Sunday, June 3, 2012

Kayaking Econlockhatchee River

CR-419 Bridge
Put-in: CR-419 bridge in Oviedo, FL
I went kayaking on the Little Econ River with my Dad.  We loaded up the kayaks in my truck, and headed to our take-out point on Snow Hill Rd. to drop a car before launching from our put-in site under the 419 bridge in Oviedo, FL
Little Big Econ Canoe Launch
Putting in here is easy.  There are about 6 parking spots within a 200 foot walk to the bridge.  Overflow parking is on the side of the road further down.
Oviedo Kayking
Launch site under the 419 bridge
Today our plan was to paddle the 8 mile downstream stretch of the Little Econ River from the 419 to Snow Hill Rd.
Florida natureThe Econ River

The weather couldn't have been any better.

not a cloud in the sky

Not a cloud in the sky today... Not long after I took the above picture, a Bald Eagle flew over.  What a surprise! I have never seen a Bald Eagle in the wild. I was too slow with the camera, and missed the shot.

I did get a picture of this high flying Red Shouldered Hawk that was circling overhead looking for lunch... We saw 2 more Bald Eagles before moving further down the river, but this little point-and-shoot camera takes to long to turn on.

The turtles were taking advantage of the sunshine today. Most turtles are shy, and hit the water well before I could get a picture, but this guy was posing for my camera.


The river has a lot of downed trees, and submerged logs. We were able to navigate around, over, or under all of them without having to portage. 

 More Birds...

The banks of the Little Econ River are high at some points. Erosion is a big problem here.
This tree tried to kill me!
As we paddled around a bend in the river I heard a noise. I looked over to the bank, and pulled out my camera thinking it was a gator splashing into the water.  Instead, I see a dead palm branch fall from a tree.  It landed on the bank, and a small portion of the bank fell into the river followed by a 30 FOOT PALM TREE!  It was falling right towards me!  I paddled as hard and fast as I could, and the tree crashed into the river less than 10 feet from my kayak!

Just minutes later an underwater log jumped out of the water and flipped my Dad's little kayak over spilling him into the river!  HAHaha!

alligator in water
Big Gator

We saw 4 gators today. The gators in the Little Econ are BIG... and don't like to have their picture taken.

Flagler Trail Bridge
There were not very many paddlers on the river today, but we ran into a few groups of hikers around the Flagler Trail Bridge.  They were all talking about the HUGE 12+ foot gator that was in the area.

WARNING: Once you pass the bridge be prepared to run into large groups of River Rats. White trash holding a beer in one hand, a cigarette in the other while dropping F-bombs in front of their young children who are swimming in the river without a life vest. Most of the River Rats also let their unleashed Pit Bulls roam freely, and chase kayakers passing by. This portion of the river is littered with beer cans. 

another sunning turtle
It's getting late, so I will finish with these pictures... (click to enlarge)

Florida kayaking

We finished up our 8-mile run at the Snow Hill Rd. Bridge take-out where we had dropped a car before beginning our trip. I forgot to take pictures of the take-out point... From here I drove Dad's car back to the CR-419 bridge to pick up my truck while Dad stayed with our kayaks.

I picked up my truck, and was driving down Snow Hill Rd. when a small white car decided to play a game of "chicken" with my much larger Dodge Ram.  It crossed the solid double yellow line, and was coming at me head on! I flashed my headlights, and laid on the horn... They didn't move! I slowed down, and pulled completely off the road to avoid a head on collision with these idiots... They drove by LAUGHING!  They were probably the same drunken River Rats mentioned above.

Overall, I would rate this trip a 7 out of 10. It loses a point for the tree that almost fell on me, the pit bull that chased my kayak, and the drunken river rats.  I believe kayak camping is allowed on the Econ River with a special-use permit from the Little Big Econ State Forest office, but I will have to look into that... The best part about the Econlockhatchee River is the price. FREE!  So pack a lunch, and grab a paddle. Just keep an eye out for gators the size of your kayak!

EDIT: The 8 mile stretch we paddled was the Econlockhatchee River, not the Little Econ River. Thank you to Dave from Dave's Yak Tales for the correction.


  1. The Econlockhatchee is the best place in the Orlando area to see bald eagles. I have not been there for a while. Looks like the river is up, and rising. An FYI. You were on the Econ, not the Little Econ. The confluence is just upstream of the 419 Bridge. Little Econ on the right, Econ left. I paddled a ways up both a few times when I "discovered" the Econ in 2005, the downstream paddle is much nicer. Despite the "River Rats". Think I may borrow that term. Giving you credit, of course.

    1. Dave, thank you for the correction. Your blog is an excellent guide for beginning paddlers like myself. I enjoy, and look forward to reading your yak tales.

  2. Thanks for letting us know about the water level at the Econ. I live less than two miles away from the 419 bridge and should paddle this river more but for some reason I will paddle somewhere else if I can, being the River Rats a huge factor. We have seen a bit of everything at the Econ; a topless woman sun bathing, a couple of naked guys skin dipping, the typical groups in the banks doing what you mentioned. Bottom line, my wife does not feel safe kayaking there and she is not afraid of the wildlife, it you know what I mean. I remember one of the most recent times we paddled there, when we saw trash all over the places.

    It is a shame since the Econ offers a special scenery. There are no bigger gators than the ones at the Econ and if you want to see eagles a trip there is almost an automatic sighting. Am looking forward to paddle the section of the river from Snow Hill bridge all the way to the St. John and SR46.

  3. Thank you for your kayaking experience. It looks as if you have a red Emotion Spitfire 8' kayak? Anyway, great story!


    1. The 10' orange Pelican Apex 100 kayak is mine. The red kayak in the pictures is a now discontinued 8' Coleman Drifter model that was purchased from Dick's Sporting Goods about 5 years ago as part of a package deal.


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