Paddle the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail

a river covered in mist flows past a spring entrance. Trees also cover the banks.

Beginning in the head waters of the Okefenokee Swamp in southern Georgia, the Suwannee River flows across North Florida to eventually end in the Gulf of Mexico. It is one of the largest rivers in Florida and provides life to many springs, towns and communities along its path.

Close to the headspring at Lafayette Blue Springs State Park, visitors can take a trip down a boardwalk to the confluence of the spring run and the Suwannee River. The cool, clear water of the spring contrasts drastically with the dark tannic waters of the river where fish dart about in the sunlight. A large sign facing the river denotes the Suwannee River Wilderness State Trail, a name that inspires the imagination.

The trail is a partnership, connecting together the various camps, hubs and parks that form the river corridor. The word “trail” may conjure up images of boots and trekking poles, but canoes and kayaks are the primary forms of transportation here. You can bring your own or rent from any one of numerous locations and outfitters along the trail, and launch from any suitable boat ramp.

There are excellent opportunities for fishing and wildlife viewing along the 100-plus mile stretch, so bring some poles and bait or your camera. Traveling by river gives visitors a truly unique perspective of parks, and you never know what you might see.

The Suwannee River Wilderness Trail connects an area of Florida known for its history, culture and springs. Lafayette Blue Springs State Park is fortunate to be just one stop on this, Florida’s first long-distance paddling trail. So whether you want to come by boat or by foot, you are sure to enjoy the experience.

Learn more about the Suwannee River Wilderness State Trail.