iROCKER Adventures

Weeki Wacheee Spring Run

  • Location: Weeki Wachee State Park
  • Address: 6131 Commercial Way, Spring Hill, FL
  • Launch Point: Weeki Wachee State Park Kayak Launch
  • Takeout Point: Rogers Park
  • Distance: 5.5 miles (one way)
  • Level of difficulty: Easy 
  • Open: Sunrise to sunset
  • Land manager: Florida State Parks

Weeki Wachee is considered one of the finest spring runs in Florida, with its crystal clear turquoise  water and abundant wildlife, including manatees, shore birds, and the occasional otter. In the summer, the run is especially popular with tourists and paddlers alike, and reservations must be made just to secure a spot on the river. Tom and I decide to paddle the run on our iROCKER SUPS in October, with fewer people and better chances for spotting the wild inhabitants of this unique place. Launching at Weeki Wachee State Park, we paddle upstream toward the recreational area before heading back down the spring run. Several things have conspired today so that we have this river almost totally to ourselves: Covid has closed the park to swimming; the shuttle is not running today (glad we have 2 cars); it’s October; the day is overcast (perfect says the photographer – not too contrasty) and it’s early – 8am. If all the rental kayaks they have here were on the water, it would be a zoo. Near the spring, the run is wide and deep, aquamarine against the white sand, with ribbons of grass waving sensuously in the current. Here the fish are large: a snook as long as my arm; a meal-size sheepshead. 

The sign says 6 miles to Roger’s Park, but I double back many times for the photographer. I can hear the road…..civilization is so close, yet so far away from this amazing, beautiful waterway, laced in cypress and red maple, unseen and unknown by the travelers nearby. The sprays of red along the bank, Cardinal lobelia and Dahoon holly, with the red maple, give the feeling of fall. As we approach the entrance of a tannin (yellowish tea) colored canal, an amazing thing happens. The yellow and blue-green waters mix, becoming an emerald green. Almost immediately we spot a young manatee gliding under our SUP, munching on the grasses underneath the surface. Manatees are common here and can be seen year round.  We take out at Rogers Park five hours later,  after a leisurely paddle. This is an easy run with a mild current and spectacular scenery. We highly recommend a trip here, preferably in the spring, fall or winter when crowds will be at their lowest. 

Weeki Wachee insider tips: Launch early or on weekdays to avoid crowds. The earliest launch time is 8am. Expert paddlers can launch at Rogers Park and paddling upstream against the current to enter the park. During the summer months reservations must be made in advance to secure a spot on the river. It is very very important you arrive on time because of the enforced limit of 70 boat launches per hour. Arrive 15-30 minutes before your reservation time to sign paperwork and waivers. Absolutely no disposable items will be allowed on the river. This includes but not limited to: Plastic, Aluminum, Glass, Styrofoam, Paper - All drinks and food must be in permanent containers.

iROCKER tip: Water levels can vary in the run. To avoid hitting downed trees and logs, take out your center fin and use your side fins to steer during periods of low water.

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