At least 16 springs give rise to the Silver River within the upper 0.6 mile (1.0 km) stretch. The Silver River flows eastward from the Main Spring approximately 5 miles (8 km) into the Ocklawaha River. The entire Silver River and its springs are owned by the Silver River State Park.
Some land around the head springs is leased to Silver Springs Adventure Theme Park and is heavily developed. The rest of the Silver River basin is heavily forested and protected. Glass-bottom boat tours occur daily along the upper Silver River. The river system is a canoeing, kayaking, and wildlife viewing hot spot. Clear water and bluish water color is characteristic of the entire Silver River and its contributing springs.
All the springs can be accessed by boating 4.5 – 5 miles (7.2 – 8.0 km) upstream on the Silver River from a boat ramp that provides access to the Silver and Ocklawaha Rivers. The boat ramp is located off SR 40, 4 miles (6.4 km) east of the intersection of 58th Ave and SR 40 in Silver Springs. The ramp is approximately 10 miles east of the city of Ocala.
The access road is just before the Delks Bluff Bridge over the Ocklawaha River on the south side of the road.
Source: Springs of Florida, Florida DEP
Click on the images below for a larger picture.
In January of 2006 I paddled the five and half or so miles up the Silver River to the Spring head. Although I gave no thought to the water level at that time, when I saw the shoreline on this trip I realized the water was now significantly lower.
On the previous trip only the last several inches of these Bald Cypress "knees" were visible. Here you can see not only the full length of the knees, but the tangled and intertwined root system from which they arise. Fascinating..
Another look at the weird conglomeration of knees and roots. And, the lovely Miss Winky, trying out the repairs on her screwed and plated right wrist.
These two youngsters were catching some rays in an effort to get warmed up.
We were lucky to get a close up look at this Limkin. One of the primary food sources of Limkins are Apple snails. Unfortunately Apple snails are in the decline in some rivers and streams due to shading of the water by invasive species such as Water Lettuce.
These monstrous trunks were mostly under water when I visited in January of 2006.
Well, here it is - the Springs! Yep, it is a full blown theme and amusement park run by a private company. The area is leased from the State Park.
Another look at the theme park. Check out the goofy ride in the background! Although you paddle through over 5 miles of seemingly wilderness the Silver Springs theme park is accessible directly from SR 40 just a few miles east of Ocala.