Springs Fever: A Field & Recreation Guide to 500 Florida Springs.
2nd Edition by Joe Follman and Richard Buchanan

Part V.
The Mother Lode'”The Suwannee River



There are more artesian springs along the Suwannee River and its watershed than in any other area in Florida. According to the Suwannee River Water Management District, approximately 200 Florida'™s springs lie within the Suwannee River Basin (Springs of the Suwannee, pamphlet, no date).  The river, which originates in the Okeefenokee Swamp in south Georgia, wends it way south and west for 207 miles in north-central Florida before emptying into the Gulf of Mexico.  Springs line the riverbanks, well up from its riverbed, or flow into it from near its course.  Six are first-magnitude in flow.

The Suwannee is fed by dozens of creeks and several rivers, including the Alapaha, Withlacoochie, Santa Fe, and Ichetucknee Rivers'”themselves created or supplemented by springs and spring flow.  It is, in fact, the springs that make the Suwannee a large river.  Above where the springs flow into the river, one can walk across it in places during dry periods.  At Manatee Springs near the river'™s mouth, the Suwannee is over ¼ mile across.

Despite this abundant infusion of clear spring water, visibility in the river is poor due to tannic acid in the water from decaying vegetation. Curiously, in his 1773 visit to Florida, William Bartram noted that the Suwannee was clear as far south as Manatee Springs.  Scientists are puzzled by this observation, as it is not verified by other accounts.  Bartram'™s descriptions are usually very accurate.  The Suwannee River is polluted by farm and industrial runoff, septic systems, and other sources, and recent tests indicate higher concentrations of nitrate in the river.  Other tests suggest that water issuing from springs along the Suwannee is a mixture of "new" water'”groundwater that recently entered the aquifer, and "older" water'”water from deeper portions of the aquifer that has been underground for up to several decades (Katz, in "Abstracts of . . ." 2000, p. 8).

Recent research on water quality in the Suwannee River noted rising nitrate levels and that 45% of the rivers "present nitrate load enters the river in an area designated as the Middle Suwannee River Basin (Greenhalgh, in Florida Geology Forum, March 2003, p. 2).  This area has a high concentration of cattle and other farming near the river.  Farmers in this area are being encouraged to adopt "Best Management Practices" to reduce nitrate loading to groundwater.  These practices, developed by the Suwannee River Partnership/Nutrient Management Working Group, include animal waste management, fertilizer management, human waste/stormwater management, monitoring and reserach, education and outreach, and program oversight and management.  For more information about the Working Group, contact the project coordinator at 904-362-1001 or 800-226-1066 (Fla. only) or e-mail smith_d@srwmd.state.fl.us

Nonetheless, the river is relatively abundant in flora and fauna.  Manatees enter it from the Gulf of Mexico in the winter to seek shelter in some of its springs, including Manatee and Fanning.  Approximately 75 species of fish are found in the river, of which two'”the Suwannee bass and the banded pygmy sunfish'”are endemic and found nowhere else (Carr, 1983, p. 65).  Tourism is a growing industry in the Suwannee region, including revenue from large numbers of divers who visit springs along the river.  There are an estimated 7,000 tourist-related jobs along the river, and nearly half (49%) of the visitors go to at least one spring during their visits (Mark Bonn, Fla. Springs Conference, 2003).

The Suwannee is one of the few major rivers in the eastern United States that is not dammed.  As a result, it continues the time-old pattern of periodically cresting its banks and flooding the surrounding countryside.  There were floods in 1998, for example.  Along much of its length, natural levees of 20-45 feet have developed over time, helping reduce the risk of flooding.  Even so, the periodic floods have limited development along much of its length, and one can canoe for miles'”particularly in the more scenic northern section'”and see few signs of human habitation.  When the river is high, its mass of water can stop or reverse the flow of springs along its banks.  In a curious hydrologic phenomenon, the flow of Falmouth Spring can reverse when the Suwannee is high'”even though the spring (it is actually now called a karst window) is four miles from the river.  Recent research suggests that Falmouth travels underground to join the Suwannee River at Stevenson Spring (named in 2003 in honor of Jim Stevenson of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection).

Except in times of flood or low water, the Suwannee is navigable (at least by small boats) its entire length in Florida.  In the days of steamship travel, steamers such as the Madison ferried goods from the mouth of the river to where U.S. 90 now crosses the river in Ellaville.  Once, in time of high water'”and apparently to prove it could be done'”the Madison'™s Captain James Tucker ran his steamer all the way to White Springs (Carr, 1983, p. 54).

Nowadays, motorboats are popular on the river'™s lower stretches, but do not ply the waters much above Luraville.  Above this point, the river is increasingly shallow and narrow, and there are occasional shoals, hidden rocks, and other obstructions.  The main reason the river is deeper below Luraville is that it is fed by a large number of springs in the area.

Of the several rivers that traverse the Ocala uplift, an area where ancient tectonic action has pushed Florida'™s subsurface limestone and the Floridan Aquifer near the surface, only the Suwannee flows through the uplift.  The other rivers in this region, including the Santa Fe and Alapaha, go underground and reappear on the other side of the uplift.  Over time, the Suwannee has cut its way through the limestone and directly into the aquifer, which is one of the reasons for its abundance of springs.

The Suwannee River is suitable for canoeing from Fargo, Georgia, to Suwannee River State Park.  Below the state park, motorboat traffic and the increasing width of the river make paddling less enjoyable.  Above the park, the river offers a rich diversity of foliage, wildlife, natural levees, sandbars, limestone walls, grottoes, and of course, springs.  Several communities were established at spring sites, and the towns of Branford, Fanning Springs, and White Springs continue to derive their sustenance'”both liquid and financial'”from the springs after which they were named.

The Suwannee River Water Management District manages land around 60-70 of the springs described in the following section.  Overall, the district now has preserved approximately 120,000 acres or spring watershed, or springshed, within its boundary area.
 
 

Part V Contents

          A.  Florida/Georgia Border to Suwannee River State Park Area
               Bell Spring
               White Sulfur Springs
               Iron (or Wesson'™s Iron) Spring
               Louisa Spring
               Mattair Spring
               Suwannee Springs
               Holton Creek Rise
                 An Essay on Holton Spring
               Alapaha Rise
                    Unnamed Spring #1
                    Unnamed Spring #2
                 An Essay on Alapaha Rise Spring
               Stevenson Spring
               Little Gem Spring
                 An Essay on Suwannee River State Park and Its Springs
               Lime Spring
               Ellaville Spring
               Falmouth Spring
               Anderson Spring

          B.  Suwannee River Springs Near (within 10 miles of) Luraville
                    An Essay on the Springs Near Luraville
               Cork Spring
               Hidden Spring
               Charles Spring
               Allen Mill Pond Spring
               Thomas Spring
               Blue Spring
               Perry Spring
               LAF924971
               Telford Spring
               Hidden Spring
               Luraville Springs
               Pump, Baptizing, and Walker Springs
               Bonnet Spring
               Peacock Spring
               Orange Grove Spring
               Cow Spring
               Running Springs (2)
               Convict Spring
               Bathtub Spring
               Oak Spring
               Royal Spring
               Suwannee Blue Spring

          C.  Suwannee River Springs Near Branford
               Owens Spring
               Mearson Spring
               Boiling Spring
               Troy Spring
               Ruth Spring
               Little River Spring
               Sulfur Spring
               Branford Springs
               Shingle Spring

          D.  Suwannee River Springs Below the Santa Fe to Chiefland
               Turtle Spring
               Fletcher Spring
               Pothole Spring
               Rock Bluff Springs
               Guaranto Spring
               Lumbercamp Spring
               Sun (or Aiken) Spring
               Hart Springs
                    An Essay on Hart Springs
               McCrabb Spring
               Otter Springs
               Little Copper Spring
               Copper Spring
               Fanning (or Fannin'™) and Little Fanning Springs
                    An Essay on Fanning Springs
               Manatee Springs
 
 

A.  Florida Border to Suwannee River State Park Area

Bell Spring
Columbia County

Summary of Features
Scale'”3rd magnitude
Scenery'”poor
How Pristine?'”dammed into fish ponds
Swimming'”no
Protection'”private
Wildlife'”good
Crowds'”none
Access'”none'”private land
Facilties'”none
Safety'”N/A
Scuba'”no
Cost'”free

Directions
Located 2-3 miles due east of White Springs on the southeast bank of the Suwannee River, a little downriver from Big Shoals and a short distance downriver from and on the same side as where Robinson Creek enters the river. From White Springs travel north on County Road 135. After 3-4 miles turn right onto Goodwin Bridge Road and take to the boat launch. Spring is about two miles downriver from the launch on the left side. It is another 6 miles or so to the takeout at U.S. 41.

For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

Spring Description
The authors have not visited the spring, which is on private property and not open to the public.  The owner has dammed the spring, creating three pools to raise catfish, for swimming, and as a water source.  According to Rosenau et al. (1977, p. 97), there is a tear-drop-shaped spring pool with dimensions of 75 by 150 feet, and at the vent the pool is 7 feet deep. The spring creates a run of 0.4 to the river, and, according to Carter & Pierce, "its drainage into the river is not identifiable as a spring run" (1993, p. 123).

Use/Access
No access.

Nearby Springs

Other Nearby Natural Features
 
 

White (or White Sulfur) Spring
Hamilton County

Summary of Features
Scale'”2nd magnitude
Scenery'”very good
How Pristine?'”large concrete/wood structure around spring; land cleared
Swimming'”no
Protection'”excellent
Wildlife'”poor
Crowds'”can be crowded on warm weekends
Access'”excellent
Facilities'”excellent
Safety'”very good
Scuba'”no
Cost'”free

Directions
The spring is 0.1 mile west of the intersection of U.S. 41 and State Road 136 on the Suwannee River in White Springs. Look for signs to the Stephen Foster State Folk Culture Center. As you approach the Culture Center, you will see the old spring house on the left. You can pay to enter the park, or park at the spring for no charge.

For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

Spring Description
The spring flows from a limestone cavity and into the adjacent Suwannee River. It is enclosed by the remnants of a large "spring house," a four-story structure with beveled corners on the inside that provided access and accompanying health treatments. Multi-level ports'”a tall sluice gate'”in the spring house were designed to limit intrusion of the river when water levels were high. Stairs lead to the top, which is covered with a white wooden structure with cedar shingles. The gate is gone now from the sluice but water still flows out through it into the river. The flow was strong when the authors visited in 1998 and 1999.

