The Fort King Paddling trail allows visitors to take their canoe or kayak on a leisurely 1.1 mile round trip loop around Ross Allen island. After launching at the main entrance, follow the signage for the meandering Fort King waterway. When the waterway connects with the Silver River, turn left and head upstream as you paddle over dozens of springs. There is a slight current from all of the water being discharged as you paddle to the headsprings. Please pay attention to your surroundings and yield to the glass bottom boats because it is difficult for them to make sharp turns or sudden stops if you get in their way. Total round-trip trail time ranges anywhere from 1 hour to 2 hours depending on how much time you spend exploring all of the different springs.
For a longer trip, you can paddle approximately 5 miles between the main entrance canoe and kayak launch and the boat launch at Ray Wayside park (separate admission fees may apply). You will need to arrange for your own transportation or you can use the livery and shuttle service provided by the park. If you decide to paddle each way and back (10 miles), please keep in mind that the slight current of 3-5 miles per hour may not seem like much but it can be tiring after 5 miles paddling upriver. Please plan ahead and check the weather and notify a friend or family member of your plans before your trip.
For those planning extended paddle trips on the Silver River and then the Ocklawaha, please keep in mind that there is NO overnight parking allowed in the main entrance parking lot.
The only place to get in and out of the river between the headsprings launch and the Ray Wayside boat launch is at the 2 mile mark. Mile markers begin at the headsprings and continue down 5.4 miles until the confluence of the Silver River and the Ocklawaha river.
Canoe and kayak rentals are available from the park concessionaire on a first-come, first-serve basis, Monday through Sunday, beginning at 8:00 a.m. Visit their website for detailed information about hours and prices.