River Trail.

There is a wonderful 56 page paddling guide but it doesn't appear to be available online.  Call 800 868-9914.

There is a generalized map online at http://www.floridastateparks.org/wilderness/Maps.cfm

We rented a cabin for the night.
The cabin was quite comfortable with a bed in the loft and one in the bedroom.
We drove to Steinhatchee on the gulf for dinner.
In the morning Dan dropped us off at Lafayette Blue Springs.
You can see form the tree roots that the water is down 4 to 5 feet.  In fact only the lower part of the river is open because of low water.  Okefenokee is closed because of the low water and the prairie fires so Lafayette Blue Springs was the starting point.

The attraction along the Suwanee are the springs.  The area is underlain by limestone which has been hollowed out by mildly acidic rain water.  Water from rain quickly sinks into the ground so there is little surface water.  There are not any marshes or wetlands in this part of Florida.

Near the river the water emerges from the ground in the form of springs.

The first spring to Telford Spring.

The popular activity in the area is cave diving since all the spings are openings to caves.  Here is a link to a diving video on You Tube into Telford Spring.

Unfortunately the low water reduced the beauty of the springs but I still found some excuse or another to get in the water.

Our first camp was at Peacock Slough River Camp.

These were luxury camps from a canoe camping view point.

In fact if you ever thought about canoe camping the Suwanee is a great place to try it. 

The camps have 5 screen cabins in which you can set up a tent inside or out or just sleep in the floor.  Of course you could also haul a couple of cots in the canoe.
The cabin has electricity and a ceiling fan.  Hot showers were in the bathrooms along with flush toilets. 
There was even a pull cart to help move the gear from the river to the camp.

We walked a mile or so up the road to Peacock Springs State Park

The park is the center of cave diving in the area.  These sink holes open to underwater caves.

The swimming area at Peacock slough was even too scummy for me to get in the water.
This revolving railroad bridge was left in the open position when the tracks were abandoned.
Finally found a decent swimming hole at Bathtub Spring.
I can never convince Mike that this is something he should do.

Back at the river the sun had finally come out and some blue sky appeared.

The river seemed much more attractive in the sunlight.

Convict Spring was at Suwannee River Rendezvous.  A diver is preparing his tanks.

This route would allow you to paddle to Suwannee River rendezvous in an easy day of paddling if you wanted.  You could overnight in one of their cabins and then continue the trip if you didn't want to camp.

Next we stopped at Suwannee Blue Springs.  This spring has a very large pool surround by walkways and a picnic ground. 

I can see where this place would be very popular in warmer weather and with more water in  the spring.

We camped the second night at Adams Tract River Camp.

Mike is carrying his gear up a nice stairway to the camp. 

The screen house cabin was very similar to the one at Peacock Slough.
It was hot and sunny so I finally got into the Suwannee River.  The river was surprisingly cold especially since the springs were surprisingly warm. 
Troy Springs State Park also has a large swimming area in a cove that drains right into the river.
You can see from the floating dock that normal water level is five feet higher.
Little River Springs State Park was the last stop on the trip.  I keep repeating myself but I would like be here when the water level is normal.

We were picked up on time at the Patrician Oaks Boat Ramp and taken back to Suwannee River  Rendezvous and our car.


I dropped Mike off at the airport and went to Fernandina Beach for awhile. 

I didn't understand why no one else was in the water.  I mean it was about 65 degrees, windy, and the water was freezing.  So what!

All in all it was a very nice trip if not our usual wilderness type adventure.