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Paddle Withlacoochee River, kayak, canoe, FloridaPaddle Withlacoochee River, kayak, canoe, Florida

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Reported: Nov. 2011; latest update: Feb. 2016

Withlacoochee River (South)... Paddling on an Outstanding Florida Waterway

Withlacoochee River (South), a designated Outstanding Florida Waterway, is a blackwater river originating in the Green Swamp. This twisting and turning river then flows northwest (one of a few rivers in Florida flowing south to north) to the Gulf of Mexico at Yankeetown. There is some development along the banks, but the major portion flows through state forest, wildlife areas, and public lands and is quite remote with diverse vegetation and wildlife. Note that motorboats and airboats share the river. (Detailed map and photos below.)



View Larger Map
Distance: 76 mile designated trail (Lacoochee to Dunnellon); 100+ miles total
Location: Pasco, Hernando, Sumter, Citrus, Marion Counties
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Tidal: No
Launch points: Lacoochee Park, CR 575 bridge, Silver Lake Recreation Area, Hog Island Recreation Area, Nobleton Wayside Park, Lake Townsen Regional Park, Centennial Park, others (See map, left)
Kayak/Canoe Rentals: Withlacoochee River Canoe Rental, Nobleton Outpost, Rainbow River Canoe & Kayak (links, above right)
Nearby points of interest: Fort Cooper State Park, Brooksville, Withlacoochee State Trail

Initially, the river is not wide and depending on rainfall can be impassable. The best paddling and the designated trail starts at SR 575 (Lacoochee Park) and travels north to Dunnellon (Dunnellon Wayside Park, US 41 bridge). Rainbow River feeds into the Withlacoochee just before Dunnellon. East of Dunnellon the river passes through Lake Rousseau, which was formed by a dam in the early 1900's, and then continues west to the Gulf.

The river passes through the Withlacoochee State Forest, the third largest state forest in Florida. In addition to paddling, activities include hiking, biking, camping, picnicking, fishing, wildlife viewing, bird watching, and horseback riding.

Paddling at Withlacoochee River
(tap or hover over photo for larger view)
South to North: Wildlife
CR575 Upriver into Withlacoochee State Forest
From Withlacoochee River Canoe Rental (CR575 at Lacoochee), paddling upriver
Paddle Withlacoochee River, Lacoochee - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Lacoochee - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Lacoochee - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Lacoochee - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Lacoochee - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Lacoochee - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Lacoochee - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Lacoochee - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Lacoochee - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Lacoochee - Kayak, Canoe
Due to low water the launch was high and dry so we launched from the river bank below CR575 bridge    
Paddle Withlacoochee River, Lacoochee - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Lacoochee - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Lacoochee - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Lacoochee - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Lacoochee - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Lacoochee - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Lacoochee - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Lacoochee - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Lacoochee - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Lacoochee - Kayak, Canoe
      Parking area at
the launch
Silver Lake
The Silver Lake Recreation Complex has parking, picnic pavilion, fishing, hiking trails, boat/kayak/canoe launch, and campground
Paddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, Canoe
From SR60 launch Cypress forest
along the shoreline
Looking across the lake - recreation area and I-75 overpass in distance Launch at Silver Lake Recreation Area I-75 overpass
Upriver from Silver Lake
From the launch at CR60 at the south end of Silver Lake, paddling upriver.
At the launch area are parking, swimming, fishing, and picnicking.
We saw a big difference paddling at low water vs. high.
Paddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, Canoe
Launch area at CR60
low water (left) - high water (right)
Leaving launch area
low water (left) - high water (right)
Camp site access
to the river
Paddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, Canoe
River at low water - wide banks, places to pull off Ramp to Crooked Lake Campground
Paddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Silver Lake - Kayak, Canoe
River at high water - fewer places to pull off Sandy access to camp site -
at low water (left); at high water (right)
Little Withlacoochee River
The Little Withlacoochee joins the main river near Silver Lake. A more technical paddle;
we paddled at high water, but can be non-navigable at low water.
Paddle Withlacoochee River, Little Withlacoochee - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Little Withlacoochee - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Little Withlacoochee - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Little Withlacoochee - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Little Withlacoochee - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Little Withlacoochee - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Little Withlacoochee - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Little Withlacoochee - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Little Withlacoochee - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Little Withlacoochee - Kayak, Canoe
Junction off main river We were stopped by this downed tree.
Iron Bridge
We launched at Iron Bridge, paddling both upriver and down from the launch. We paddled during low water, so there were many places to land but we also were stopped by shallow water and had to turn around. The Iron Bridge Day Use Area has parking, kayak/canoe launch, picnicking, and hiking.
Paddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, Canoe
Launch at Iron Bridge Launch from the river Picnic area Remnants of the bridge
Downstream from Iron Bridge
Paddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, Canoe
         
Paddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, Canoe
        Too shallow to continue
Upstream from Iron Bridge
Paddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, Canoe
         
Paddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Iron Bridge - Kayak, Canoe
         
Hog Island (south of Nobleton)
We paddled around Hog Island, and then upriver. The Hog Island Recreation Area has parking, picnicking, hiking and equestrian trails, boat/kayak/canoe launch, and a campground. Paddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, Canoe
Paddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, Canoe
Launch at low water - people were
hiking on the riverbed
Launch at high water Picnic area
Paddling Around Hog Island
The river splits and circles Hog Island, a nice paddling trip. This is a very pretty area, through cypress forest - but few places to stop and stretch.
Paddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, Canoe
         
Paddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, Canoe
The river splits here, circling Hog Island       Toward the campground (near the launch area)
Paddling Upstream from Hog Island
Paddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, Canoe
         
Paddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River, Hog Island - Kayak, Canoe
There are more landings to stretch
or picnic in this section (high water)
     
Wildlife
Wildlife abounds in this area, here are some we saw.
Paddle Withlacoochee River - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River - Kayak, Canoe
Paddle Withlacoochee River - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River - Kayak, Canoe Paddle Withlacoochee River - Kayak, CanoePaddle Withlacoochee River - Kayak, Canoe

Also visit us here: Bicycling the Withlacoochee State Trail

More information on paddling at Withlacoochee River (opens in a new window):

- Florida Greenways and Trail - Withlacoochee South River Paddling Trail
- Florida Forest Service - Withlacoochee State Forest

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Paddling in Florida - Kayak, Canoe
Withlacoochee River

Outfitters/Rentals

Withlacoochee River Canoe Rental
(Lacoochee)

Nobleton Outpost
(Nobleton)

Rainbow River
Canoe & Kayak

(Dunnellon)


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Withlacoochee Area Residents


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