The pool is circular and 12-15 in diameter. Most of the pool is only about three feet or deep or less. The water has a sulphurous smell and is lightly tannin-colored. The depth of the pool varies with the level of the river. The park ranger told RB that the spring hadn't flowed in years, but is now flowing again. Either the water table was too low (due to industrial drawdowns?) or part of the cave had collapsed. During the floods of winter, 1998, the water rose above the railing around the top of the spring house'”approximately 35 feet.

Use/Access

Local Springiana Personal Impressions
Go down by the river when the water is low and stand on the big flat limestone shelf next to where the water comes out the spring. The Suwannee is narrow here'“nothing like the wide river it becomes father south. The wooded banks on the other side are steep and sandy. From this angle, the springhouse looks sort of like a castle tower. Upriver RB could see the inevitable rope attached to a high tree limb nearby, kids swinging off into the water.

Nearby Springs

Other Nearby Natural Features Contact Information
Stephen Foster State Folk Culture Center
P.O. Drawer G
White Springs, FL 32096
904-397-2733 or -4331
 
 


Iron (or Wesson'™s Iron) Spring
Hamilton County

Summary of Features
Scale'”3rd magnitude (estimated)
Scenery'”Excellent
How Pristine?'”unspoiled
Swimming'”no
Protection'”private, unknown
Wildlife'”very good
Crowds'”None
Access'”good, canoe only
Facilities'”none
Safety'”good
Scuba'”no
Cost'”boat launch or rental fee

Directions
"Located 3.5 miles w. of White Springs, less than 100 yards upstream of the bridge across Swift Creek" (Rosenau et al., 1977, p. 140).

For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

Spring Description
The authors have not located this spring or a description of it. When RB canoed Swift Creek in fall 1999, he was not aware of such a spring along the run and did not see one. Rosenau et al.'™s directions above do not account for the two bridges that cross Swift Creek'”perhaps there was only one bridge when Springs of Florida was published in 1977.

Use/Access
Presumably accessible via canoe on Swift Creek. Swift Creek is an exciting and challenging run.

Nearby Springs

Other Nearby Natural Features
 
 

Louisa Spring
Hamilton County

Summary of Features
Scale'”4th magnitude
Scenery'”very good
Swimming'”no
Protection'”private
Crowds'”none
Access'”private
Facilities'”none
Safety'”private
Scuba'”no
Cost'”N/A

Directions
Located a short distance upriver of where Interstate 75 crosses the Suwannee River on the northwest bank. By canoe, it is about 7 miles below the put-in at U.S. 41 near White Springs.

For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

Spring Description
The authors have not visited the spring.  Hornsby & Ceryak (1998, p. 77), place the spring at latitude 30 degrees, 20'™ 47" and longitude 82 degrees, 49'™ 54".  It is adjacent to the river in a small circular pool on private land. Exposed limestone encircles the spring. Rosenau et al. provide a second-hand description:  "The owner reported the spring vent about 18 feet in diameter and visible when the Suwannee River is at low stage" (1977, p. 139).

Use/Access
Private property.  One can canoe to the spring.

Nearby Springs

Other Nearby Natural Features
 

Mattair Spring
Suwannee County

Put in map from SRWMD

Summary of Features
Scale'”3rd magnitude
Scenery'”excellent
How Pristine?'”very pristine
Swimming'”no
Protection'”excellent
Wildlife'”excellent
Crowds'”none
Access'”good'”requires walking a mile
Facilities'”none
Safety'”good
Scuba'”no
Cost'”free

Directions
From Live Oak, drive north on U.S. 129 for 6-7 miles. Turn right onto County Road 136A. Turn on 85th Road, then right onto 75th Road to the entrance. Drive until the road ends and then follow the path upriver along the river about a mile to the spring.

For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

Spring Description
When visited in fall 1999'”a time of prolonged dry weather and low water level in the Suwannee River, the spring was dry. When flowing, it is a small upwelling from exposed limestone in a grotto with a short run to the Suwannee River. The water has a sulfurous odor.

Use/Access
The land is protected by the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) and is open to the public.

Personal Impressions

RB could not figure out why he could not find the spring when it was marked clearly on the SRWMD map. It was not until he and JF found another dry spring that he realized the depression he had seen earlier was Mattair.

Nearby Springs

Other Nearby Natural Features Contact Information
Suwannee River Water Management District
9225 CR49
Live Oak, FL 32060
800-226-1066

Suwannee Springs
Suwannee County

Summary of Features
Scale'”2nd magnitude
Scenery'”fine
How Pristine?'”remnant of stone structure around spring, cleared land, beach area
Swimming'”fair, water is sulfurous
Protection'”excellent
Wildlife'”fair to good
Crowds'”can be crowded on warm weekends
Access'”fine
Facilities'”good
Safety'”very good
Scuba'”no
Cost'”free

Directions
From Live Oak, drive about 7 miles north on U.S. 129, crossing under Interstate 10. Turn right on old highway 129, just before the agriculture station and solid waste collection site, and before crossing the Suwannee River. Turn right on dirt road sign-posted for the spring.

For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

Spring Description
A rectangular stone floodwall surrounds the spring on three sides'“on one side, white sand has filled in to make a small beach. A lower stone wall encloses the spring itself. On the wall facing the Suwannee are three arched openings, two of them big enough to walk through when the river is low. The pool is about 40 feet in diameter. The spring is attractive, with clear greenish-yellow water that has a marked sulfurous odor. The spring has two vents and a limestone ledge beneath the water but clearly visible. One flow is from under the SE corner of the wall from limestone openings. There is another flow near the center of the pool from beneath the limestone ledge, creating a mild slick on the surface that is about 3 feet in diameter. Suwannee Spring flows through a hole in the floodwall directly into the river.

There are two other vents just outside the enclosure at its base. These vents are inundated in times of high water, but are easy to spot when water levels are low. In addition, there is another vent about 45 feet east of the structure at the edge of the river, and at least three other flow points at points from 40-60 feet west of the structure, all at the edge of the bank. On date of visit (March 2001), all were flowing and had strong or otherwise clearly visible boils.

A concrete walkway leads down to the ruins. The walls of the walkway look like rough-hewn stone at first glance, but they are really wedge-like concrete blocks.

Use/Access

Local Springiana Suwannee Springs was a prime tourist destination from 1890 to 1925 as people from all over the country came to bathe in the medicinal sulfur water thought to cure kidney problems, rheumatism, gout, constipation, and many other common ailments of the day. Three hotels and 18 private residences were located on the site during its heyday. The Atlantic Coastline Railroad stopped at Suwannee Station, a mile north of the springs, and ran a spur line down to the hotels. In 1925 the last hotel burned down and Suwannee Springs ceased to be a year-round resort. The spring house and railroad pylons can still be seen today. Years of unmanaged use caused erosion and a decline in the spring'™s natural beauty. A major restoration to restore the spring and to provide better recreational opportunities was completed in 1996. Work included stabilizing the back-filling areas around the spring; constructing additional parking areas and walkways; and replanting with native plants (1996, p. 38). Other Nearby Springs Other Nearby Natural Features Contact Information
Suwannee River Water Management District
9225 CR49
Live Oak, FL 32060
800-226-1066
 
 


Holton Creek Rise
Hamilton County

Summary of Features
Scale'”1st magnitude
Scenery'”outstanding
How Pristine?'”completely pristine
Swimming'”no
Protection'”excellent
Wildlife'”excellent
Crowds'”none
Access'”must have exact directions and map
Facilities'”none
Safety'”good
Scuba'”no
Cost'”free

Directions
From Madison, take U.S. 90 east 2-3 miles until the fork with State Road 6. Take SR6 east, across the Withlacoochie River, and proceed about 12 miles to County Road 751. Turn right and drive about 3.5 miles to SW 67th Drive. Turn left. (If you pass the agriculture weigh station or cross the Suwannee River, you have gone too far.) SW 67th Drive is a wide dirt road that angles sharply back. The sign for Adams Farm Country Store (also called the "Y'™all Mart") is plainly visible, moreso than the small sign for the Holton Creek WMA. Continue down the dirt road, passing the country store on your left in an area of clear-cut logging. This is the only structure to be seen as far as the eye can see. Note the catfish pond next to the small store. The sign advertises pork sandwiches, the only food to be bought for miles in any direction.

Just after the store, turn right onto a narrower dirt road, following the signs. The spring is about 2.5 miles down this road. The roads are numbered with tiny metal squares on low posts'“this one is "Road 1". Follow the road, and the Holton WMA signs through alternating planted pines and hardwoods. At about 0.7 miles, you pass a small brown shed and 2 little signs with a small roof over them, with posters behind glass. Continue onward and when you come to Road 8, turn left and go until you reach Road 5. Turn right on Road 5 and Holton Spring will be on your left. See Holton Map.

For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

Spring Description
The acre-sized spring/creek rise and its run lie in deep woods and are canopied. The basin is surrounded by steep banks of 30 feet or more and makes a sharp turn as it empties into its 0.7 mile run to the Suwannee River. The pool is over 200 feet in diameter. Water in the spring was tannin-colored on the date the authors visited. Turtles and gar were visible at or near the surface. Holton has a powerful flow. Limestone outcrops line the edges of the basin, and a trail leads around the spring and along both sides of the run. A few hundred feet down the run, an immense cypress tree sits in the middle of the stream. When the site was visited (late spring 1999) the land was dotted with white swamp lilies, sweet gum balls, and palmettos. Huge hardwood trees surround the spring, while the surrounding land is pocked with sinkholes and hollows. Herons and egrets were observed at the spring.

Use/Access
Holton is one of the most remote springs in Florida. Without precise directions, it is virtually impossible to locate. Now that the Suwannee River Water Management District protects Holton Spring and 2,300 acres around it, access is no longer difficult. Their description (Johnson & Faircloth) of the site is worth quoting in detail:

This tract features . . . hundreds of sinkholes and depressional areas, and two state champion cypress trees. It also has a unique mixture of adjacent high quality upland and wetland natural communities that cannot be found anywhere else in the Upper Suwannee River Basin.

The primary natural communities found on Holton Creek include sand hills, upland forests, and bottomland forests which frequently flood. Trees and understory commonly seen include cypress, water elm, pine, oak, hickory, magnolia, beech, saw palmetto, swamp privet, sparkleberry, and wiregrass. This property also contains some of the most extensive old growth bottomland forest remaining in the Upper Suwannee River Basin (1996, p. 42).

The lower third of the run to the Suwannee River is bordered by private land. The beauty of the area at the spring is a sharp contrast to the denuded landscape and tree farms nearby.

Personal Impressions
Holton is one of the most attractive and pristine springs in Florida. Watch for potholes in the dirt roads abound the spring. JF jounced the canoe off RB'™s new car when they visited, scratching the paint job on the car.

