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Reported: Novl. 2011; latest update: Nov. 2013

Wekiva River... Wild and Scenic Florida

The Wekiva River begins at Wekiva Springs State Park and runs 16 miles north to the St. John's River. The Wekiva is one of only two National Wild and Scenic Rivers in Florida (the Loxahatchee River is the other). The Wekiva River and Rock Springs Run together comprise the Wekiva Paddling Trail. Despite proximity to Orlando and its developed suburbs, the river maintains its pristine natural beauty. However, it is threatened by pollution and utilities extracting water from the aquifer that otherwise would flow to the springs.  (Detailed map and photos below.)



View Larger Map
Distance: 16 miles; the 27 mile Wekiva Paddling Trail includes Rock Springs Run
Location:
Seminole County
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Tidal: No
Launch points: Wekiva Springs State Park (Wekiva Springs Road), Wekiva Island (Miami Springs Road), Wilson's Landing, Katie's Landing (rt. 46, Sanford), Highbanks Marina (St. John's River) (See map, left)
Kayak/Canoe Rentals: Wekiva Springs State Park, Wekiva Island (launch fee) (links, above right)
Nearby points of interest: Wekiva Springs State Park, Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park

Wekiva Springs is a popular destination and the river can be busy, especially on weekends. Rentals and a launch are located at Wekiva Springs State Park, as well as camping, swimming and snorkeling, fishing, hiking, picnicking, off-road bicycling, concession, playground, and a Nature Center. Be careful as the Wekiva approaches the St. John's due to heavy motorboat traffic. Wildlife sightings includes alligators, birds, turtles, deer, and bears.

Katie's Landing is the only launch on the river in the Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park. The river is wide here, with little shade, from Katie's Landing to about a mile past Wekiva Falls Resort. The State Park has camping, hiking and equestrian trails, off-road biking, and fishing.

Paddling at Wekiva River
(tap or hover over photo for larger view)
Wekiva Springs State Park to Wekiva Island
This can be a busy section - especially on summer weekends - with paddlers launching from both Wekiva Springs State Park and Wekiva Island, plus others from Rock Springs Run. A positive is that no motorboat traffic is allowed within the State Park.
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Launch/rentals at Wekiva Springs State Park Lagoon at Wekiva Springs State Park Wekiva River leaving the lagoon area
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Wekiva River downstream from Rock Springs Run juncture Wekiva Island Launch/rentals at Wekiva Island
Downstream from Wekiva Island
There's some boat traffic in this area, but a pretty paddling ride with some side channels to explore.
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Downstream from Wekiva Island, about 1.25 miles
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This was a side stream off the Wekiva, we were the only paddlers there Back onto the river
Katie's Landing to SR46 Bridge
The river is wide at this point with less shade, and some motorboat traffic. There are some homes along the shoreline to the east. To the west is Seminole State Forest and the Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park.
Paddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, CanoePaddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, CanoePaddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, CanoePaddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, CanoePaddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, CanoePaddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, Canoe
Katie's Landing Road to the launch area Launch/staging area
Paddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, CanoePaddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, CanoePaddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, CanoePaddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, CanoePaddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, CanoePaddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, Canoe
Approaching SR 46 bridge SR 46 bridge Under the bridge
Katie's Landing Downstream
The river was more narrow in this direction, and very pretty with several side canals for exploring. We saw lots of birds here. Katie's Landing used to be in private hands, but is now part of the state preserve.
Paddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, CanoePaddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, CanoePaddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, CanoePaddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, CanoePaddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, CanoePaddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, Canoe
Katie's Landing from the river A paddle boarder  
Paddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, CanoePaddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, CanoePaddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, CanoePaddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, CanoePaddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, CanoePaddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, Canoe
  Exploring a side canal
Wilson's Landing
The park is pretty with a boardwalk overlooking the river and a big picnic pavilion available for rental, but to launch requires wheels or dragging your kayak or canoe downhill about 100 yards (and consequently, back uphill after your paddle). For that reason, we launched from Katie's Landing.
Paddle Wekiva River, Wilsons Landing - Kayak, CanoePaddle Wekiva River, Wilsons Landing - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Wekiva River, Wilsons Landing - Kayak, CanoePaddle Wekiva River, Wilsons Landing - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Wekiva River, Wilsons Landing - Kayak, CanoePaddle Wekiva River, Wilsons Landing - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Wekiva River, Wilsons Landing - Kayak, CanoePaddle Wekiva River, Wilsons Landing - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Wekiva River, Wilsons Landing - Kayak, CanoePaddle Wekiva River, Wilsons Landing - Kayak, Canoe
From staging area, about 100 yards downhill to the launch Launch Channel from launch to the river Boardwalk to the river Wekiva River at Wilson's Landing
Wildlife along Wekiva River
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Gator swimming Heron Turtles Ibis Gator sunning on the shore
Paddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, CanoePaddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, CanoePaddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, CanoePaddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, CanoePaddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, CanoePaddle Wekiva River, Katie's Landing - Kayak, Canoe
Great Blue Heron Ibis Anhinga Ibis Heron

See more photos on our Facebook page

More information on paddling on the Wekiva River (opens in a new window):

- Florida Greenways & Trails - Wekiva River Paddling Trail
- Florida State Parks - Wekiva Springs State Park
- Florida State Parks - Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park

Top of Page

Paddling in Florida - Kayak, Canoe
Wekiva River - Rock Springs Run

Outfitters/Rentals

Nature Adventures
(park concessionaire)

Wekiva Island
(launch, kayak/ canoe/paddleboard rentals)

Central Florida Nature Adventures
Tours


Support and Advocacy

Friends of the Wekiva River

Wekiva Wilderness Trust


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