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. Marks 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.
All prices include kayak, PFD, whistle, paddle and bottled water. Consider bringing your own wide-brimmed hat, polarized sunglasses, snacks/drinks, sunscreen and bug spray.