Nearby Springs

Other Nearby Natural Features An Essay on Holton Spring
Until recently, Holton Spring was almost impossible to visit. Down a tangle of ever-narrowing, unmarked sand roads, it was hidden except to locals and a few scientists. Now, however, it is under the protection of the South Fla. Water Mgt. District, and they can provide you with an exact map. By car, it is just a few minutes from Alapaha. Along the way, you may wish to get provisions at the local country store, which has the brilliant name of "Y'™all Mart."

Holton is one of Florida'™s 33 first magnitude springs, meaning its flow is at least 65 million gallons each day. Holton'™s average flow is 186 million gallons/day. Although the land surrounding the management area is all either farm land or clear-cut moonscape, the trees get larger and the forest more dense as you near the spring. Sinkholes pock the surrounding landscape, and you know you are in spring country.

The spring is an acre-sized pool in a 30-foot deep depression surrounded completely by overhanging pine and oak trees. A huge cypress looms over the spring. The spring cannot be seen from the road, so scramble out and walk the trail on its perimeter. The south end is open for the powerful and swift run to the Suwannee River. Turtles, herons, and gar seemed very surprised at being discovered, and indeed the site is offers rare solitude and communion with nature. The day of our visit, thousands of lily-like flowers were in bloom all around the spring, washing the rolling hills in pink and peach.

The water was not clear this day, so of course I shall have to return to see if it is always tinged with tannin or might be clear under other conditions. Make a visit yourself. After going you'™ll be able to stump your friends and colleagues by asking if they have been to Holton.

Contact Information
Suwannee River Water Management District
9225 CR49
Live Oak, FL 32060
800-226-1066
 
 


Alapaha Rise Spring
Hamilton County

Summary of Features
Scale'”1st magnitude
Scenery'”outstanding
How Pristine?'”very unspoiled
Swimming'”fair
Protection'”unknown/private
Wildlife'”good
Crowds'”none
Access'”difficult, canoe only
Facilities'”none
Safety'”good
Scuba'”yes
Cost'”free

Directions
From Madison, take U.S. 90 east 2-3 miles until the fork with State Road 6. Take SR6 east, across the Withlacoochie River, and proceed about 12 miles to County Road 751. Turn right and drive about four miles to Suwannee River. Take boat ramp at Hutch Gibson Park (on the NW side of the river), and canoe upriver about ¼ mile. A few hundred feet past the CR751 bridge, you will see water rushing out with great force on the left'”it is the mouth of the spring run.

For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

Spring Description
As its name suggests, Alapaha Rise Spring is likely the rise of a portion of the Alapaha River. It water is dark, and it meets the Suwannee River about 1/3 miles above where the Alapaha River proper joins with the Suwannee. The spring rears up in an 80-foot-wide box canyon at the head of a 400-foot run. The walls surrounding the spring are vertical limestone (20-30 feet high) and pocked with holes, fissures, and fractures. The run, which is about 60 feet wide, discharges powerfully into the Suwannee River.

Rosenau et al. report there is a sink about 250 feet north of Alapaha Rise. At the bottom of the sink, water can be seen flowing toward the rise (1977, p. 133).

Use/Access

Photos
Photos

In their comprehensive compendium on springs in the Suwannee River basin, Hornsby & Ceryak (1998) identify and photograph two springs at the approximate location of the above-unnamed springs (SUW925974'”p. 123, and SUW925975, p. 127). However, neither of these springs looks much like the springs described above.

Personal Impressions
Like nearby Holton Spring, Alapaha Rise is a spectacular and pristine site. Although it is near the bridge and highway and there is a road directly above it, it feels remote and receives very few visitors. Paddling into the spring is hard work and a lot of fun. Its box-canyon appearance is unique among springs of Florida.

Nearby Springs

Other Nearby Natural Features An Essay on Alapaha Rise Spring
Located in Hamilton County halfway between Jasper and Live Oak, Alapaha Rise is in the pinch of real estate between Interstates 10 and 75. It'™s a rise because it is part of the Alapaha River, which flows south from Georgia between the Suwannee and Withlacoochie Rivers. At some point, some of the Alapaha goes underground. The rest of the river flows into the Suwannee just below where CR 751 crosses the river.

From I-75 or I-10, take SR 6 to CR 751 and go south to the Suwannee. After the agricultural weigh station on the left, there is a boat ramp on the right in Gibson County Park. Alapaha Rise is just 100 yards behind the agricultural weigh station, but the land around it is private so you'™ll need to paddle into it from the boat ramp. Go upriver under the bridge and you'™ll see the opening on the left.

Now comes the hard part. The entrance to Alapaha Rise is only 50 feet wide and less than 10 feet deep, but an average of 520 million gallons of water comes out of it each day'”that'™s about 6,000 gallons of water per second. So you have to stroke with maximum force to get in. After the first 25 yards, you'™ve made it and can ease off. Limestone walls stretch upward until they form a 40-foot mini-gorge and box canyon around the rise.

The walls are sheer and honeycombed with thousands of holes as if drilled by a lunatic. To borrow a phrase from Frost, the water is "lovely, dark, and deep," and roils from the upwelling river. According to divers, the vent is 150 feet wide, and you take their word for it because the tannin-laced water does not invite swimming. It is a primeval scene, and you will have it all to yourself.

Canoeing out is exciting, for now your paddling will shoot you through the entrance at great speed--just hope a speedboat is not coming by on the Suwannee at that moment. Directly across the river is a little spring cascade, and the exposed limestone, caves, sandbars, and extremely high natural levees along this stretch make it one of the prettiest spots of the entire Suwannee River.
 
 

Stevenson (or Lineater) Spring
Suwannee County

Summary of Features
Scale'”2nd magnitude
Scenery'”very good
How Pristine?'”very unspoiled
Swimming'”good
Protection'”unknown/private
Wildlife'”good
Crowds'”none
Access'”very good, by boat only
Facilities'”none
Safety'”good
Scuba'”yes
Cost'”free

Directions
The spring is located at latitude 30.4167N and longitude 83.1528W.

For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

Spring Description
The spring is located on the east bank of the Suwannee River north of Suwannee River State Park.  Water flows strongly from a cavern opening in the limestone bank.  Recent research suggests this site, which has an average output of 92 cubic feet per second (nearly 60 million gallons a day), is the outflow point of Falmouth Spring, a karst window several miles to the south.

Use/Access

Nearby Springs Other Nearby Natural Features
Suwannee County

Summary of Features
Scale'”3rd magnitude (estimated)
Scenery'”excellent
How Pristine?'”unspoiled; steps to spring
Swimming'”excellent wading, dipping
Protection'”excellent
Wildlife'”good
Crowds'”few
Access'”good, must walk or paddle 1/4 mile along river from boat ramp
Facilities'”none at site, excellent nearby
Safety'”very good
Scuba'”no
Cost'”$2 per car

Quick Directions
From boat ramp at Suwannee River State Park, walk upriver about ¼ mile to the spring on the left (or boat upriver that distance and spring will be on the right).

Full Directions
From Interstate 10 exit #38 travel north four miles to town of Lee and turn right (east) on U.S. 90. Drive about 12 miles to Suwannee River State Park shortly after crossing the Suwannee River and proceed to the parking area just above the boat ramp at the end of the paved road. From I-10 exit #39, travel west on U.S. 90 about 8-9 miles to the state park. (You will pass the entrance to Falmouth Spring on the way from exit #39.)

For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

Spring Description
Steps lead from the riverside/levee trail down to the spring, which is set about 10 feet from the edge of the river in a small alcove. It has a small and deep pool that is 8 feet in diameter. Water flows up from a vent of unknown depth and around the trunk of an old tree. The tree was up-ended and plunged into the spring when the force of floodwaters of the Suwannee River caused the spring to reverse and become a siphon. The water is clear and blue except in times of high water.

The natural river levee rises in a semi-circle around the spring, and a large cypress sits at its upriver side at the water'™s edge. When the Suwannee River is either low or at normal height, water tumbles out of the spring into the river. There is another vent below the cascade at the river'™s edge, and when the river is low its boil can be up to one foot above the surface. The nearby shoreline has clay deposits.

Use/Access

Personal Impressions
The spring is an excellent place for children to play in the water, at the edge of the river, or with the nearby clay and (in the fall) grapes found hanging from vines above.

Nearby Springs

Other Nearby Natural Features Contact Information
Suwannee River State Park
Route 8, Box 297
Live Oak, FL 32060
850-362-2746
 

An Essay on Suwannee River State Park and Its Springs
Suwannee River State Park has an identity problem. I can hear you now: "Oh, yeah," you'™re saying, "I'™ve been there. They have a, um, big country and craft festival thing in the spring. Bell tower plays Stephen Foster songs." No, no, no. You'™re thinking of the Stephen Foster Cultural Center or the Suwannee River Music Park. Suwannee River State Park is a different spot and is located NW of Live Oak or 70 miles east of Tallahassee between Interstate 10 exits number 38 or 39.

Suwannee River is one of my favorite state parks, and my first visit is burned into my memory because, well, the park was on fire when I arrived. A controlled burn had just been done in the pine and bracken fern uplands, and there were still smoldering and even flaming spots along the trail.

Created in 1936, Suwannee River State Park has just about everything except crowds. The Withlacoochie and Suwannee Rivers meet in the park, which also includes upland, river, and deep-woods habitats; springs, fishing and canoeing, camping, picnicking, and slices of Florida history that are as thick as country bacon. As with many hidden treasures, however, you need to get away from the parking lot to appreciate them.

On the upland trail is the ghost of the town of Columbus. Once a thriving community with a mill and ferryboat crossing, all that remains of Columbus today is a cemetery that gives mute and poignant testimony to the difficulty of frontier life. One grave marker, for Jearl who died at age five, reads, "Oh, how hard but we give thee up, Our precious little one." A smaller marker, for Jearl'™s unnamed sibling who died at seven months, says simply: "He who took you knoweth best." This is a dry, quiet, sad place; the only sounds are calls from crows, buzzing insects, and the occasional breeze blowing through the rusted wrought-iron fences around the family plots.

Heading back to the river, you walk briefly on the original road connecting St. Augustine and Pensacola. It is just a sandy path, really, and it is easy to imagine you have been transported back to the days when doomed little Jearl romped in the dirt, back further to when Union troops heading for the railroad bridge here were bloodied in the Civil War battle of Olustee; and back further still to when legislators traveled on horseback to session in Tallahassee, camping along the way and keeping a sharp eye on panthers, bears, and their per diem.

