Rock Bluff Spring is located in Gilchrist County just northwest of Bell, Fl. Once only accessible by boat, the Spring is now part of the A. H. Anderson Jr. Memorial Park, opened at the end of May 2019. This 2nd Magnitude Spring has several vents and is characterized by the beautiful Cypress trees around the spring pool as well as the larger Cypress along the spring run.
Suwannee River/Rock Bluff Spring Details:
Location: Rock Bluff Spring is located in Gilchrist County, near Bell, Fl. It is now accessible by trail as well as boat. There is a $4.00 park fee, per car, that is self pay. The park has picnic tables and plenty of shade trees.
Launch Point: The launch is located on the Suwanne River, Highway 340, 20 miles West of High Springs, Fl.
Take Out Point: The take out point is at Log Landing Public Boat Ramp, NW 6th St, Bell, FL 32619
Width and Depth: At the launch, the Suwannee River was 260′ across and at the take out it was 300′ across. The run averages around 35′ wide. The water level on the Suwanne for this trip was 6.83′ with flood stage being 21′.
Rest Areas: There are several areas to access the shore along this paddle with facilities at the launch ( very poor condition ), facilities at Gronto Spring.
Important Information: This can be a hot paddle, bring fluids to hydrate and sunscreen. Be prepared for heavy boat traffic with little concern for kayakers!
The Paddle Route…
Highway 340 Launch ( Rock Bluff Landing )…
The day started out overcast at the launch but soon developed into a partly cloudy, mostly sunny day. The launch is located on the southeast side of the river. It is a long ramp, textured concrete and today somewhat busy. There is ample parking. Kayaks can be staged on either side of the ramp. The restroom facility at this place was quite gross and unmaintained…be forewarned!
From the launch, it is just under a 1/4 mile north, on RR to the entrance to Rock Bluff Spring Run. The run is not much more than 30′ wide but it is absolutely gorgeous, lined with beautiful tall Bald Cypress with oversized trunks at their base in the water.
Rock Bluff Spring…
The run is a 700′ long, by 30′ wide run. Paddling eastward, then turning north, past beautiful giant Cypress we come into Rock Bluff Spring. This is now part of A. H. Anderson Jr. Memorial Park. What catches your eye, paddling into the main spring, are the unique Cypress trees that are scattered throughout the spring. Very secluded, very scenic!
The spring itself is quite interesting. The main spring is a cavity 40′ long, from 2′ to 6′ wide and about 30′ deep. There is a side vent with a noticeable flow just a few feet south of the main vent and also a third vent almost 100′ southeast of the main vent in a small alcove, lined with limerock and protected by a large hollow trunked Cypress.
The run, as well as the spring ,had a lot of algae on this day. Also the clay along the bottom is easily disturbed creating a cloudy appearance when there is too much activity. Still it is quite a unique setting and warrants a return visit!
Way Down Upon the Suwannee River…
Leaving Rock Bluff Spring, we entered the Suwannee River and paddled South toward our take out at Log Landing Public Boat Ramp. It was a warm, sunny Saturday in June and the river was full of activity. Just 1/4 mile south of the launch site on RR we encountered the popular Bob’s River Place. This is one active swimming hole! Privately owned, Bob’s River Place offers rope swings, Water Slides, Log Roll, Waterfalls, Floating Rafts with Paddles, Karaoke, Splash Pads, Jumping Platform, Floating Walkways, Floating Square Docks (for playing “King of the Dock”), Water/Dry Volleyball, Tubing Trail for Tubing down the River, Water Hammocks, 50 Picnic Tables and Grills. Admission is $10.00. We paddled by a lot of folks having a great time.
At mile marker 1.72, it was a rest stop at Gornto Spring. The spring itself was a bit cloudy, however we beached where the spring enters the Suwannee River. Here the cool spring water mixes with the warm tannin water of the Suwannee creating the perfect rest stop.
We continued our paddle uneventfully further down river. The river was active with Jet Skis, Pontoon Boats, Speedboats, and Pleasure boats of all kinds…all at full throttle, creating small waves for our paddling pleasure! At mile marker 4.75 on RL is a small tributary ( I am being generous ) creating a gentle flow over logs and around cypress knees as it enters the Suwannee. A brief stop here and it was on to the take out, a quick 1/2 mile down river. Log Landing Public Boat Ramp is a well constructed ramp and suited for heavy boat traffic. Plenty of parking.
Wildlife was limited on this paddle except for the numerous, huge, sturgeon jumping as we paddled. The shoreline was a combination of Willows, Swamp Locust, Ash, Button Bush, Cypress and Oaks. A great day to be down on the Suwannee, ending another chapter in Florida Paddle Notes.