Big Shoals, Suwannee River, Florida, 2021-05-19

Update 2022-09-08: Nice day for a portage around Big Shoals, Suwannee River 2021-05-19.

Update 2021-05-18: It’s a half mile portage, so bring boat wheels and be prepared to haul over some rough spots down to the beach of the two gators.

Paddle to and portage past the biggest rapids in Florida: Big Shoals and Little Shoals on the Suwannee River, on this short weekday trip.

[Big Shoals, 20 and 21 Feb 2021, Map]
Big Shoals, 20 and 21 Feb 2021, Map

When: Gather 9 AM, launch 10 AM, end 2 PM, Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Put In: Big Shoals Tract Launch.
From White Springs, travel north on CR 135 to SE 94 Street (Godwin Bridge Road); turn right and follow road to Big Shoals, in Hamilton County.

GPS: 30.353167, -82.687333

Portage: The portage is 400 feet long.
Participants must be able to carry everything they bring from the beginning of the portage to the re-launch. Also must have fairly good physical conditioning and balance to climb up and down banks to re-launch.

Shirley Kokidko, experienced with this section of the Suwannee, says, “I’m 65 and I can do it, but it’s not easy, and takes a good bit of teamwork to get everybody re-launched. No children. Let’s keep this group to a safe number. On a weekday that probably won’t be a problem.”

Everyone must have a bowline, rope of any sort, very much needed to help lower boats back into the water after the portage.

[Get Out Now right bank sign --Suzy Hall]
Get Out Now right bank sign –Suzy Hall

Take Out: Suwannee River Wayside Park Ramp.
From White Springs, travel south on US 41 to the river; the ramp is on the south side in the town park in Hamilton County.

[Map: Big Shoals Tract --SRWMD]
Map: Big Shoals Tract –SRWMD

Bring: ropes on the front and back of your boat, a dry bag, and boat wheels if you have them, along with the usual personal flotation device, boat, paddles, food, drinking water, warm clothes, and first aid kit. Also trash pickers and trash bags: every WWALS outing is also a cleanup.

Free: This outing is free to WWALS members, and $10 (ten dollars) for non-members. You can pay the $10 at the outing, or online:

We recommend you support the work of WWALS by becoming a WWALS member today!

There is also a $4.00 Park Fee.

Event: facebook, meetup

[Big Shoals 65 feet, 2021-02-21 --Tom Potter]
Big Shoals 65 feet, 2021-02-21 –Tom Potter
American Whitewater says Big Shoals is runnable from 55 to 68 feet, but we are going to portage.

Duration: 4 hours

Shuttle: 12 Miles, 30 minutes.
Team Shuttle will depart at 9:30am to set up shuttle at Suwannee River Wayside Park. Everybody takes their boats to the put-in, most people drive to the take-out, and the drivers pile into one or two vehicles and go back to the put-in. Due to the pandemic, everyone needs to wear masks and sit beside open windows in the shuttle.
If you can organize your own shuttle with family members or others you associate with all the time, that’s even better.

Paddle distance: 6 miles

Paddle duration: 3 hours

Host: Bobby McKenzie

Contact: Bobby McKenzie
He took this facebook video of Big Shoals on February 20, 2020.

Backup: in case of high or low water is:
If we experience low water levels we will move the paddle to the River Rise Ramp @ US 27, at river mile 24.6 (aka Highway 27 Boat Ramp and the useless name Santa Fe Public Boat Ramp), in Columbia County. There is a second magnitude spring across the river and slightly upstream, on the left bank. We will paddle about nine miles downstream past numerous springs to Santa Fe River County Park Ramp @ FL 47, at river mile 15.8, in Gilchrist County Santa Fe River Park.

More: For more WWALS outings and events as they are posted, see the WWALS calendar or the WWALS outings and events web page. WWALS members also get an upcoming list in the Tannin Times newsletter.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

You can join this fun and work by becoming a WWALS member today!

3 thoughts on “Big Shoals, Suwannee River, Florida, 2021-05-19


    My wife and I would like to reserve two spots for this May 19th paddle.
    Is there a better way to reserve a spot?
    Christian Weiss
    Sarah Bleakley

    1. jsq Post author

      If you’re not a member, you can go ahead and pay $10 each here:

      If you are a member, no need to pay that.
      If you want to be a member:

      Also please go to either the facebook event or the meetup and say you’re going.

      Maybe we should think about a more coordinated way to do this. -jsq

Comments are closed.