The other park trail leads deep into the woods along Lime Spring run. Ancient oak and cypress arch over, and the quiet, lucky observer may see alligator, beaver, and fox. Come back along the river and look for steps leading down to a delightful surprise. Little Gem Spring issues from the bank, creating a waterfall and a cool swimmin'™ hole that is the best place to get wet in the park. You'™ll share the spring with an old-growth trunk that looks like it was stuffed into the spring by a giant'”see if you can figure out how Mother Nature placed it there. It is possible to rock the tree back and forth, but not even King Arthur could pull it out.

At this spring is another sight--a dramatic boil of spring water in the river itself. When the river is low, the water bubbles up more than a foot above the surface. By the boat ramp are two dozen spring seeps flowing into the river. They only flow under certain conditions of river height and rainfall, and would be better named weeps than seeps--liquid crystal tears trickling into the coffee-colored Suwannee.

There is another wonderful spring just outside the park. Just past where the Withlacoochee meets the Suwannee--by the railroad bridge--is Ellaville spring. Set down among large trees and boulders, this spring flows up a straw-like crack more than 100 feet deep. Clear water forms two secret pools before crashing through the boulders into the river.

On the way to Ellaville Spring you'™ll pass the Civil War fortification built to protect the railroad bridge and river approaches. Then there'™s'”well, I'™d better stop. And so should you the next time you'™re driving by the park on that 350 miles of flat, straight, narcolepsy-inducing graytop that is Florida'™s I-10. Burn yourself a little memory, and cool it off in a spring.
 
 

Lime Spring
Suwannee County

Summary of Features
Scale'”1st magnitude, intermittent
Scenery'”outstanding
How Pristine?'”mostly unspoiled; bridge over mouth of run and path along run, near a boat ramp
Swimming'”none
Protection'”excellent
Wildlife'”fair to excellent
Crowds'”none
Access'”very good, 30-minute walk
Facilities'”excellent
Safety'”good
Scuba'”no
Cost'”$2 per car

Directions
From Interstate 10 exit #38 travel north four miles to town of Lee and turn right (east) on U.S. 90. Drive about 12 miles to Suwannee River State Park shortly after crossing the Suwannee River and proceed to the parking area just above the boat ramp at the end of the paved road. Lime Spring Run trail heads back from this parking area. The spring pool is just beyond where the trail crosses the run in Suwannee River State Park. The spring appears to lie within the State Park boundaries, but one must leave the path to reach it. From I-10 exit #39, travel west on U.S. 90 about 8-9 miles to the state park. (You will pass the entrance to Falmouth Spring on the way from exit #39.)

For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

Spring Description
When visited separately by the authors in times of dry weather (1997, 1999), the spring appeared as a sink'”a circular depression of between ½ and 1 acre that had no visible flow. Another similar depression lies between the spring and the run. According to Rosenau et al., who visited the spring under flood conditions, the spring is about 70 feet deep and has a large cave in the center (1977, p. 369). When the authors visited, the water was dark and the area was thick with vegetation.

The spring run, which has also been called Dry Run, Limesink Run, Lime Run Sink, and Dryspring Run, is often dry. The run is 2/3 mile and empties into the Suwannee River about 75 feet above the boat ramp in the State Park. Under certain conditions when the spring is flowing and run flows into the river, there is another small spring in the run on the south side about 40 feet from the mouth of the run. At times, small seeps may be seen along the banks of the river below the mouth of the run and the State Park boat ramp.

Use/Access

Local Springiana
In the 1960s and 1970s, a lower portion of the run was made into a beach and swimming area, complete with bathroom and dressing room facilities. Those structures are now gone, and it is difficult to tell the area was ever developed.

Nearby Springs

Other Nearby Natural Features Contact Information
Suwannee River State Park
Route 8, Box 297
Live Oak, FL 32060
850-362-2746
 
 


Ellaville Spring
Suwannee County

Summary of Features
Scale'”2nd magnitude
Scenery'”excellent
How Pristine?'”very pristine
Swimming'”fair
Protection'”unknown
Wildlife'”none observed
Crowds'”few
Access'”fair to good
Facilities'”none
Safety'”fair to good
Scuba'”yes
Cost'”free

Quick Directions
Just past and behind the agriculture weigh station where U.S. 90 crosses the Suwannee River, about 50 feet from the railroad trestle on the east bank.

Full Directions
From Interstate 10 exit #38 travel north four miles to town of Lee and turn right (east) on U.S. 90. Drive about 11 miles and cross the Suwannee River. The turnoff to Ellaville Spring is right after you cross the Suwannee. Turn left on the dirt road that cuts sharply behind the agricultural inspection station on the north side of Highway 90. Turn left on a dirt/grass path just before the railroad tracks and drive about 150 feet toward the river. The spring is 75 feet on the left.

For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

Spring Description
Water flows out of a tube-like cave system, forms two small pools, and then tumbles powerfully into the Suwannee River through massive limestone boulders. The first pool is only a few feet in diameter and is the site of the vent, which cannot be seen clearly in the shade despite the clear water. The second pool is larger'”about 8 by 15 feet'”and about 6 feet deep. Limestone boulders line and sit in the 35-foot run to the river. Scuba divers JF met at the site said there was a narrow vertical shaft'”at least 125 feet deep'”that they had just dived. The site is completely canopied, and algae grows on the limestone.

Use/Access

Personal Impressions

With its huge boulders, waterfall, swirling pools, and clear dark waters, Ellaville is visually striking. The impression is increased by the mundane surroundings in which it is located.

Nearby Springs

Other Nearby Natural Features Contact Information
Suwannee River State Park
Route 8, Box 297
Live Oak, FL 32060
850-362-2746
 
 


Falmouth Spring/Karst Window
Suwannee County

Summary of Features
Scale'”1st magnitude to no flow, depending on conditions
Scenery'”fine
How Pristine?'”restored to relatively pristine; boardwalk along run and steps to spring; parking area above spring
Swimming'”good to very good
Protection'”excellent
Wildlife'”good
Crowds'”can be crowded on warm weekends
Access'”fine
Facilities'”fair
Safety'”good
Scuba'”yes
Cost'”free

Directions
From Interstate 10 exit #38, travel north four miles to town of Lee and turn right (east) on U.S. 90. Drive about 14 miles to and turn right into spring entrance 2.2 miles east of the entrance to Suwannee River State Park. From I-10 exit #39, travel west on U.S. 90 about 5 miles to the spring entrance on the left.

For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

Spring Description
Falmouth is a spring-sink combination that is now characterized as a "karst window" (see also Riversink and Kini Springs). The circular pool lies in a depression with banks of over 30 feet and is about 80 feet in diameter. When JF visited, the water was a milky blue with visibility of a few feet. The water was greenish when RB visited. Hornsby & Ceryak observed the water as being tannin-colored (1998, p. 107). According to Rosenau et al., the spring has a vent at a depth of 45 feet leading to a cave and a tunnel that is 400 feet long (1977, p. 367).

The spring run is averages about 40 feet wide and flows about 200 yards to a sink that is about 60 feet wide and 40 feet deep. The run is shallow and rocky. Before the site was restored (see below), the surface of the sink was littered with fallen debris and garbage. Now a boardwalk offers access to the sink, which has a slight counterclockwise swirl. The waters eventually merge with the underground sources of the Suwannee, four miles away. Just before it gets to the cliff and disappears, the run passes, sometimes noisily, over and through rocks. The spring and its run lie deep in a hollow spot, surrounded by tall trees that shade the water. Green algae grow on rocks and banks.

Recent research suggests that the water in Falmouth travels several miles south and joins the Suwannee River at Stevenson Spring.

Use/Access

Local Springiana
Falmouth is perhaps the largest spring that has been observed to reverse'”at the rate of 365 ft/sec/3 (over a quarter of a billion gallons/day) in 1933.  It is also unique in that it can reverse even though the Suwannee River, to which it flows underground, is four miles away.  There is growing evidence that Falmouth flows into the Suwannee River at what is now called Line Eater Spring (previously identified as SUW923973 by Hornsby & Ceryak, 1998).

Personal Impressions
When JF first visited the spring, he witnessed the spectacle of two local children discovering a snake'”most likely non-venomous'”and then joyously beating it to death with a piece of knotted length of rope while their mother hollered cautionary advice from across the spring. At that time there was also a spectacular rope swing that started at least 25 feet above the water and dropped the swinger from that height into the deep part of the spring. JF enjoyed trying it.

Nearby Springs

Other Nearby Natural Features Contact Information
Suwannee River Water Management District
9225 CR49
Live Oak, FL 32060
800-226-1066
 
 


Anderson Spring
Suwannee County

Summary of Features
Scale'”2nd magnitude
Scenery'”fine
How Pristine?'”unspoiled; dirt road to site and small parking areas
Swimming'”fair-good
Protection'”excellent
Wildlife'”very good
Crowds'”occasional fishermen
Access'”very good
Facilities'”none
Safety'”very good
Scuba'”no
Cost'”free

Directions
From Interstate 10 exit on old exit #38 (exit also for Suwannee River State Park) and travel north four miles to town of Lee and turn right (east) on U.S. 90.  Drive about 12 miles and cross the Suwannee River.  Take the first right past the bridge onto River Road (across from agriculture station). Drive 2.2 miles, crossing over Interstate 10.  Take the first right into the Anderson Spring State Recreation Area.  Drive about 0.3 miles to the main parking area (past the kiosk) and then look inland for the spring depression.  To locate the flowpoint in the river, walk from the parking area to the river and look for the upwelling adjacent to the shore in a nearly direct line from the parking area.

For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

Spring Description
The spring is described and has been photographed as being both inland from the river and lying in the riverbed itself.  When Rosenau et al. visited in 1974, they found a dry run of 150 feet leading from the river to a shallow pool, 50 feet in diameter, in a low-lying and somewhat swampy area. No flow was visible. A local resident informed them that the pool sometimes flowed and was used for swimming (1977, p. 356).

This pool has not had water or flow in it on the four times the authors have visited from 1995-2003.   Just to the right of the entrance road--and across from the main parking area--are the dry depression, pool area, and run described by Rosenau et al.  The run goes back perhaps 200 feet, and there are several low spots from when water might flow under very wet conditions.  There is no evidence of recent flow, however.  There is a clear and evident flow point just off the shore in the bed of the river nearby (see photograph).  Rosenau noted that divers had identified Anderson Spring as being in the bed of the river at this latter spot.  Hornsby & Ceryak also report the spring as only being in the river (1998, p. 108). It may be that (1) water in the pool also flows underground beneath the dry run to well up in the river where observed, (2) the pool may still flow overland as well under certain hydrological conditions, (3) the pool no longer flows and flow is only in the riverbed where observed, (4) some other explanation or combination of the above theories is correct.

