The relatively undeveloped Upper Withlacoochee River is cold and swift, and it provides a great wildlife viewing experience for boaters. Withlacoochee is a Native American word meaning “crooked river” and it certainly lives up to its name! As you drift through the cypress-laden floodplain, keep your eyes and ears open. Black-crowned and Yellow-crowned Night-Herons skulk on cypress knees, Swallow-tailed Kites and Ospreys wheel overhead and Prothonotary Warblers pick through Spanish moss in search of insects. Limpkins, Green Herons, Barred Owls, American Alligators, Northern River Otters and White-tailed Deer are often seen along the river. Bring your canoe or kayak, or charter a pontoon boat for a guided tour if you aren’t keen on paddling. This 15-mile stretch of the river is one segment of the 76-mile Withlacoochee South River Paddling Trail, a water trail designated by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Greenways and Trails. Boat traffic tends to be busy on weekends, and sometimes airboats are present. Consider visiting during a weekday if possible.