Suwannee River -big Shoals question

Thinking of the up coming 52 miler:

I have heard that when the water level is high at Big Shoals, the Class III irons out and it is just a straight shot through fast water.

Can anyone verify this and would it be ok to run through with a ultralight kevlar tandem racing canoe?

Even if it is a straight shot, are there any reactionary waves that could bury us?

We portaged around it last year in the lower water but I saw a nice easy chute on river right where if I had a poly canoe I would have run through.

thanks in advance


Big Shoals
A group went about a month ago while the water was at one of it’s highest levels. They said this section was actually fun and they kept running it over and over again. You can use this link to get your stream flow levels -

Not sure when you are going - the water levels will start to go down now that the rainy period has ended, but we did get a lot of water this summer.

My hushand and I are doing a section in November, but are starting below Big Shoals since we are taking our pup with us.

You can see a pic at 66ft -

Hope this helps!

Big Shoals
Probably needs to be at least 56 feet on the White Springs gauge. I’ve seen it done at 54 but there was probably some damage done to equipment! The right side is correct.

River Going Down
Looks like the water is going down fast. I’ll be curious to see what it will be like over Thanksgiving. The group that went a month ago said most everything was flooded and stairs to the river camps were underwater.

I’ve seen the Econolockahatchee River go from 5 / 6 feet to 20 feet after a good 5 days of straight rain. This year the water covered the foot bridges This summer is the highest water levels I’ve seen in Florida to date. We tried to hike the Econ four weeks ago and couldn’t even get past the start of the trail everything was so flooded out. We were hoping to run the river starting at 50 to 419, but were warned it was way too dangerous. I’d love to get this section in. I’d have completed the entire river. One day!

I’d watch the Gage height, feet chart and check it right before you take off for your trip.

Thanks for the input
it looks like it is already too low for our boat.

We will probably have to use the portage.


When in doubt
Scout! Opinions expressed on this or any forums are worth about as much as what you paid for them.

I would be much more concerned with the overall water level being sufficient (around 55ft) to support an overall enjoyable trip on the Upper. Whether you walk or paddle Big Shoals amounts to about 15 minutes of a week long trip.

it is not a week long trip.

It is a one day 52 mile race, and that 15 minutes can mean a lot.

We jogged the portage last year.



Did you win last year?
Just curious - what date is the race?

Yes in our class…

– Last Updated: Sep-24-08 7:06 PM EST –

"tandem canoe -racing - mixed"

It's Saturday October 11

They also have a marathon race (26 miles).


Here’s the link… for info.on the race. Jack unless it rains alot by then it might be lower than last years race you all did, believe it was 54.5 +/- last year. That same link above will take you to the gage site at White Springs.


Hi Wil
would you be interested in doing the 10 miles from big shoals to the finish the day before. (-thinking of the shuttle).

Last year we ran river right on those lower shaols, and scraped. River left looked better, but it was too late once we were committed.

I realize all you youngsters are still in the work force and might not be there Friday, but thought I would throw it out just in case you will be there.



Shuttle Service - Suwannee River
Does anyone have or recommend a shuttle service. We need someone to take our vehicle to the end of our trip in November. Thanks!

thx for the headsup, I’ll probably be getting in late afternoon Friday after a long drive (This of course if water is above 53.5, don’t want to destroy a carbon Mohican on the limestone). I had scouted out little shoals a couple years ago and left did seem like the best line. The day I went the water was under 50 and you could walk across.


Scout it out
on Friday is what I did in 2005. There’s a short trail that brings you immediately downstream of Big Shoals on river-right. That year there was only one line to take, but I opted to portage. It seemed like it was more passable (more flow) on race day than it was the day before, but I learned that too late. I’ll look for you on Friday afternoon.