Use/Access
The tract was run as a management area in the 1990s by the Suwannee River Water Management District.  It is now a state recreation area managed by the Florida Park Service.  The site includes an informational kiosk, trails, fishing, chemical toilet, and a boat ramp.  Visitors can swim in the river.

Nearby Springs

  • Alapaha Spring
  • Falmouth Spring
  • Holton Spring
  • Little Gem Spring
  • Ellaville Spring
  • Lime Spring
  • Adams Spring
  • Morgan'™s Spring
  • Suwannacoochie Spring
  • Other Nearby Natural Features
  • Suwannee River State Park
  • Withlacoochie River
  • Two Rivers State Forest
  • Contact Information
    Suwannee River State Park
    Route 8, Box 297
    Live Oak, FL 32060
    850-362-2746
     
     

    B.  Suwannee River Springs Near (within 10 miles of) Luraville

    In a line that runs from the northwest to the southeast along the Suwannee River lie at least 25 springs. At the center of this concentration is the hamlet of Luraville, north and east of the river in Suwannee County about five miles north of Mayo. The majority of the springs line the river, but some'”Peacock and Orange Grove being the most notable'”are inland on the east bank. Several of the springs are currently either protected by the state (Allen Mill Pond, Charles, Peacock, Orange, Bonnet, and Royal) or otherwise open to the public and readily accessible (Blue, Telford, Cow, and Convict). A number of others can be reached by land or water without trespassing, although several are very difficult to locate. The rest are on private property.

    The springs range greatly in description, size, condition, and utilization. In addition, the character of the springs varies dramatically based on the level of rainfall and the height of the Suwannee River. Some have no flow at all when the river is low, and many are hidden by the tannic-acid-water of the Suwannee when the river is high. Of the springs in this group, only a few'”Blue, Telford, Royal'”offer real swimming opportunities. Several more, including Peacock, Orange Grove, Bonnet, and Convict, are popular or even renowned scuba sites.
     
     

    An Essay on the Springs Near Luraville
    I'™ll bet you'™ve never been to Luraville, Florida, and you may not have ever heard of this tiny crossroads by the Suwannee River. Located 15 miles south of Live Oak halfway between Gainesville and Tallahassee, Luraville has a flashing light, gas station, and a church. Oh, and there are also two dive shops because Luraville may have more springs than people.

    In a state with more springs than anywhere else, nondescript Luraville is "spring central." Within 10 miles of the town are at least 25, including Telford, Bathtub, Cow, Peacock, Orange Grove, Bonnet, Blue, Convict, Charles, Luraville, Pump, Thomas, Royal, and Running. Some of the springs are state- or county-managed, but many are on private land with varying accessibility.

    The best known site is Peacock, which was purchased by the Nature Conservancy in the 1980s and is now a State Recreation Area. Peacock is a scuba mecca and gateway to an underwater cave system that has been mapped for several miles. The recreation area also contains lovely sinkholes that tap into the aquifer, and there is another beautiful sink just across the road. But while Peacock is great for divers, there is not much for anyone else to do, so let'™s move on.

    The main local hangout is Telford Spring, which is two minutes from the flashing light. A low, sandy spring along the river, Telford has clear water flowing from a cave 16 feet down. The key-shaped spring and its run create a strong current. Although on private property, there is free access to the spring, which also contains the obligatory rope swing on the river. Heavy local use has badly eroded the land around the spring, and you need to watch for bottle caps and occasional broken glass. On the other hand, it'™s the kind of place where no one will notice that your belly hangs out, men spit without guilt, women wear bras as bikini tops, and boiled peanuts are available on weekends.

    A few minutes away is Charles Spring, which is more attractive and managed by the Suwannee River Water Mgt. District. Once you find the spring down dirt roads, you will see two limestone bridges forming two shallow pools. The flow creates a wade-able 250-foot run to the Suwannee and tumbles into the river in a 4-foot waterfall. It is a great place for swimming or for a picnic with or without children.

    The other area springs take a bit more searching. After getting directions from the dive shop, head for Running Springs in the farmland beyond Peacock. You'™ll pass Cow Spring along the way. Cow is a clear-blue spring about 25 feet deep and set in heavy woods, brooding quietly amidst its limestone boulders. Linked to the Peacock cave system, Cow is owned by the Speleological Section of the U.S. Cave Diving Society and is open to the public.

    200 yards away and on the Suwannee itself is Running Springs. The main pool is breathtaking in its pristine beauty. Dozens of small vents create a circular swimming and wading area about 30 feet across at the bottom of a steep bank. A fallen tree makes a natural bridge over the spring, which has a powerful waterfall into the river. Water seems to come up from everywhere, and the snorkeler will never tire of the underwater sights. Just past the rope swing nearby is Running Spring #2, which creates a pretty run that is great for wading. Running is entirely shaded, so it needs to be a warm day or you will quickly be chilled.

    Bathtub can only be accessed from the river--you will need directions from the locals--but it is simply the prettiest little spring ever, with sparkling azure water forming a 12-foot-wide natural pool that is the perfect cool tub. You may hear the legend of the drowned drunk when you visit.

    You have to look a bit to find these diamonds in the rough country that surrounds them. By their nature, springs are down and away, hidden by trees and sloping land, and many are unmarked. They make you work to find them, but then reward you by uplifting all their secrets and beauty. The next time you'™re traveling along U.S. 27, turn north at Mayo, cross the trestle bridge over the Suwannee and spend some time in spring central.
     
     

    Cork Spring
    Lafayette County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”3rd Magnitude (est.)
    Scenery'”very good
    How Pristine?'”very unspoiled
    Swimming'”no
    Protection'”unknown
    Crowds'”none
    Access'”river only
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”fair
    Scuba'”no
    Cost'”free

    Quick Directions
    On the west bank of the Suwannee River about 1.5 miles east of the hamlet of Day.

    Full Directions
    Put in boat or canoe at either Charles Spring or Allen Mill Pond Spring boat ramps. Go upriver 2-2.5 miles and look for spring in a cut of the berm on the left (west bank).

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring is small and may be hard to spot when the river is high or even at normal levels.  On the date of visit (early 2000), the river was more than six feet below normal and the spring flow poured into the river over a limestone shelf. The spring flows from a boulder-strewn limestone bank/grotto.  The spring creates a cut in the natural river levee, which makes it stand out on this stretch of river.  Flow was evident, but no vent was clearly visible amidst the limestone boulders and fallen limbs, and the spring had no real pool.  The run is about 75 feet and was littered with garbage on the date of visit.  The flow was estimated to be about 10 gallons per second.

    Use/Access

    A house was visible on the land above the spring, but the site was not posted. The trash on the site suggests it is used for recreation and/or as a hangout.

    Personal Impressions

    The spring would likely appear very different in times of higher water. It was not attractive on the date of visit. The authors were actually searching (unsuccessfully) for another spring when they spotted Cork.

    Nearby Springs


     
     

    Hidden Spring
    Suwannee County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”3rd Magnitude (est.)
    Scenery'”very good
    How Pristine?'”unspoiled
    Swimming'”unknown
    Protection'”unknown
    Crowds'”small to none
    Access'”by river and road
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”fair
    Scuba'”no
    Cost'”free

    Directions
    Put in boat or canoe at either Charles Spring or Allen Mill Pond Spring boat ramps. Go upriver 1-2 miles and look for mouth of spring run on the right (east bank).  Incomplete driving directions provided by former visitor who had not been to the site in several years:  From the flashing light in Luraville, drive north on State Road 51 about four miles and then turn left at the gas station onto County Road 252, also called Charles Spring Road or 152nd Street. Go almost four miles and the paved road will bend sharply to the left.   (Here the directions become less clear.)  "If the road parallel to the river that Charles is on kept going north, the overgrown two-rut road to Hidden would be on your left (heading north) about a mile before the road takes a 90 to the left toward the river.  Hidden is right off the river" (Mertz--e-mail communication, December 14, 2002).

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The authors have not been to this spring and so rely on a description provided by someone who formerly lived in the area and freqented the site:

    Hidden is right off the river with a "run" of maybe 6 feet (mostly just a dam built to hold in the spring water.)  It is maybe 20 feet wide and 30 feet across from river to woods.  The depth varies but it was almost always beautiful whenever we would visit it.  (Mertz--e-mail communication, December 14, 2002)
    Note:  This spring may also be called Flynn Spring.

    Use/Access
    From the Mertz e-mail communication:

    You used to be able to drive a small car or pickup back to it, but I think a big tree fell and now you have stop part way and walk the rest (December 14, 2002).
    Personal Impressions
    Again, from the information provided by a former visitor to the spring:
    Not worth diving or looking for "treasures," but a very nice place to feel special and secluded.  Once you find it, it seems like it has been hiding, waiting for you (Mertz--e-mail communication, December 14, 2002).
    The authors had heard of this spring.  They paddled along the east bank of the Suwannee River in early 2000 for 2.5 miles above Charles Spring but never saw it.  Mertz's description of a dam at Hidden may explain why the authors did not see the telltale break in the river berm that would have made the spring easy to spot.

    Nearby Springs


     
     

    Charles Spring
    Suwannee County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude
    Scenery'”excellent
    How Pristine?'”parking area, steps, and some cleared land around spring and run
    Swimming'”fair to good
    Protection'”excellent
    Crowds'”visited mostly on weekends
    Access'”very good
    Facilities'”boat ramp
    Safety'”very good
    Scuba'”no
    Cost'”free

    Directions
    From the flashing light in Luraville, drive north on State Road 51 about four miles and then turn left at the gas station onto County Road 252, also called Charles Spring Road (and 152nd Street). Go almost four miles and the paved road will bend sharply to the left. The sign will say Dowling Park. Instead of turning, go straight ahead on the dirt road, which will curve around left for 1.1 miles until you see a stop sign, seemingly out of place. Then you will cross another dirt road into the narrow entrance to Charles Spring. There is no sign.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    Charles Spring has two limestone bridges, creating two pools at its head and a shallow run of about 250 feet to the Suwannee. The pools can be green, blue, or clear depending on rain and light conditions and water levels. The spring vent appears to be under one of the limestone bridges, and the vent is not readily visible. The run is very clear and flows over and through gnarled cypress roots and over rocks where the run meets the river. At normal water levels, the run tumbles about four feet into the river. The run ranges from 40 feet wide near the limestone bridges to about 12 feet wide near the river and is from 1-4 feet deep. In times of drought, the run can dry up completely.

