A nice little paddle on the Rainbow River near Dunnellon, FL. We paddled from K.P. Hole County Park upstream to the head spring in Rainbow Springs State Park then we mostly floated back downstream to the Blue Run take out on CR 484 in Dunnellon – about 7 miles total.
There are 3 things we really love about the Rainbow River, in spite of the many primate homes and summer crowds. First, the usually crystal clear waters from head spring to the junction with the Withacoochee River just before downtown Dunnellon. You can swim and snorkel the waters (except for the mile within the state park boundaries) and get lots of views and pictures of underwater life.
Second, no powerboats are allowed within the state park and the rest of the river is idle speed only, so the only power boats you usually see are a couple of local tour boats, river residents and fishermen and dive boats.
And third, the variety of wildlife you can see – fish, turtles, birds, gators and the occasional otter and manatee. The wildlife is not as as sensitive to humans as most rivers, although more wary than along the Silver River.
Today was fairly warm for November, but we had gray skies with little spritzes of rain all day. Not enough rain to bother us but not the blue-sky days that make for great landscape pictures. We figure the water and air temperature was almost the same – 72 degrees. As a result we had the river almost to ourselves – only spotted one jon boat with fishermen all day and a total of about a dozen other kayakers in small groups.
The cypress trees are starting to look rusty and the Sweet Gum are turning orange. Combined with the gray skies it looked like a winter day in Florida. Four out of the six in my group had never paddled the Rainbow before so we all had a good time and saw a lot of turtles and birds.