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.)
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.
More information on paddling at Salt Springs (opens in a new window):
Paddling in Florida - Kayak, Canoe