    When JF visited the spring in January 2004, he was struck by the large amounts of algae growing in the run; this algae has not historically been in the run in such profusion--nearly the entire run was covered in long green strips--and is the result of elevated levels of nitrate flowing from the spring.

    Use/Access


    Local Springiana
    Historical accounts suggest that the early Spanish Conquistadors crossed the Suwannee at this site, following an Indian trail. A Spanish mission, San Juan de Guacara, was built near the spring. In the 19th century, settlers (including Ruben Charles) built on the site and ran a ferry operation across the river. After Charles died in 1842, his wife ran the ferry for ten more years, until she was shot and killed on her front porch (Springs of the Suwannee, SRWMD, no date).

    Personal Impressions
    Charles is a very attractive if somewhat remote spring that makes for a great picnic, wading, and canoeing site.  The rising nitrate levels, which are common in all the springs in this region, are causing huge and disgusting amounts of algae growth that significantly (and for the forseeable future) mar and degrade the spring.

    Nearby Springs

    Contact Information
    Suwannee River Water Management District
    9225 CR49
    Live Oak, FL 32060
    800-226-1066
     
     



    Allen Mill Pond Spring
    Lafayette County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude
    Scenery'”outstanding
    How Pristine?'”very pristine; little evidence of past use as mill, campground, and homestead
    Swimming'”no
    Protection'”excellent
    Wildlife'”very good
    Crowds'”none
    Access'”good
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”good
    Scuba'”no
    Cost'”free

    Full Directions
    From Mayo, travel northwest on U.S. 27/SR 20 for 3-4 miles. Turn right onto Highway 251B and proceed about three miles to tract entrance. Turning right at the sign (also at the house of the tract caretaker) will lead down a dirt road to the lower end of the spring run. The spring is further north on 251B. Look for roped-off entrance on the right just after the paved road ends. Walk into the entrance, turn left, walk about 75 yards. Then at crossroad at small building, turn right onto trail. Then take the first left (after a sinkhole on the left) and walk down to the spring.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring lies in a low swampy karst area that is pockmarked with sinkholes and surface limestone. The area around the spring is wooded floodplain, with cypress and hardwood trees in abundance and dense vegetation in the summer. The first and main vent is at the head of the elongated pool and is a canoe-shaped opening in the limestone with a gentle boil. It is 4-6 feet deep, about 3 feet wide, and 9 feet long.

    The spring pool or first part of the run'”which ends in a 90-degree turn where there is a small dam that is the remnant of a 19th century corn mill'”is S-shaped and approximately 175 feet long. It is shallow and the water is clear. The run continues after the dam for about 1,000 yards to the Suwannee and is from 1-3 feet deep. The authors found a second vent near the head vent, but not three vents as described in Rosenau et al. (1977, p. 198).

    Use/Access

    Local Springiana Personal Impressions
    The site is lovely, wild, picturesque, and remote, making it a favorite of the authors in terms of its natural beauty.  It is best to visit in winter, for the lush terrain is wildly overgrown in summer.

    Nearby Springs

    Contact Information
    Suwannee River Water Management District
    9225 CR49
    Live Oak, FL 32060
    800-226-1066
     
     


    Thomas Spring
    Suwannee County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”3rd magnitude to no flow
    Scenery'”fine
    How Pristine?'”completely unspoiled
    Swimming'”no
    Protection'”private, unknown
    Crowds'”none
    Access'”private
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”N/A
    Scuba'”no
    Cost'”N/A

    Full Directions
    About 1 mile upriver from the boat landing at Lafayette Blue Spring or 1.5 miles downriver from the Allen Mill Pond or Charles Spring boat ramps on the east side of the Suwannee River. Look for a small break in the river berm just upriver from a brown house on stilts. In time of normal or high river levels, water would be flowing from the spring through the outlet. In times of drought, the spring and run do not flow.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring is in a circular depression that on the date of visit was much like an ancient, dry sinkhole in appearance, about 25 feet deep and perhaps 70 feet across at the top. The vent is about 60 feet from the water and the cut through the natural river berm opens directly into the spring depression. When visited by the authors in winter 2000, the spring and its run were completely dry and had been for several months as evidenced by leaf build-up on the ground. A hole in the center of the depression contained perhaps of gallon of visible water as well as some trash.

    Use/Access
    On private property although not signposted. No apparent use.

    Personal Impressions
    The authors had wanted to see Thomas for several years and had visited nearly every spring around it. Discovering that weather conditions had rendered Thomas a dry crater was, to put it mildly, something of a letdown. They had been paddling for hours and endured a soaking from a sudden thundershower. They stoutly declared afterwards, however, that a bad spring day was better than a good day doing almost anything else!

    Nearby Springs


     

    Lafayette Blue Spring
    Lafayette County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”1st magnitude
    Scenery'”fine
    How Pristine?'”developed swim/recreation/camping area; steps to spring; beach areas
    Swimming'”fine
    Protection'”very good
    Crowds'”heavy on summer weekends
    Access'”fine
    Facilities'”very good
    Safety'”good
    Scuba'”yes
    Cost'”$1 per person

    Directions
    From Mayo, travel northwest on U.S. 27/SR 20 for 3-4 miles. Turn right onto Highway 251B (look for sign for the spring), go about two miles, and then turn right (east) at the sign for Blue Springs. Follow dirt road to the entrance.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    Separating the spring pool and its run is a natural limestone bridge that you can walk over (unless the river is high) or swim under. The bridge is about 30 feet across and 12 feet wide. The water is clear but has a greenish tint most of the time and is canopied, making it difficult to see to the bottom of the 35-foot pool. The pool has sheer limestone walls. Upwelling water is evident in the main pool, which is oval and about 45 by 80 feet. The run on the other side of the limestone bridge is about 75 feet and cascades into the Suwannee with a steady roar. Despite the stairs leading to the spring, the area is heavily eroded from human use.

    The spring itself is surrounded on three sides with steep bluffs with a wooden stairway on two sides. Nearby are two large spring-sinks or karst windows, Yana and Snake. Just as you enter the park, turn to the right and walk through the opening in the fence to a long and narrow spring-sink that bends at a 90-degree angle. This is Snake Sink. A path leads around it to Yana Sink, which is more oval-shaped. Both are similar to Blue Spring in appearance, as they are countersunk from the surrounding surface about 25 feet and have steep sides. Several smaller sinks are nearby. A tunnel connects Yana and Snake. Both sinks also have rope swings. It is clear that water flows from Yana to Snake and thence to Blue.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    A very interesting site that is accessible but which is best to visit on weekdays or in the winter to avoid the crowds.

    Nearby Springs

    Contact Information
    Blue Springs County Park
    Mayo, FL
    904-294-1617
     
     

    Perry Spring
    Lafayette County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude
    Scenery'”fair-good
    How Pristine?'”sandbag wall and bars separate pool and river; land partially cleared behind spring
    Swimming'”fair'”water often shallow
    Protection'”unknown
    Crowds'”none
    Access'”good to spring'”canoe only; access into spring blocked
    Facilities'”none

    Quick Directions
    One mile upriver of Highway 51 bridge on south side of Suwannee River.

    Full Directions
    From intersection of U.S. 27 and State Road 51 in Mayo, drive north on SR 51 for 3 miles to suspension bridge over Suwannee River.  Turn right (east) into public park at the bridge, which has a boat ramp.  Paddle upriver about 1 mile to spring on the left (south) side of the river.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring is adjacent to the Suwannee River and forms a roughly oval pool along its bank.  One date of visit (Feb. 2002'”a time of low water conditions), the pool was about 35 by 50 feet in diameter.  Water appeared to flow from the base of two low (2-3 foot) limestone ledges at the back (SE and SW) ends of the pool.  The depth of the pool was generally about 1 foot, and perhaps 2 feet deep at the flow points.  The water was clear and had a greenish tint.  The bottom of the pool was sandy, with some algae present.  Rising river levels would flood the spring basin.

    The pool has no run, but opens (or once opened) directly into the Suwannee River.  The owner of the land around the spring constructed a sandbag wall separating the spring from the river.  At its highest, there are 7 rows of hardened sandbags, and the wall is about 5 feet high.  In the center of the wall is an opening (about 4x4x4 feet) to allow water out, but with several iron bars to prevent canoe access.  Land slopes or rolls up around the spring on three sides to heights of up to 15 feet, and the land is cleared of undergrowth.

    Use/Access

    Local Springiana
    The blockage of access to the spring pool appears to be illegal.

    Personal Impressions
    The spring and pool are moderately attractive.  The sandbag wall and grate are more than an affront to public access; they are singularly ugly and a scar on the spring.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Suwannee River State Park
    LAF924971 Spring
    Lafayette County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude
    Scenery'”Excellent
    How Pristine?'”Very natural state
    Swimming'”very confined swimming, snorkeling, and wading
    Protection'”unknown
    Crowds'”small to none
    Access'”very good, boat only
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”very good
    Scuba'”no
    Cost'”free

    Quick Directions
    ¼ mile downriver of Highway 51 bridge, on the east side of the Suwannee River.

    Full Directions
    From intersection of U.S. 27 and State Road 51 in Mayo, drive north on SR 51 for 3 miles to suspension bridge over Suwannee River.  Turn right (east) into public park at the bridge, which has a boat ramp.  Paddle downriver about ¼ to spring on the right (east) side of the river. (Looking back upriver from the spring, the boat ramp and edge of the highway are visible, but not the bridge structure.)

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring flows from a small cave under a limestone arch at the vertical bank/edge of the Suwannee River.  The arch/cave opening is about 12 feet wide and extended 2.5 feet above the water on date of visit in Feb. 2002.  Within the cave, there is a circular hole (about 6' by 5' wide) and an additional 3'™ deep, sloping to the flow point on the right side as one looks into the cave.  Water flowing from the spring is clear, in contrast to the darker water in the adjacent river.  The bottom was sandy and rocky, and there were algae and other plants at the edge of the spring where it meets the river.  Rocks appear to have been placed at the edge of the spring, perhaps to mark the spot, serve as seats, or to reduce river intrusion into the spring.

    The limestone bank rises vertically from the spring to the top of the natural levee at height of about 15 feet.  The area around the spring has a lot of exposed limestone.  Land above the spring is forested, and the spring is within sight of houses on both its left and right flanks.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    The spring is very attractive and unique in its composition'”a little cave wading pool under the limestone ledge on the riverbank.

