Ocklawaha River - Florida Paddlers Rendezvous 2017

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Rays Wayside Park to Gores Landing Campground

Location Photo
Ocklawaha River

Ocklawaha Trip Plan Click on the pdf icon to print or download a quick reference sheet for this trip.

Paddling Destination Details

Ocklawaha River

The Ocklawaha River is a major tributary of the St. Johns River. It is one of the most scenic and serene rivers in North Central Florida and a favorite outing for local paddlers. Although the headwaters of the Ocklawaha River is Lake Griffin, the Silver River contributes a majority of water and flow to the Ocklawaha whose spring clear waters continue downstream.   Shortly after the Civil War. tourists began to explore Florida using the steamboats that traveled the St. Johns River from Jacksonville.  The primary destination was Silver Springs, but the passage through the narrow Ocklawaha was an added highlight.  This section of the river passes through the Ocala National Forest which accounts for its pristine wilderness setting and the river in this area was not destroyed by the ill fated Cross Florida Barge Canal project.

The opportunity for wildlife viewing is excellent. In addition to typical Florida fauna, keep an eye out on the shore for the elusive feral packs of Rhesus monkeys.  These primates were released at Silver Springs in the 1930's and have adapted quite nicely to the local area.  Although they are cute, beware of getting too close and do not attempt to feed them!

River Rating : Excellent

Scenery Rating : Excellent; lots of wildlife, including alligators. It's "Old Florida" at its best.

Trip Length : 10 miles, approximately 4.5-5 hours.

Skill Level : Beginner.  Should be able to perform forward and sweep strokes, basic sculling stroke, with good balance/stability in the boat.  Should possess some experience in light to moderate current and with navigation around deadfall, with ability to paddle steadily for about 3 hours.   

Wind Impact/Issues : Minimal

Current : Slow to moderate current depending on rainfall.

Locations, Directions and Times

Put-In Location:  
Rays Wayside Park
9560 NE 28th Ln
Silver Springs, FL 34488

Admission Fee: $5 per vehicle parked at Rays Wayside Park.   Please ensure you have exact change.

Shuttle Departure Times:
9 AM and 10 AM
Distance from The Silver Springs State Park Parking Lot:
4.2, approximately 7 minutes travel time.
29.214553, -81.992334

Rest Rooms Availability:

Put-in and Take-out

Take-out Location:
Gores Landing Campground
13750 NE 98th St
Fort McCoy, FL 32134

Parking Fee: $5 per vehicle parked at Gores Landing Campground. Please ensure you have exact change.

29.289791, -81.926707

Shuttle Directions:

Rays Wayside Park to Gores Landing Campground
Distance from Put-In:

11.9 miles; approximately 18 minutes travel time
Map and Directions:
29.289567, -81.925900

Note: Please use Google Maps as the default Internet mapping service for trip location and routing. Usage of other Internet mapping services (i.e. Yahoo, Bing, etc.) may result in possible incorrect addresses using the street address location. The use of geographic coordinates (i.e. latitude/longitude) will provide correct location regardless of Internet mapping services.

Trip Shuttle Logistics

All participants meet at Silver Springs State Park main parking lot (SW corner) for shuttle meetup and departures at designated times. 5656 East Silver Springs Blvd, Silver Springs, Florida

Meeting Location: 29.213917, -82.056189

Shuttles will be coordinated by each group leader
Renters will leave their vehicles at Put In and will be shuttled by Outfitter back to Put In.
We will leave as many Private Boat Owner cars as possible at the Take Out and shuttle back to the Put In.

Personal Equipment

It is each participant's own responsibility to come properly equipped for safety and comfort.

Mandatory Items

  • Personal Flotation Device  (provided by outfitter with rentals) VCKC and the COAST GUARD require members to wear a PFD during the trip; the  PFD must be worn correctly at all times :  Buckled, zipped, etc., not hanging open
  • Whistle (provided by outfitter with rental) required by Coast Guard

Recommended Items

  • Water (minimum - 1 quart of water per person)
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Rescue rope (minimum 10 ft)
  • Bailer and sponge