Friends constantly ask why they should paddle Rainbow River. People question our sanity due to rising gas prices, the restriction of possible trash producers, heavy boat use, and the rising access fee to launch a kayak on to Rainbow River.
Rainbow River is almost a six-mile slow meandering spring fed waterway in Marion County. For over ten thousand years, people have fished and lived around the translucent river. Today with the Rainbow Springs State Park, K.P. Hole County Park, various private campgrounds, and homes on the river, people find it easy to access Rainbow River. Many types of boaters, swimmers, and divers, enjoy the river.
The Rainbow Springs State Park is huge. It has great facilities and offers kayak rentals from Dragonfly Watersports.
If you own your own kayak and plan on launching from the State Park, be prepared for a long walk. (The walk feels like three miles) When I use the park with a large group, I always speak to the Park Services Specialist. These Park Rangers are great people and they have ways of making the life of a guide and their guests happy. Treat them with respect and they will always be glad to help you.
With a great number of visitors on the river, it is surprisingly clean. This is due to two rules set by the county. One-rule deals with trash and the other deals with where people can boat and swim.
K.P. Hole Park is not apart of the State Park; consequently, they seem to have the strongest restrictions. They restrict the number of cars parking in their lot. This means that they close the park when they reach full capacity. And they can reach capacity before 10am some days. Therefore, be prepared to have an alternate put in place. The second restriction is in disallowing the use of disposable items on the river. Do not try to take plastic bottles or plastic wrapped food. Because the employees at the K.P. Hole County Park boat ramp act like security guards at the airport; consequently, forbidden stuff will remain left in the parking lot. The best way to keep the environment clean and the people enforcing the county rules is to use refillable hydration bladders and use sealable Tupperware.
Boaters are restricted in accessing the Rainbow Springs State Park by water. Powerboats must remain outside of the park’s boundary on the river. Boaters using canoes and kayaks can paddle to the headspring; however, security will write tickets to any boater who gets out of their boat or enters the water. Getting out of a boat includes a kayaker who chooses to roll their kayak to get wet. The security employee of the park stated that reason for this rule is to protect the river grass that grows within the protected zone of the state park and a kayak roll could fail causing the person to come out of their boat.
Things always seem to increase with demand. That is all there is to say about gas and boat launching fees.
My guests who have paddled Rainbow River with me always love this calming clear blue river. Only pictures will answer why rising gas prices, the restriction of possible trash producers, heavy boat use, and the rising access fee to launch a kayak on to Rainbow River from K.P. Hole County Park are worth dealing with to kayak on this river.