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Paddle Salt Springs Run, Ocala National Forest, kayak, canoe, FloridaPaddle Salt Springs Run, Ocala National Forest, kayak, canoe, Florida

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Report: Feb. 2014

Salt Springs Run... Paddling at Ocala National Forest

Salt Springs is located in the Ocala National Forest. Releasing 54 million gallons of water a day, the springs form the head of a 4.5 mile run to Lake George (St. John's River). The marina at the springs has a boat ramp and launch, plus rentals. Two side creeks along the run are scenic diversions.  (Detailed map and photos below.)



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Distance: 4.5 miles one-way from Salt Springs to Lake George (St. John's River)
Location: Marion County (in the Ocala National Forest at SR 19 and CR 314)
Difficulty: Easy
Tidal: No
Launch points: Salt Springs Marina (See map, left)
Kayak/Canoe Rentals: Rentals at the marina (link, above right)
Nearby points of interest: Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park (Cross Creek), Ocala National Forest

For the first 4 miles, the run is wide, with no shade or shelter from the wind, so plan accordingly. A short but nice paddle is a side creek that enters the run on the opposite side of the launch, about ½ mile downstream (easy to spot on Google Map).

Watch for motorboats which can launch at the marina or boat in from Lake George. Fishing is popular along the spring run, but not allowed in the spring pool - fish include bass, mullet, blue gill, and shiners, plus blue crabs. Other wildlife include alligators, turtles, deer, otters, and many birds such as herons, egrets, ibis, eagles, anhinga and many more.

The 72-degree spring gets its name from the potassium, magnesium and sodium salts in the water, and was a medicinal spa destination in the early 1900's. Salt Springs Recreation Area has parking, restrooms, picnicking, camping, hiking, fishing, basketball court, plus swimming and snorkeling at the spring.

Paddling at Salt Springs Run
(tap or hover over photo for larger view)
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Boat ramp/launch
at Blue Springs Marina
The springs Start of run
at the springs
Unimproved launch across from marina
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Along the run Down a side stream Motorboats on the run
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Stopping off to rest and snack Along the run Another side stream Along the run Back to the marina
Birds on Salt Springs Run
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More information on paddling at Salt Springs (opens in a new window):

- USDA Forest Service - Salt Springs Recreation Area

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Salt Springs Run

Outfitters/Rentals

Salt Springs Marina


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