Paddle the Spring-Run to the Santa Fe River

Visitor kayaks the spring run

Paddling at Ruth B. Kirby Gilchrist Blue Springs State Park is an experience you will not forget as you float your canoe, kayak or SUP down the quarter mile spring-run. It flows from the main spring headwaters to the Santa Fe River. 

Tranquil, turquoise waters envelop you as you observe turtle antics and hawks, ibis, osprey and herons soaring above you. 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. 

Kayak on Gilchrist Blue Spring Run

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 and at its confluence with Gilchrist Blue's Spring-run, you will notice the dark, tannin “iced tea” colored water of the river as it merges with the crystal-clear blue spring water.

Keep an eye out for mullet and gar frequently seen at the "mixing waters". You may choose to paddle upriver towards Rum Island, Poe Springs, Lily or a variety of other springs or float downstream towards Ginnie Springs. 

Gilchrist Blue confluence with Santa Fe River

Be sure to arrange pick-up or shuttle services for you and your boats if you choose to go outside of the park on the Santa Fe River. 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 to return from your paddling adventure at least one hour before the park closes for safety.  Equipment rentals are available.

  • For additional information on paddling opportunities, please call 386-454-1369.