    Nearby Springs

     Other Nearby Natural Features
    Suwannee River State Park
     
     

    Telford Spring
    Suwannee County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude
    Scenery'”good
    How Pristine?'”grossly eroded; parking area above spring
    Swimming'”very good
    Protection'”poor
    Wildlife'”unknown
    Crowds'”very heavy on weekends and during summer
    Access'”good
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”fair to good
    Scuba'”yes
    Cost'”free

    Quick Directions
    Coming from Mayo to Luraville, turn right at caution light. Take first right on dirt road about 1 mile to the spring on the right.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Full Directions
    From Mayo, drive north on State Road 51. After about 4 miles, you will cross the Suwannee River. The flashing light at Luraville is another 1-1.5 miles north, just past the agriculture weigh station. There is a country store on the left at the flashing light. Turn right at the light onto Luraville Road, then take the first right onto a somewhat bumpy sand road and proceed to the spring. Just before you reach the river, the road forks. The left fork goes to a boat ramp; the right fork to the spring.

    Spring Description
    The spring is set in a large depression about 120 feet from the Suwannee River and flows directly into the river. The spring is shaped like a lumpy, bent exclamation mark, with a circular opening in the limestone (5-6 feet in diameter'”the exclamation point) at the back (NW) end, a small limestone bridge, and the run below to the river. Water flows from a cave beneath the limestone bridge, and the boil is visible on both sides of the bridge. The cave entrance is about 18 feet deep and is popular with divers.

    The run is 20-30 feet wide and tapers rapidly from 15 feet deep near the limestone bridge to about one foot deep at the mouth of the run. Water is clear and the bottom is sandy with areas of exposed limestone. Small fish are visible in the deeper part of the pool. The area immediately surrounding the spring is heavily eroded and sandy. Sinkholes are nearby, and the area is framed by heavy forest and karst terrain.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    The authors are divided about Telford. JF mourns the damage to the site, while RB notes (correctly) that Telford is still a lovely spring and swimming hole despite the human toll is has suffered.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
     
     

    Hidden Spring
    Suwannee County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”unknown
    Scenery'”fine
    How Pristine?'”very pristine
    Swimming'”fair
    Protection'”very good
    Crowds'”none
    Access'”boat only
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”fair to poor
    Scuba'”unknown
    Cost'”free

    Quick Directions
    Just upriver from Telford on opposite side of Suwannee in the river itself.

    Full Directions
    From Mayo, drive north on State Road 51. After about 4 miles, you will reach the Suwannee River. On the right just before the bridge is a county park with a boat launch. Put in and go a couple of hundred yards upriver and look for the spring upwelling on the right side in the river at times of low water.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The authors have been within a few yards of the spring but have not actually seen it. In winter 2000, a local resident told them of the spring and described it as being a short distance upriver from Telford, in the river, on the opposite side of Telford. The river bends in this area, meaning Telford is actually on the west side of the river and Hidden Spring on the east side. The spring is apparently a boil near the limestone edge/bank of the river and is only visible when the river is below normal. It is not described in any literature the authors have found.

    Use/Access
    The authors attempted to reach the spring via a rough path along the river, but encountered both sheer limestone and private property and gave up. They might have canoed up from the county park, but were worn out from earlier paddling.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
     
     

    Luraville Springs
    Suwannee County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”4th magnitude
    Scenery'”very good
    How Pristine?'”completely unspoiled
    Swimming'”no
    Protection'”private
    Crowds'”none
    Access'”private
    Facilities'”none
    Scuba'”yes

    Quick Directions
    In the woods almost directly behind the dive shop in Luraville.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Full Directions
    From Mayo, drive north on State Road 51. After about 4 miles, you will cross the Suwannee River. The flashing light at Luraville is another 1-1.5 miles north, just past the agriculture weigh station. There is a country store on the left at the flashing light. Turn right at the light onto Luraville Road and drive to the dive shop about ¼ mile on the right. The springs are on private property to the right and behind the dive shop. They are about 200 yards back or about 0.2 miles southeast of the junction of CR51 and Luraville Road.

    Spring Description
    The springs lie in a heavily forested area of secondary growth and flood plain.  The two springs are similar in appearance and consist of depressions of 10-15 deep at the bottom of limestone outcrops/overhangs of similar dimensions.  On the date of visit, neither spring was flowing, although both had small (a few feet in diameter) dark-water pools.  They looked like mud-holes. According to Rosenau et al. (1977, p. 371), the springs feed Irvine Slough when flowing.  The slough flows approximately 2 miles SE to the Suwannee River (p. 358).

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    Worth seeing only to be able to check the springs off on our list and know we had been able to see the eponymous springs of Luraville.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Scan map on p. 358 of Springs of Florida
     
     

    Pump, Baptizing, and Walker Springs
    Suwannee County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”4th magnitude/no flow
    Scenery'”very good
    How Pristine?'”unspoiled
    Swimming'”no
    Protection'”unknown
    Crowds'”none
    Access'”very difficult, private property
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”fair to poor
    Scuba'”no
    Cost'”free

    Quick Directions
    Three springs in the woods north of Luraville Road near the entrance to the Peacock Springs State Recreation Area.

    Full Directions
    From Mayo, drive north on State Road 51. After about 4 miles, you will cross the Suwannee River. The flashing light at Luraville is another 1-1.5 miles north, just past the agriculture weigh station. There is a country store on the left at the flashing light. Turn right at the light onto Luraville Road. Springs are 0.5-1 miles north of this road 2-3 miles east of the flashing light across the road from the entrance to the Peacock Springs State Recreation Area. See map above and good luck locating them.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    Rosenau et al. (1977, p. 356-7, 373, 380) visited the springs and characterized them as overgrown mud holes with no apparent flow.  Their water was black, and two of them were covered with aquatic vegetation.  They are deep in the woods and well off the paved Luraville Road.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    The springs are not high on the authors'™ priority list of sites yet to see. At the same time, their general location is identified fairly well in Rosenau et al., and finding them would be a coup for the intrepid spring hunter.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
     

    Bonnet Spring
    Suwannee County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd or 3rd magnitude
    Scenery'”fine
    How Pristine?'”unspoiled
    Swimming'”not recommended
    Protection'”excellent
    Wildlife'”excellent
    Crowds'”very small
    Access'”fair to good
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”fair to good
    Scuba'”yes
    Cost'”free

    Quick Directions
    In the west end of the Peacock Springs State Recreation Area about 1,000 feet from Luraville Road.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Full Directions
    From Mayo, drive north on State Road 51. After about 4 miles, you will cross the Suwannee River. The flashing light at Luraville is another 1-1.5 miles north, just past the agriculture weigh station. There is a country store on the left at the flashing light. Turn right at the light onto Luraville Road. Drive about 1.8 miles and look for State Recreation Area Boundary marker and gate on the right. Park, climb gate, and walk about 0.2 miles south to the spring.

    Spring Description
    The land drops abruptly away from the path and down about 15 feet to the spring and its pool. The spring is in an area of deep hardwood forest and cypress trees. The pool is about 75 feet wide and 150 long before tapering into its run and slough. There is exposed limestone in the spring pool. The spring forms the headwaters of Peacock Slough, which runs about 0.2 miles before joining with the flow from Peacock, and then flows through swamp to the Suwannee River about 1.5 miles to the south. On the dates of visit, the water in the spring was very brown. According to Rosenau et al (1977, p. 357-8), the pool is up to 30 feet deep at the vent and about 4 feet deep otherwise. Several alligators were in the pool on the dates RB and JF visited, and herons were observed.

    Use/Access

    Nearby Springs Other Nearby Natural Features Contact Information:
    Peacock Springs SRA
    c/o Ichetucknee Springs State Park
    904-776-2194
     
     


    Peacock Spring
    Suwannee County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude
    Scenery'”fine to excellent
    How Pristine?'”steps to spring, parking area, cleared land on one side
    Swimming'”fair to good
    Protection'”excellent
    Wildlife'”very good
    Crowds'”many scuba divers
    Access'”very good
    Facilities'”good
    Safety'”good
    Scuba'”yes
    Cost'”$2 per car for visit or swim; more for scuba

    Quick Directions
    2 miles east on Luraville Road from flashing light in Luraville on right.

    Full Directions
    From Mayo, drive north on State Road 51. After about 4 miles, you will cross the Suwannee River. The flashing light at Luraville is another 1-1.5 miles north, just past the agriculture weigh station. There is a country store on the left at the flashing light. Turn right at the light onto Luraville Road and drive about 2 miles to the Peacock State Recreation Area entrance on the right. Follow dirt road to the spring.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    Water flows up from an extensive cavern system to form a pool about 60 feet wide that flows into Peacock Slough. The northern and western sides of the pool are edged with limestone walls and the spring vent/cavern opening is directly below the edge/wall. Large limestones lie in the middle of the pool and are exposed in times of average and low water levels. Under various seasons and rain conditions, the pool surface can be either clear of aquatic vegetation or covered. Similar variations may be observed in water clarity and color; in times of dry weather and good sunlight the water can be brilliantly blue and even iridescent (hence the spring'™s name). In such conditions, the bottom is clearly visible 25 feet down. At other times, the water may be green and with limited visibility. A boil is evident at the northwest edge of the pool.

    Peacock Spring is adjacent to Orange Grove Spring, and Rosenau et al. (1977, p. 372) seem to describe the two spring pools as one large (300-foot-wide) spring. There are large limestone boulders between the springs. The flow from the two springs is joined by that from Bonnet Spring about 1,000 feet to the west, and the combined slough flows another 1.5 miles through swamp to the Suwannee River.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    The site is dominated by divers, but is worth a visit to see the springs, sinks, swampy area, and dense woodlands in an area that is otherwise farmland and tree farm.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Challenge Sink

    Contact Information:
    Peacock Springs SRA
    c/o Ichetucknee Springs State Park
    904-776-2194
     
     



    Orange Grove Spring/Sink
    Suwannee County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”unknown
    Scenery'”fine
    How Pristine?'”parking area nearby, cleared land nearby
    Swimming'”poor to excellent
    Protection'”excellent
    Crowds'”few
    Access'”fine
    Facilities'”good
    Safety'”very good
    Scuba'”yes
    Cost'”$2 per car

    Quick Directions
    2 miles east on Luraville Road from flashing light in Luraville on right.

