Paddling at Ruth B. Kirby Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park is an experience you will not forget. Float your canoe, kayak or SUP down the quarter-mile spring run as it flows from the main spring headwaters to the Santa Fe River.
Tranquil, turquoise waters surround you as you observe turtle antics and see hawks, ibis, osprey and herons soaring above. Anhingas and cormorants dive for fish, breaking the surface waters below you.
Whether you’re a first-time adventurer or seasoned explorer, the springs and spring run will delight and astound you.
Gaze up at the majestic cypress trees towering over the water, providing shade and habitat for aquatic wildlife, birds and insects. Watch for water snakes swimming, river cooters sunning, mullet jumping and osprey fishing. Look for artesian springs, swallets and siphons in the water.
The temperature of the spring is a constant 72 degrees year-round, but for comfort don’t forget your hat, sunscreen and towel.
The Santa Fe River flows from east to west. At its confluence with Gilchrist Blue's spring run, you will notice the dark, tea-colored water of the river as it merges with the crystal-clear blue spring water.
Keep an eye out for mullet and gar that are frequently seen at the "mixing waters." You may choose to paddle upriver toward Rum Island, Poe Springs, Lily or a variety of other springs, or float downstream toward Ginnie Springs.
Please be advised there is no shuttle service provided at this time. Paddling against the river’s current may be difficult for some.
Ruth B. Kirby Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park is open from 8 a.m. to sunset, but plan for safety and return from your paddling adventure at least one hour before the park closes. Canoe and kayak rentals are available on-site by Anderson's Outdoor Adventures.
- For additional information on paddling opportunities, please call 386-454-1369.