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Latest update: January 2017

Ocklawaha River Kayaking...

South to North in Ocala National Forest

Ocklawaha River flows 74 miles from Lake Griffin in Lake County to the St. Johns River, and is one of the few rivers in the U.S. flowing south to north. The Ocklawaha is one of the most natural and beautiful waterways in Florida, its center section forming the western and northern boundaries of the Ocala National Forest. The Silver River flows into the Ocklawaha near Ray Wayside Park; the influx of water from the first-magnitude Silver Spring changes the flow from slow to fast-flowing river. Wildlife abounds. (Detailed map and photos below.)

paddle Ocklawaha River, kayak, canoe

Distance: 10 miles from SR 40 to Gore's Landing; 9 miles Gores's Landing to Lake Ocklawaha; 8 miles Kirkpatrick Dam to Hwy19; 74 in total
Location: Marion and Putnam Counties (Ocala)
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Tidal: No
Launch points: Upper: Ray Wayside Park (SR 40 bridge), Gore's Landing, SR 316 bridge (Lake Ocklawaha). Lower: Kirkpatrick Dam, SR19 bridge (See map)
Nearby points of interest: Ocala, Silver Springs, Kirkpatrick Dam/Rodman Reservoir


Ocklawaha Canoe Outpost and Resort  (rentals)

Support and Advocacy:

Free the Ocklawaha River Coalition for Everyone (FORCE)

Ocklawaha River... Comments and Photos

This is a long river. Paddlers have several options; out and back from launch, from point to point using the outfitter's shuttle service, or longer trips with overnight camping (contact outfitter for more information). The most popular paddling areas are Ray Wayside Park to Gore's Landing (about 10 miles), Gore's Landing to the CR 316 bridge (about 9 miles), and the Kirkpatrick Dam to the SR 19 boat ramp (8 miles).

Upper Ocklawaha River

Moss Bluff to Rodman Reservoir (south to north)

Moss Bluff to Ray Wayside Park

Moss Bluff Lock and Dam to Ray Wayside Park (14 miles) - a portion follows the old canal system. watch for motor boats. Use the South Launch on the upstream side of the dam to proceed toward Ray Wayside Park. At Moss Bluff are boat ramp, picnic tables, restrooms, parking.


Ray Wayside Park to Gore's Landing

The upper river near Ocala, from Ray Wayside Park at SR 40 to Gore's Landing (about 10 miles). This includes a short distance on the Silver River. Ray Wayside Park facilities include boat ramps, bank fishing, volleyball, a playground, picnic pavilion and restrooms. Watch for assorted wildlife and flowers along the riverbank.


Gore's Landing to the CR 316 bridge

From Gore's Landing to the CR 316 bridge, or just beyond to the outfitter's landing (about 9 miles). Along the way, there are several side creeks to explore. At Gore's Landing are a boat ramp, primitive camping, restroom and picnic tables.


CR 316 bridge to Kirkpatrick Dam

CR 316 bridge to Kirkpatrick Dam - this takes you through Lake Ocklawaha and Rodman Reservoir - wide, popular for fishing, many powerboats.

Lower Ocklawaha River

Rodman Recreation Area to St. Johns River


Kirkpatrick Dam to SR 19

The lower river (downstream from Rodman Reservoir) from the Rodman Recreation Area at Kirkpatrick Dam to the SR 19 boat ramp (8 miles). The Rodman Recreation Area has parking, boat ramp, kayak launch, restrooms, picnic area, fishing pier.


SR 19 bridge to the St. Johns River

From the Johnson Field Boat Ramp at the SR 19 bridge to the St. Johns River (5 miles) - winding with many side streams, a good GPS and map are recommended. On the St. Johns, it's then about a mile north to Welaka. At the bridge is parking and the boat ramp, no other facilities.

More Information and Resources

About Lake Ocklawaha:

Lake Ocklawaha was formed by Rodman Dam (now renamed the Kirkpatrick Dam). At one time the Ocklawaha was slated to be part of the Cross Florida Barge Canal and was channelized and developed, the dam was part of that project. Construction was halted in 1971 due to the efforts of environmentalist Marjorie Harris Carr and the Florida Defenders of the Environment (FDE). Restoration efforts have worked to restore the original river channel; proposals to dismantle the dam are debated by those who enjoy the fiishing and recreational opportunities on Rodman Reservoir and Lake Ocklawaha.

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