The Econlockhatchee (Econ) River snakes it’s way through 54.5 miles of central Florida. It is a great river for people who are looking for a place to do some canoeing or kayaking, but would rather avoid the crowds at a local state park.
If you live in the Orlando, Florida area you have more than likely paddled along the Wekiva River. Wekiva River is undoubtedly a great place, but if you haven’t checked out the Econlockhatchee (Econ) River, then you are truly missing out. Between the picturesque forests lining the river and the very real chance of seeing alligators, this is definitely a great place to enjoy a paddle. One of the best sections of the river can be found in the Little Big Econ State Forest.
What Makes It Great
The Econ River snakes it’s way through roughly 55 miles of central Florida landscape. It is a great river for people who are looking for a place to do some canoeing or kayaking, but would rather avoid the crowds at a local state park.
The river is smooth with a light current, so whether you are just starting off or heading back to your take out point you will have an easy paddle. While the paddling itself may be easy, the obstacles you’ll encounter can be a bit more challenging. Don’t be surprised to find downed trees, and be prepared to squeeze your boat through small openings or even to get out and portage around certain obstacles.
As you’re paddling along the river, you will see a large number of local birds, turtles, fish, and more than likely alligators. Be careful, as the alligators in this area can be large, but as long as you don’t bother them they should leave you alone.
If you’re interested in fishing, make sure to bring your gear with you. There are a number of sandy river banks where you can pull off and relax.
As with anywhere in Florida, you will need to be aware of the weather forecast before heading out onto the water. The water level of the Econ River can rise and fall dramatically depending on the rain. If you’re planning on visiting the river after a dry spell you will have a greater likelihood of having to contend with downed trees as the water level will drop and expose them.
Who is Going to Love It
The Econ River in Little Big Econ State Forest is a great location for anyone interested in getting out on the water and escaping the Florida heat. The river is perfect for any skill level, but make sure you’re prepared for the obstacles. There is a very real possibility you may need to get out and maneuver your boat to make it down the river. As long as you are ready for some of those challenges, you are sure to have a great time.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
There are many canoe launches along the Econ river, but the closest to Little Big Econ State Forest can be found at the intersection of County road 419 and Willingham Road in Oviedo. There are no fees, but try to arrive early as there is only room for around 7 cars. Also, be prepared to carry your canoe or kayak about 500ft to the water.
The canoe launch itself is under the County Road 419 bridge. Don’t let the sight of this less than natural spot turn you off. Once you get in the water, the view of the road will fade away and you will be on your way. If you’re planning on heading to the Little Econ State Forest you will start off by going right (north).
If you’re interested in camping along the river there are primitive campsites available in the Little Econ State Forest. Make sure to contact the Little Big Econ State Forest office at (407) 971-3500 ahead of time to make a reservation.