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Alafia River Canoe Trail

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The Alafia River Canoe Trail is officially designated as part of Florida’s Statewide System of Greenways and Trails. This river, located an hour from downtown Tampa, is a narrow, twisting trail that begins at Alderman's Ford County Park. Large oak, cypress and cedar trees line the banks and form a canopy overhead. Paddlers share the peace and quiet with wading birds and turtles. The Alafia is a fairly swift river, especially for central Florida, and some small shoals are exposed in low water. The shoals are not dangerous, but do require some paddling skill.

Mileage: 13
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Difficulty: Easy to strenuous (depending on water level)
Usual Current: Slow (0-1 mph) to swift (4+ mph), depending on water level.

Notes and Precautions

Alafia River paddling conditions are changeable. The degree of difficulty depends on water level. At normal levels, paddling is easy, but as water level rises, current increases and paddling becomes more strenuous. No parking is permitted at CR 640 Bridge or at Bell Shoals Road access; you must arrange for pick-up.


  1. Alderman's Ford County Park – On Thompson Road, a half block west of CR 39, one mile north of Lithia.
  2. CR 640 Bridge – Six miles southeast of Brandon. (9 miles) No Parking
  3. Lithia Springs County Park – One mile east on Lithia Springs Road, off CR 640. (1 mile)
  4. Bell Shoals Road Bridge – Off Bell Shoals Rd. one block south of Fish Hawk Blvd. (3 miles) No Parking.

There may be access points (both public and private) in addition to those listed here. Please remember that some sites require a fee for launching and/or parking.

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