Boating and Canoeing
Important Change in River Level Measurements
Beginning in August 2016, the District will start implementation of the use of a new vertical datum, the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD88). In the past, the District has used the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 (NGVD29). The new datum will result in a downward shift of between 0.64 to 0.90 feet depending on location. There is no change in the actual river level, only the value used to represent the level is different. The full conversion is expected to be complete by November 1, 2016.
More information about the vertical datum change may be found at Vertical Datum page or by calling the District offices at 386-362-1001 and asking to speak with Tom Mirti, Director of Water Resources.
Suwannee River Wilderness Trail is a system of public and private recreation and visitor facilities focused on paddling the Suwannee River from White Springs to the coastal town of Suwannee.
The District has partnered with Florida State Parks to build rustic river camps for overnight stays along the Wilderness Trail. River camps, accessible only by foot or from the river, offering five screened sleeping platforms, a pavilion for dining and group activities, and restrooms are located at the following District properties:
- Woods Ferry
- Holton Creek
- Dowling Park
- Peacock Slough
- Adams Tract
For more information and/or to reserve lodging, call 800-868-9914 or visit the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail website.
The Suwannee River water level fluctuates rapidly. The river levels below are recommendations and experiences for paddling the Upper Suwannee River section. River levels and experiences are determined using levels from the White Springs gauge. View real-time levels via the River & Lake Levels links on this web site or connect directly to the Current River & Lake Levels page via Real-Time River Levels page. The White Springs gauge is the third listing under Suwannee River.
River level below 50'
- Some areas are too low to paddle and will require portaging vessels over sections of the river.
- Slow moving current.
River level between 51' and 58'
- Ideal paddling conditions.
- River current varies from slow to moderate.
River level between 59' and 63'
- Swift moving current.
- River level may be up to tree line in some areas.
- Inexperienced paddlers should reconsider their trip.
- Experienced paddlers should use caution.
River level 64' and above
- Very fast moving current.
- Paddling not recommended.
When the Suwannee River water level at White Springs is above 65', boating and paddling is not advised downriver. When the river is below 51' the paddler will encounter shallow sections of the river. Power boating is not recommended above Troy Springs seven miles upriver from Branford.
Boat Ramps and Canoe Launches
For information on boat ramps and canoe launches along the upper and lower Suwannee River plus portions of the Alapaha, Santa Fe, and Withlacoochee rivers, see our Boat Ramps & Canoe Launches map (PDF) (19.4MB) or use our interactive map via Boat Ramps and Canoe Launches page. Those familiar with user-generated maps and XML may want to download the KML file.
The District is working diligently to open District lands in the wake of Hurricane Idalia. Other District tracts remain closed until cleanup efforts are completed. Please refer to the list below for tracts that are now re-opened to the public. Additional District Tracts Open Following Hurricane IdaliaRead On...
The Suwannee River Water Management District on Monday, August 28, announced the closure of all District lands at sunset due to Tropical Storm Idalia. TS Idalia is expected to intensify and become Hurricane Idalia before landfall on Tuesday night. District Land ClosuresRead On...