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Econlockhatchee River Florida

Econlockhatchee River Florida, All Year at 28° 35.008', -81° 10.080'

We parked just off the road, and carried the kayak down a steep embankment because the water was very low this time of year. We slid the boat into the water at the foot of the bridge off Lake Picket Road 420 just North of University Park Florida near 28° 35.008', -81° 10.080'

girl in kayak on river picture

The Econlockhatchee River is a 54.5 mile headwater of the St. Johns River. The river stretches out through Orange, Seminole, and Osceola counties in Florida. The Econlockhatchee River begins in its source Lake Conlin, and flows towards State Road 528. This 13 mile stretch from Lake Conlin to State Road 528 is known as the Econlockhatchee River Swamp. About 7 miles downstream, the river leaves the swamp and free flows until it joins the St. John's River near Puzzle Lake. This little river does not get the traffic it deserves which is great for me because I hate crowds most times.


kayaking river econlockhatchee in central florida picture

The river flows past beautiful preserved forests. Oaks, sabal palms, and cypress can all be seen from the water. Wild turkey, bald eagles, hawks, ospreys, wood storks, sandhill cranes, blue heron, jumping bass, deer and even sometimes black bear have all been spotted from the river. You can also enjoy the many Native American mounds left here along the river, this is why it is called 'Econlockhatchee.

kayaking econlockhatchee river picture

The river itself is a very easy paddle. One thing worth investigating beforehand would be the water levels as some parts of the river were as low as 6 inches. But the banks indicated the levels were much higher at some point. There were very little fellow kayak/canoes in the water and even less motorboats. The only place you will find motorboats in this river is maybe downstream near the St. John's. Primitive camping is an option as well within the Little Big Econ State Forest.

kayaking econlockhatchee in florida picture

In the picture below I decided to walk the palm tree gangplank out over the Econ. It was scarier up there than it looks from the picture as the tree was bobbin up and down. Notice the shoreline where you can see how high the water gets to during the rainy season. In this picture the center of the river is only 18 inches deep and most of the area of the river is 8 inches deep or shallower. Sometimes this very part of the river is some five feet deeper. This changes everything, the view, paddleablity, swimming, and most importantly eliminates many nice sandy places to beach the boat and sunbathe or eat. I like it when it is nice and shallow which also keeps down the traffic and most peoples boats can't take it shallow. When Vanaboding if you wanted to run the entire length of the Econ you could park the van, rent a boat, use it for a week while camping on the banks of the river at night or in the woods where nobody would see you, then pull the boat out at the end and have taxi run you back to your van.

low water level picture of econlockhatchee river in florida

There are many access points including the CR 419 Bridge. From the town of Oviedo, take CR 419 east to the northeast side of the bridge. A good place to take the boat out of the water would be SR 46 Bridge. From the town of Oviedo travel northeast on CR 426 to the junction of SR 46. Continue east on SR 46 to the parking/launch area on the northwest side of the bridge over the St. John's River. Bring plenty of food and water as there are not really any amenities along much of this waterway. It's almost a guaranteed great time in and on the waters of the Econlockhatchee River in Central Florida.

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