Recently, my wife and I headed out to paddle Rock Springs Run on the edge of Rock Springs Run State Reserve and Wekiwa Springs State Park. We launched from the privately-owned, King’s Landing, and were on the water in less than 10 minutes from the time we arrived.
If you’re not familiar with the area, Rock Springs Run is a waterway that flows out of Rock Springs and into the Wekiva River nearly ten miles downstream. For canoeists and kayakers, it’s a stretch of water that offers great scenery, abundant wildlife, and even some mildly challenging navigation.
In fact, we saw a couple of otters nearly as soon as we turned out of the canal. One of them dove off the bank and swam directly toward us before turning away. During the trip, we counted off dozens of turtles, a few baby gators, a couple of grown gators, and a wide array of fish and birds.
While the water is only moving at 2-5mph, there are plenty of obstacles that will require your attention. For that reason, it’s probably smart to take it slow through the stretches that wind around downed trees and through the tall sawgrass. Branches, spider webs, and more will be in your face in a heartbeat if you take your eyes off the water for more than a few seconds.
But don’t let any of that keep you from making a trip to this wonderful journey through some of Central Florida’s most well-preserved nature. If you bring a light lunch, you can stop at a few places along the way to take a break and have a look around. There are also a bunch of places where you can even stop and cool off in the water if you so enjoy (just make sure you can clearly see the bottom and are aware of any creatures in the area).
Before you go, visit the King’s Landing website for complete information and for directions to their location. You should probably check the weather, too, just to make sure no thunderstorms will be in the area during your journey (plan 3-5 hours for the full trip). Pack a light cooler with ice and water at a minimum. Bring a cell phone to make calls in case of an emergency and also to know the time. Finally, while portions of the run are well-covered by trees, you’ll definitely want to wear sunblock for the stretches that are out in the open and under the hot sun.