Paddling Florida’s Suwannee River Wilderness Trail

This report was written in 2009 and is updated here for your information and enjoyment.

John Resch and Scott Locorini on a lunch break along the beautiful Suwannee River.

Florida’s fabled Suwannee River: It is reported that Stephen Foster, who celebrated the Suwannee in the folk tune “The Old Folks at Home” (Florida’s state song), never visited the Suwannee River in Florida.  Yet there are Stephen Foster state cultural parks and music parks all through the upper Suwannee.  Foster sang about the Suwannee in Georgia, where it originates.  Never the less, Foster and the Suwannee are linked forever, along with the live oaks and Spanish Moss, and the limestone cliffs and incredibly white sandbars that line it’s banks.  

We began our adventure near White Springs, Florida and paddled 138 miles (mostly) southwest to Fanning Springs, averaging about twenty miles per day.  While Scott had identified and in some cases reserved camping facilities along the way, we adjusted these, camping along the river on public land on two nights (Commando Camping) to even out the daily distances paddled.  

We had the distinct pleasure of using the luxurious Suwannee River Wilderness Trail River Camps on three nights (more on the River Camps later).  Florida’s state parks and camping facilities have to be among the best in the country.  Park facilities are always well maintained and park personnel are uniformly pleasant and helpful.  

We had glorious weather for the entire week.  Warm days with low (for Florida) humidity, blue skies, cool nights to keep the bugs at bay and water warm enough to swim in.  Read on for more information about this adventure!

Suwannee River Sojourn: A Summary

         Below is a summary of our trip.  We began in White Springs near the Florida Georgia border on March 7th, and ended at Fanning Springs, some 138 miles down stream on March 13th.  Our original plan, based on known places to camp each night, called for easy paddling, averaging twelve miles or so each day for the first three days.  Then the distances doubled to 25, 25, 28 and 21 miles on the last four days.  To even these miles out, we bypassed two of our planned stops and found camping places along the river (River Camps III & V).  We had great weather, which added to the relaxation and pleasure of this trip.  Links and resources will follow for those of you interested in paddling the Suwannee yourself.  

            Suwannee River Valley Campground - (KOA)

Suwannee River Valley Campground tent camping area.  This was our pre-launch gathering spot.

          Woods Ferry River Camp - First River Camp

The Landing at Woods Ferry; not easy but adequate in low water.  Click here to see a short video.

Holton Creek River Camp - Second River Camp

Scott setting up our kitchen at the Holton Creek River Camp.  That’s our “sleeping platform” behind him.  Pretty plush!

  Click here to see a short video.

              River Camp III - Third River Camp (Where are we?) 

Camping at an abandoned boat ramp and picnic area in a Florida public forest.

Click here to see a short video.

            Peacock Slough River Camp -Fourth River Camp

Peacock River Slough River Camp pull-out

Click here to see a short video.

              River Camp V - Fifth River Camp:  A sandbar 3-miles below Branford

The Suwannee from River Camp V, a high sandbar below Branford.

Click here to see a short video.

                Gornto Springs County Park - Sixth River Camp

Relaxing at Gornto Springs County Park.

               Fanning Springs State Park

 © Don Yackel 2020