The Econlockhatchee River or “Econ River” is an unspoiled blackwater river that runs through Osceola, Orange and Seminole counties in Central Florida. It is a Florida designated paddling trail that flows with a gentle current through Little Big Econ forrest then empties into St. Johns River.
The Econ appeals to experienced paddlers because of the beautiful natural scenery and novice paddlers will appreciate the gentle flow of the water which makes traveling longer distances easier. One thing to keep in mind while exploring the Econ is the dark tannic water makes it difficult to see obstacles beneath the surface, so depending on water levels, it can be a very easy paddle or a challenge due to the downed trees and stumps that so frequently fill the water.
Wildlife is abundant here, though it is very skittish. You will most likely see eagles, wading birds and alligators but you have to be quick with your camera if you plan on getting any pictures.
You can put in at the bridge at 2000 Snow Hill Rd in Chuluota, Florida.
There is a nice gravel launch next to the bridge.
As soon as you launch, the current gently pushes you downstream.
For many miles, a thick, dense jungle lines both sides of the River.
In some places, the jungle reaches over the river.
Tall pines and palms stand over and sometimes lean over the channel.
And in the tallest ones, bald eagles watch as you drift by.
Occasionally, you will come to sand banks where you can stop and rest.
After a few more miles, you will pass an observation platform that stands on the edge of the river. This is one of the last places to rest before reaching the St. Johns.
After miles of paddling through jungle, the scenery changes. The river widens, the landscape becomes grassland with the occasional clump of palm trees here and there.
Here, cattle graze amongst the palms.
And so do beautiful birds.
As you continue the journey, the trees soon disappear from the banks of the river as it merges into the St. Johns river. Here it becomes a lush, green savannah.
With an abundance of wildlife to see.
In a few more miles, you reach the bridge at SR. 46.
At the bridge there is a dock and landing. After 13 amazing miles, this is where our trip ended.
I hope you have enjoyed this trip with us down the Lower Econ. If you have been there, we would like to hear about it in the comments section.
Find your headwaters,
Photos provided by B.T.