Big Shoals State Forest and the Big Shoals Public Land are noted for its whitewater rapids. Flowing from both Big and Little Shoals on the Suwannee River, Big Shoals State Park and Forest is located on the east side of White Springs, Florida. The two entrances to the public lands can be found on CR 135, north of White Springs approximately one mile. Turn right at the Little Shoals entrance, or keep going further north to reach the Big Shoal entrance off of Old Godwin Bridge Road.
While camping is prohibited in some areas of this natural wonder of Florida’s north, many other recreational opportunities abound. The canoe or kayaking of the seasonal waters is not recommended for beginners, as this whitewater adventuring is a Class III whitewater rapids is the biggest in the state.
Shooting the rapids can be a little bit of a chore but well worth the extra effort. Simply park at the Big Shoals parking area at the end of Old Godwin Bridge Road and hike the yellow blazed trail about one mile. You end at the Suwannee River or further along the trail according to how far you want to walk back with your gear.
The Little Shoals entrance is a little less of a walk and can be accessed at Little Shoals entrance on CR 135. Drive down Road 1 and then turn right on Road 6. At the end of Road 6 is the parking area. Hike the trail about ½ miles down Mossy Ravine Trail-the one marked with the blue blaze-until you see a sign for Little Shoals.
If shooting the rapids isn’t your cup of tea, then the over 28 miles of hiking trails should certainly make you happy. Throw in biking, horseback riding and birding and you’ve got every kind of outdoor enthusiasts adventure covered at Big Shoals. Both Little Shoals and Big Shoals are connected by a 3.4 mile paved trail, aptly named Woodpecker trail, because of its great birding opportunities.
Fishing along the many shorelines, banks and ravines along the river is popular. A picnic pavilion on site makes it the perfect place to eat lunch after landing the big ones. Call 386-397-4331 to reach the Big Shoals State Park for hours of operations and more details on enjoying one of Florida’s hidden gems.