Adventure Awaits

Kayak Eco-Tours

Aucilla River (4 hours) $60/person

The Middle Aucilla River is a unique paddling experience available just minutes away from Tallahassee. Paddlers are able to explore an ancient and outstanding black water river in North Florida that was home to some of the earliest human inhabitants in North America. The Aucilla’s dark, tannin stained waters pass through a landscape of lime rock outcroppings and heavily canopied riverbanks full of cypress, live oak and saw palmetto. At lower water levels, shoals and mild rapids make for exciting paddle trips, whereas at higher water levels these areas are buried deep, allowing the river to flow like a long, unbroken piece of polished obsidian. Beautiful reflections of the landscape are mirrored back to paddlers, providing exotic photography opportunities. And this paddling trip also includes a short run through class II “Lost Dog Rapids”, one of Florida’s few chances at true whitewater.    

Half Mile Rise (4 hours) $80/person

Nature joins the cool, clear waters of the Wacissa River to the dark, tannin-rich waters of the nearby Aucilla River at a mysterious and storied junction known to locals as Half-Mile Rise. This outstanding paddle begins on the lower Wacissa at Goose Pasture. Venturing down the Wacissa, explorers weave their way through an extensive network of braided streams and paths as the water passes through ancient forests and swamp hammocks. Paddle on to the confluence of the waters at Half-Mile Rise, a section of the Aucilla River that rises up from the underworld, flows for a half mile, and returns to its subterranean flow via a series of sinkholes. This primitive wilderness is home to the Page-Ladson site, an important archaeological site that holds evidence of permanent human habitation reaching back over ten millennium.

Lake Bradford Chain ‘O Lakes (3 hours) $50/person

Located in Southwest Tallahassee, this series (or chain) of lakes is an unexpected scenic counter to the concrete and traffic filled sights and sounds of the Capital City. Gorgeous cypress swamps, lily pads, water hyacinths, alligators, diverse birds and some of the best freshwater fishing in the area all await paddlers choosing to explore this beautiful natural gem. Photographers will especially enjoy the amazing scenes and natural beauty available to capture on film at this relatively unknown and secluded paddling trail located near the Tallahassee Airport.

Lake Lafayette Paddling Trail (4 hours) $60/person

Only minutes away from downtown Tallahassee, this ancient prairie lake offers paddlers some of the best freshwater fishing in the area and a multitude of flora and fauna to witness. A great area for birders, ospreys and bald eagles frequently nest here, providing paddlers and hikers the opportunity to see these awesome birds of prey up close in the wild. Cypress trees, water lilies and other forms of aquatic vegetation cover the lake, creating a network of paddling trails across this special ecosystem and giving paddlers the impression they may be lost deep in a Louisiana cypress bayou instead of paddling right next door to the Capital City.

Slave Canal (4 hours) $80/person

In the mid 1800’s, local plantation and farm owners thought to create a navigable waterway to connect the Wacissa and Aucilla Rivers for the purpose of transporting cotton, tobacco, lumber and other goods to ships along the coast. Slave labor was used to excavate and dredge a canal linking the two rivers through 2 miles of thick, primitive swampland. By the time the canal was completed, railroad lines to St. Mark’s had made it obsolete as a shipping route. Canoeists and kayakers have since kept it open and navigable just by way of paddling here, keeping the ravages of time and the swamp growth from closing it off. Glide atop crystal clear waters flowing from the spring fed Wacissa River as they pass under arching canopies of oak, cypress and more on their way to the dark, reflective black Aucilla River. Tight bends, fallen trees and sometimes swift currents around sharp bends in the canal makes the Slave Canal perfect for paddlers looking for a little more challenging (and rewarding!) experience!

Wacissa River Spring Hop (4 hours) $60/person

Only a short 20 minute drive east of Tallahassee, the Wacissa River is one of the most pure and unspoiled waterways in all of Florida. Fed by at least 12 known springs all within the first two miles of paddling, the crystal clarity and always cool water attract paddlers, snorkelers, scuba divers, fishermen, photographers and outdoor enthusiasts from all over the Panhandle region. This must-experience trip will take you to several of the springs, like Big Blue, Buzzard Log and Cassidy Spring. Whether you want mild or wild, the Spring Hop tour is the premiere paddling experience in the Florida Panhandle.

