The North Fork is close enough that you could make it a day trip, but where’s the fun in that? Especially if you plan to enjoy a few adult beverages on the river. The place can fill up, though, and I recommend reserving a camping spot or calling ahead to check availability. Twin Bridges offers several different lengths of floats. We opted for the longest single day float, which is 15 miles long and runs from Twin Bridges to Blair Bridge.
On Saturday morning, we left for our float around 8:30 a.m. The earlier you get on the river, the less crowded it will be, and I wish we had left sooner than we did. The river is gorgeous. Bluffs, sandbars and crystal clear water abound along this float, with ample opportunities to pull over and go for a dip. If water patrol hasn’t recently cut it down, you’ll typically see a rope swing somewhere on the banks of the river. Indulge your inner Tarzan, and give it a go. (Bonus points if you can pull off a flip.) Once you make it about 6 miles into the float, Blue Spring will be on your left. You’ll definitely want to stop here.
On average, Blue Spring pumps out 7 million gallons of water a day at a temperature that hovers around 40 degrees. To have the complete North Fork experience, jumping into the bone-chillingly cold spring is a must. The spring is surrounded by a semicircle of small bluffs and rocks, and you’ll often see people jumping from the rocks on the north side of the spring. When I jumped last summer, I ended up hitting the bottom and bruising my foot. It wasn’t serious, but it’s good to always err on the side of safety if you have any doubts.
Back in the canoe, you have another 9 miles of river to enjoy, so kick back and relax. You’ll want to watch for McKee Bridge around mile 11, which can be dangerous when the water is high. Before the float is over, you’ll also have to navigate The Falls, a 2- to 3-foot rock ledge, but if you stay left you should be fine. When you see Blair Bridge, start heading for shore. This is your takeout point where buses will be waiting to take you back to the Twin Bridges campground.
In the morning, on your way home, make a side trip to Althea Springs for one more jolt from the North Fork. Located close to Dawt Mill, this spring is damned, and the resulting waterfall is a darling little spot to splash around.