Dr. Ellen's Select Aerials of
Florida's Rainbow River & Aquatic Preserve

These select aerials document what the Rainbow Springs Aquatic Preserve (with its run, called the Rainbow River) looks like from the air. The photos show its first magnitude headspring formation at the Rainbow Springs State Park, in the northern reaches of the Preserve, and they follow its gentle flow 5.7 miles southward to the City of Dunnellon and the intersection where it merges with the black water of the Withlachochee River.

This Run is a shallow and narrow flow of water from the headspring that averages 150 feet wide and a depth of less than ten feet. Therefore, the entire length of the Rainbow River is a designated as an "Idle Speed/No Wake" zone.

Rainbow Springs is Florida's 4th largest spring and it is one of the largest spring runs in the world even though in reality it encompasses a mere 150 submerged acres of land. Its flow bubbles up from several artesian vents from the Floridan Aquafer that are scattered over the first 1.5 miles of the run. Exceptional water clarity makes it one of the state's most pristine freshwater bodies that was consequently designated as a Registered National Landmark in 1972, as an Aquatic Preserve in 1986, and as an "outstanding Florida Waterway" in 1987.

Not to be confused with an ordinary river, the Rainbow Springs Aquatic Preserve and its beautiful winding run are part of an intact and highly fragile ecosystem.

It is so beautiful and so popular, in fact, that Floridians and tourists alike are literally LOVING IT TO DEATH.


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