This is Segment 7, Region C. If manatees, pelicans, wading birds, gators, dolphins and bobcats excite you, this segment may be perfect for your next extended paddling trip. Starting with unmarred beaches, miles of sawgrass and small fishing communities in the north and ending near the metropolitan Tampa Bay area, you'll get the opportunity to experience some of the best coastal paddling in Florida.
To begin the coastal part of this segment, launch at the mouth of the Withlacoochee River or from the Cross Florida Greenway. Paddle toward the Crystal River coal and nuclear power plants. Pods of manatee can be seen on the north side of the jetty where warm water is released from the power plants. After crossing the jetty, aim for the mouth of Crystal River.
Between Crystal River and the Chassahowitzka River Campground you'll need a GPS. There are numerous twisty paths in the salt marsh so it's important to watch the GPS carefully.
From Chasahowitzka the next stop is the Weeki Wachee River, some 21 miles away. It's then back into the saltwater past Hudson and Port Richey to your destination at Anclote Key.
For day trips, the springfed Crystal River, Chassahowitzka, Homosassa and Weeki Wachee rivers are ideal, although weekdays are recommended if you want more peace and quiet. The Pithlachascotee near New Port Richey is also an ideal river for day trips, representing the best of more "urbanized" water trails. For an extended river trip, try the Withlacoochee River South. Once the refuge for Seminole Indians during the Second Seminole War, the river emerges from the Green Swamp and flows through scenic sandhills before entering a swampy terrain of cypress, gum and maple.
89 miles of the circumnavigational trail
3 mapped river trails
- The circumnavigational trail contains four straight days paddling more than 15 miles a day
- Much of this segment is remote and cell phone coverage may not be available
- Use a tide chart. The coast is shallow and low tides can present a problem for navigation
- A GPS is necessary when paddling the winding route between Crystal River and Chassahowitzka
- Open water around the Crystal River power plants and Anclote Key can be challenging in high winds and bad weather
Primary Campsites & Distances Between on Circumnavigational Trail
- Cross Florida Greenway spoil island to Uncle Tom's Island campsite, 17 miles
- Uncle Tom's Island campsite to Chassahowitzka River Campground, 19 miles
- Chassahowitzka River Campground to Mary's Fish Camp, 20.5 miles
- Mary's Fish Camp to Hudson, 16.5 miles
- Hudson to Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park campsite, 4.5 miles
- Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park campsite to Anclote Key State Park, 11.5 miles
- Weeki Wachee River—Weeki Wachee State Park to Rogers Park (6 miles)
- Pithlachascotee River—Grey Preserve to Nick's Park (6 miles); Nick's Park to Rees Park on the Gulf (3 miles)
- Withlacoochee River-South (83 miles)
- Police, Fire and Medical Emergencies: 911
- Levy County Sheriff: 352-486-5111
- Citrus County Sheriff: 352-794-4120
- Pasco County Sheriff: 727-847-5878
- Hernando County Sheriff: 352-754-6850
- US Coast Guard Yankeetown 352-447-6900
- US Coast Guard Sand Key 727-596-8721
- Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission Hotline: 1-888-404-3922
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