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Chassahowitzka River - Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip

Report Type: Destination Report
Nearest City: Crystal River, FL
Difficulty: Moderate
Submitted by: Tom Almy

Description:

A small county park with campgrounds at the headwaters. Put in and go upstream to see the springheads. Great place to enjoy the cool waters.

Head downstream, take the first channel right, and enjoy a lovely quiet spring surrounded by a few homes. Check out carefully the life going on under you! Otter are frequently seen in the headwater area.

Go on downstream a ways, I feel it's the second left, marked by a small withered Juniper, to find a lovely spring run which goes a long way into primeval forest. You'll come upon a opaque blue spring, fine swimming with a rope swing, or keep heading upstream, walking may be necessary depending on season and tide. You’ll find a crevasse spring with crystal waters, salt and freshwater fish abounding. Alligator and snake also live here, but we don't worry about them, we just give them some space.

Down by the Gulf, take care. It's easy to get lost in the small islands and channels. Manatee and bald eagles are easily found. Oysters dominate the shallows, wear foot protection. No kidding, they will cut you up.

This area is strongly affected by tides. If you can line up your day to suit the tides, it's a breeze. If you just head out and paddle, you may be upstream all the way.

Lovely area to see Florida as it once was, while we still can. It's going very fast.

A few campsites are seen on the banks, I don't know the legal status of these. I will say that the county campground on weekends will have its share of partiers, at least in the tent area.

Accommodations:

County Campground has facilities, shower and flush. Camping along the bank or on islands in the gulf is unknown to me, safe to say that you won't see any plumbing...

Fees:

Yes. They charge a few bucks to park your car. I think it's two.

Directions:

Off Hwy 19, south of Crystal River, FL. Check out the sea food in Crystal River.

Launches:

There is only one launch, unless you are into quite an adventure. County Park has a ramp 6 miles to the gulf, 6 more back.

Resources:

Divers Beware. There is a book about diving Florida which is totally inaccurate for this locale. This is still a wonderful paddling spot with swimming, photography, birdwatching, wildlife watching, and snorkeling.


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