Wakulla River (2.5 hours) $50/person

Carrying the outflow from the largest freshwater spring in the entire world, the Wakulla River is known for clean, clear water. Throughout the years it has been a favorite of filmmakers and photographers for the amazing underwater shots available here. Blue heron, gar, mullet, bass, ospreys, otters, turtles and alligators are all abundant in and along this short but sweet river trip. As if that weren’t more than enough, the Wakulla River is also home to the northernmost population of West Indian Manatees in the world, allowing paddlers outstanding opportunities to view these gentle and endangered river giants.

Aucilla River (~6 hours) $80/person

The Aucilla River flows 89 miles from its source waters in Thomas County, Georgia, to its terminus in the salt marshes and coastal flats of the St. Mark’s Wildlife Refuge and Apalachee Bay. Along the way, the river meanders both above and below ground like a shiny black scaled snake passing through uninhabited pine forests, down limestone lined channels and on into sinkholes that take it deep into the earth and back up again. Paddlers choosing to take a day trip along the Middle Aucilla with Harry Smith Outdoors can follow the river under ancient moss-draped canopies of oak and cypress as it runs over limestone shoals and through dense palmetto scrub laced forests home to deer, wild pigs, black bear, alligators and more. This unique geological landscape was also home to some of the earliest human settlements in the Americas, with archaeological evidence suggesting permanent settlements in the area that trace back almost 12,000 years.

Today, its waters attract paddlers, anglers, hikers, hunters and eco-explorers looking to escape into a pristine and exotic ecosystem only minutes away from Tallahassee. Water levels have a large impact on paddlers on the Aucilla. At lower levels, rocky limestone shoals and outcroppings are abundant, providing paddlers an opportunity to experience some of the only whitewater action in the state. Big Rapids is a highlight for thrill seekers looking for a little more adventure. It can be easily portaged for those looking for a more relaxing experience.

At higher water levels, the sharp bends and swift currents make for an easy paddle as trippers glide atop a liquid mirror and under a moss and resurrection fern tinseled canopy of oaks and cypress. The amazing scenery, history and beauty of the Aucilla are ready to reward photographers, anglers and eco-explorers with a unique and immersive paddling experience sure to please.

 

Wacissa River (~6 hours) $80/person

A half hour drive east of Tallahassee lies the headwaters of the Wacissa River, perhaps the premier attraction of the Panhandle region for paddling enthusiasts. Fed by a network of 12 known (and several more rumored) springs emerging from the Florida aquifer and feeding a spectacularly clear and ecologically rich river system, this regional wilderness jewel provides paddlers the opportunity to experience an extensive natural terrarium/aquarium saturated with biodiversity. Alligators, river otters, kestrels, anhinga, gar, mullet, black bear, owls and more make regularly appearances on one of Florida’s healthiest waterways. Starting upriver, trippers can swim, snorkel and paddle springs like Cassidy, Buzzard Log, Little and Big Blue before continuing down the crystal clear waters laden with eel grass, water hyacinths and under canopies of Spanish moss and air plants and on through a interwoven network of islands created as the river takes multiple paths in its journey to the Gulf. Ten miles downriver the trip ends at Goose Pasture, a primitive campground that allows the opportunity to spend the night and paddle on in the morning.

Wacissa River to Aucilla River via Slave Canal (2 days/1 night) $120/person

Join Harry Smith Outdoors on a beautiful two day, one night getaway down the Wacissa River. Day one will begin by exploring a variety of spring heads for swimming and snorkleing enjoyment. We’ll then venture the 10 miles down river with the company of an abundance of wildlife as we navigate twists and turns through gorgeous scenery. We will arrive at Goose Pasture where we set up camp, cook dinner, and trade stories while stoking the camp fire. Day 2 will include a shorter paddle through the historic Slave Canal where we will sync up with the Aucilla River to our take out. This short paddle is a whole different kind of adventure. Travel along the work done by slaves from the 1850s in order to provide passage for cotton barges to make their way into the Gulf of Mexcio. Complete with tight manuvers and traversing over downed trees, this is an adventure you won’t soon forget!

50% deposit required to reserve space and/or date. Trip cancellations due to inclement weather will be made at the discretion of the guide

 

All prices include kayak, PFD, whistle, paddle and bottled water

 

Also consider bringing a wide brimmed hat, polarized sunglasses, snacks/drinks, sunscreen and bug spray

 

Have an idea of your own? We specialize in custom trips to ensure a perfect day on the water