Paddling Econfina Creek

By: Kevin Mims

ADD TO FAVORITES

Adventure lovers, this paddle trip is for you. Imagine launching kayaks, canoes and paddleboards and following a 6-mile watery path to several freshwater springs, stopping to jump in and splash around at every opportunity. Sounds good, right? If so, then a trip on Econfina Creek is one you have to add to your list.

To get started, head to the Econfina Creek Canoe Livery to launch. As an option, you can put in at the nearby Pitt Spring boat ramp, but I prefer to launch at the livery to take advantage of the shuttle back after the trip is over. Once in the water, it's a dream of a paddle trip (more like a float) with good current and excellent scenery. 

You'll have to do a fair amount of reading the water here – keep your eyes peeled for snags and submerged logs, which are common on the whole trip. Even with all the obstacles, this is still considered an easy trip, doable even for first-timers.

Most of the springs are found within the first half a mile or so on the trip, so plan for lots of pulling over to check things out. All told, the trip takes about four hours to complete if you are catching the livery's shuttle at the second bridge. You can't miss the take out point, and most likely someone will be there from the livery already.

Here's a tip: beat the crowds and paddle on a weekday. The earlier you go, the less crowded things will probably be. Also, make sure to bring bug spray (trust me on this - the yellow flies are bananas here) and pack a snack. It's only six miles, but with all the springs swimming, this trip will have you hitting the hay early in the evening.

Econfina Creek is a designated state paddling trail. For more information, visit http://www.dep.state.fl.us/gwt/guide/designated_paddle/Econfina_guide.pdf. For info on shuttles and rentals, check out http://canoeeconfinacreek.net/.

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