Rainbow River Trip Report

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Al Letch | VCKC
Published Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Natures Finest!

Number of Paddlers: 41, 8 canoes, 2 tandem yaks, 14 single yak, 7 private single yaks.

Travel Time: The trip from Mulberry Center to the outfitter in Dunnellon was about 45 minutes with no difficulties or delays. This was a perfect trip for car pooling.

Boat Rentals:

Boats and shuttle service were provided by Nathan at Rainbow River Canoe and Kayak. All equipment was in good shape, and his service was excellent. He has the advantage of being right on the river so that we were shuttled to K.P. Hole, and finished back at his landing. A trailer was waiting to quickly load the private boats, and 2 vans and bus were operated to shuttle us to the put in after an informative briefing.

Weather Conditions:

You could not have asked for a better day to be out on the river! Temperatures were in the upper 70's to low 80's at the start, with high thin clouds. Later the sun came out more strongly, but a cooling breeze kept things most comfortable.

The River & Terrain:

The Rainbow River is spring fed by some 400-600 million gallons of crystal clear water daily. Beginning at the head springs in Rainbow Springs State Park, the river wanders off to join the Withlacootchie in Dunnellon, somewhat over 5 miles away. By putting in at K.P. Hole, you add about 1 ½ miles more paddling upstream to the headspring…well worth the effort!

The Rainbow has a dual personality, being a most pristine river, yet one of the more developed ones that we have paddled upon. One side of the river has some beautiful homes and grounds, while the other side is almost entirely undeveloped. There are some older and more congested sections closer to the end, but the beauty of the water and the interesting wildlife make up for this.

The current is noticeable, but not overwhelming heading upstream, and a joy to ride back down. There is no missing the juncture with the Withlacochie, which is dark and tannin colored. We did not journey back up the “With” due to our leisurely schedule on the Rainbow! All paddlers were clear of the river by 1:00 PM or so.

Wildlife Sightings:

This was a great river for wildlife. The water is so clear that you could easily see down 20-30 feet to spot innumerable fish and the diving Anhinga and Cormorants looking for lunch. There were lots of turtles and many varieties of birds, to include a family of wood ducks. Our favorite sightings were of the playful river otters. We spotted one pack of 6-8 diving, swimming and frolicking along, and another pair that seemed to us a big as small seals!

Group Enjoyment & Difficulty:

This is a good river for beginners through experienced paddlers and was more interesting and attractive than I expected. All in all, I think the members had a great day out, with no spotted or reported difficulties or overturns. I would not rank it up there with the Silver River or Weekie Wachee for pristine beauty, but it certainly is worth a paddle!
If you are looking for a nice day out with visitors or friends, a combination of a visit to the Rainbow Springs State Park at the head spring for a picnic and trail walk would combine nicely with a canoe rental from the concessionaire at that location.

Post Trip Lunch:

Our stop at JR's Pub & Grill proved to be a nice experience, with good food, friendly service and no shortage of cold drinks! My blackened catfish sandwich was as good as I've had anywhere!

For More Information: http://www.therainbowriver.com/mainx.htm
Thanks to all who joined our trip and made it a pleasant day out!

Al Letch

Last update Friday, April 11, 2008

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