    Full Directions
    From Mayo, drive north on State Road 51. After about 4 miles, you will cross the Suwannee River. The flashing light at Luraville is another 1-1.5 miles north, just past the agriculture weigh station. There is a country store on the left at the flashing light. Turn right at the light onto Luraville Road and drive about 2 miles to the Peacock State Recreation Area entrance on the right. Follow dirt road to the spring adjacent to Peacock Spring.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring is adjacent to Peacock Spring and approximately varies in size, depending on walter level conditions.  When visited by JF and RB in the mid-19902, the pool was up to 100 by 150 feet in diameter.  Large limestone boulders line the edges of the northern side of the pool, and the spring is set in an area of dense forest and swampland to the south and west.  On the times the authors have visited, the pool was completely covered with duckweed.  Algae cover the limestone under certain seasonal and rain conditions, and no vent is visible.

    When visited in 2002, the spring looked very different.  At that time, water levels were very low, the site was not flowing, and the surface was covered with duckweed.  However, bubbles from divers had pushed away the duckweed, revealing a deep blue pool with a sandy and rocky bottom.  The cavern entrance appeared to be in the corner across from and to the left of the stairs at the bottom of a vertical limestone wall.  The pool was about 40 feet in diameter and appeared to be at least 20 feet deep.

    Rosenau et al. (1977, p. 372) seem to describe the Orange Grove and adjacent Peacock Springs as one large (300-foot-wide) spring.   However, the springs appear to be much further apart than 300 feet.  There are large limestone boulders between the springs. The flow from the two springs is joined by that from Bonnet Spring about 1,000 feet to the west, and the combined slough flows another 1.5 miles through swamp to the Suwannee River.

    Because the site only flows under heavy rainfall conditions, it is now characterized as a sinkhole and not as a spring.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    The authors were struck at how different the spring/sink looked on their most recent visit.  It was very inviting and not the green and algae-covered muck-hole that it had appeared to be in the past.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Challenge Sink

    Contact Information:
    Peacock Springs SRA
    c/o Ichetucknee Springs State Park
    904-776-2194
     
     


    Cow Spring
    Suwannee County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude
    Scenery'”fine
    How Pristine?'”unspoiled; parking area above spring
    Swimming'”fair to good
    Protection'”excellent
    Crowds'”small to none
    Access'”good
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”good
    Scuba'”yes
    Cost'”free

    Directions
    From Mayo, drive north on State Road 51. After about 4 miles, you will cross the Suwannee River. The flashing light at Luraville is another 1-1.5 miles north, just past the agriculture weigh station. There is a country store on the left at the flashing light. Turn right at the light onto Luraville Road and drive about 3.5 miles. At intersection with church on the left, turn right (south) and go about 1.2 miles. There will be a sand road on the left that leads 200 yards to the spring.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring pool is in a steep depression set in heavy forest and floodplain. The pool is oval, about 25 by 35 feet and framed by large limestone boulders. The pool is open to the south where the spring run flows several hundred feet to the Suwannee through dense foliage. The water is very clear and blue on sunny days. There is duckweed on parts of the surface. The pool is approximately 25 feet deep and leads to a large cave opening that is linked with the Peacock underwater cavern system. A boil is visible on the surface. There is a large fallen tree trunk in the spring as well as large boulders and small fish.

    Use/Access

    Local Springiana Personal Impressions
    Cow is a lovely spring that has a very remote feel to it. A weekday visitor would likely have the site to him- or herself.

    Nearby Springs


     

    Running Springs #1 and #2
    Suwannee County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude
    Scenery'”formerly excellent
    How Pristine?'”house and septic system adjacent to spring
    Swimming'”very good, superb snorkeling
    Protection'”unknown
    Access'”none, private

    Directions
    From Mayo, drive north on State Road 51. After about 4 miles, you will cross the Suwannee River. The flashing light at Luraville is another 1-1.5 miles north, just past the agriculture weigh station. There is a country store on the left at the flashing light. Turn right at the light onto Luraville Road and drive about 3.5 miles. At intersection with church on the left, turn right (south) and go to the end of the road near the river about 1.3 miles. Instead of turning left or right, look for sand drive straight ahead and proceed 150 feet to bluff over springs.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    Spring #1 is the larger spring and is downriver or east of spring #2. Spring #1 is a roughly circular pool with a limestone wall and large fallen tree between the spring and the immediately adjacent Suwannee River. The spring is set in a steep depression below the natural river berm about 50 feet from the river and about 18 feet below the crest of the berm. The pool is approximately 50 by 30 feet and has a multitude of vents, sand boils, and other flow points along the northern bank and on the bottom. Green algae grows in the pool, but the bottom is mostly sandy or exposed limestone. The water is very clear. Some of the water flows under a limestone bridge to the river, but most of the flow appears to exit the pool under the fallen tree to tumble into the Suwannee in a small and attractive cascade. In times of high water, the river inundates the spring. In times of low water, the cascade is larger.

    Spring #2 is 150 feet upriver or west of spring #1. In contrast to Spring #1, it is set back approximately 150 from the river and its run forms scenic glen. The main vent is at the back end of the run and is calm upwelling of clear water from the base of a steep, 20-foot limestone and sand bluff. The small entrance extends down several feet and is perhaps large enough for a person to fit into. The run is 10-20 feet wide, shallow and creek-like, with stones along its course. There is another vent on the west side about 2/3 of the way to the river. Rosenau et al. (1977, p. 375) mention three vents. Flow is very clear, and the back vent is blue in the sunlight. At the end of the run, the spring flows under a natural bridge into the Suwannee River.

    Use/Access
    For several years, the undeveloped land adjacent to the springs has been owned by a private owner and the University of Florida Foundation. There had been relatively free access to the site, and there was some damage from erosion and some litter on the site. The private owner empowered the Foundation to negotiate the sale of the land. The land immediately on the springs was platted, divided into lots, and appraised for development. The Foundation approached both the Suwannee River Water Management District and the CARL program and suggested they purchase the entire mile of riverfront that was available. In 1995 or 1996, the Suwannee River Water Management made an offer of approximately $35,000 for the seven lots on the springs. The offer was based on the conservation of the land and not on its developed value. Because the land had been divided into lots and appraised for development, however, UF said it could not accept such a low figure. Both UF and the private owner expressed a desire to conserve the site and accept a rate lower than the appraised rate (up to $45,000 per lot). The latest information (9/22/00) is that the land is sold. When JF contacted Bruce DeLaney at the UF Foundation and asked about the disposition of the parcel, this was Mr. Delaney'™s response:

    Dear Mr. Follman:

    We contracted to sell the property to a private individual for something like 400% more than the state offer. This individual has spent the last six months fencing the property and trying to eliminate harmful trespassing that was degrading the site. He will most likely build a single house. While not in public hands, we think this will help preserve the site.

    Because neither spring has a navigable run to the Suwannee River, the fencing of the property has the effect of preventing future public access to Running Springs. It is not clear from Mr. DeLaney's response if all or some of the 7 lots on the spring were included in the sale, or if additional riverfront land was included. Running Spring #1 (the upriver spring) is visible from the Suwannee so can still at least be seen from a canoe/boat on the river. Running #2 can only be seen from the land. With so many of Florida's springs now being protected, it is regrettable that Running did not make it. Running #1 is one of the most attractive spring pools in Florida. In my conversations with Mr. DeLaney, he expressed a genuine desire to have the land conserved. However, he noted that his "fiduciary responsibilities as the steward of real estate gifts made for the benefit of the University of Florida" forced him to reject the state'™s offer. Charlie Houder, at the SRWMD, said Running was not high enough on land acquisition priority list to justify a larger offer. They and Betsy Donley at the Nature Conservancy Tallahassee office all said that public voice and action could create pressure to make a deal, but JF was not able (perhaps capable is more accurate) to more than make several calls to each of them as well as to then state Rep. Marjorie Turnbull (whose father was formerly president of UF).  Alas.  The story of Running Springs is a sad but instructive tale in the economics and politics of springs conservation.  It also suggests the important roles that public voice and action might play. Personal Impressions
    Snorkeling in spring #1 is an almost rapturous experience, as water seems to be flowing from everywhere and the pool is "alive" with movement and the play of light on the water. These two sheltered spring pools are exceptionally beautiful in a region with many attractive springs.

    Nearby Springs


     
     

    Convict Spring
    Lafayette County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”3rd magnitude
    Scenery'”good
    How Pristine?'”retaining wall, developed recreation/swimming/camping area, cleared land
    Swimming'”good
    Protection'”fine
    Crowds'”crowded on warm summer weekends
    Access'”fine
    Facilities'”excellent
    Safety'”fine
    Scuba'”yes
    Cost'”$1 per person; more for scuba

    Directions
    From Mayo, drive east on U.S. 27 about four miles to Convict Springs Road. The road is marked by a unique sign'“a small blue "house" with a canoe on top and an American Flag. Across from it, Airline Baptist Church with a sign proclaiming "Jesus Saves." Turn left and go 1.5 miles until the road bends to the left. Go straight ahead instead, where the road turns to dirt. Signs point to Jim Hollis' River Rendezvous, about ½ mile down the road. The turnoff is marked by a large sign for Jim Hollis'™ River Rendezvous.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The small spring is set in a depression just behind the natural river levee for the Suwannee River about 50 feet from the river. The spring is framed by a three-tiered concrete wall and is in the shape of a teardrop. The pool is 50 feet long and tapers from 20 feet wide above the vent at the north end to about 6 feet wide where the pool forms its short run to the river. The greatest depth is about 18 feet near the vent which forms a cavern passageway. The run is only a few inches deep and cuts through the levee among cypress knees to the river. Water in the spring is clear but a little dark, and fish may be seen in the spring. Cypress trees and live oaks are common in the rolling landscape between farmland and the river.

    Use/Access
    Called Jim Hollis'™ River Rendezvous, the area around Convict Spring is a sort of rustic resort, campground, dive shop, and river excursion center. Among the odd mix of features, the site offers a trampoline, picnicking, a shooting range, boat trips, canoe rentals, shuttles to dive sites, restaurant, air for dive tanks, a great rope swing over the river, and a couple of cabins on the levee that may be rented.

    Local Springiana

    Personal Impressions
    While the spring is quite small and offers little in the way of swimming, or observation, there is a lot to do at this curious site. In addition, it is a good jumping-off point for other spring and river exploration in the area.

    Nearby Springs

    Contact Information
    Jim Hollis'™ River Rendezvous
    Mayo, Fla.
    800-533-5276
     
     



    Bathtub Spring
    Suwannee County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude (estimated)
    Scenery'”fine
    How Pristine?'”sandbag wall at end of run; otherwise fairly pristine
    Swimming'”outstanding wading
    Protection'”unknown
    Access'”private

    Quick Directions
    Put in at Convict Springs and head upriver about ¼ mile.  Spring is on the opposite (NE) side.

    Full Directions
    From Mayo, drive east on U.S. 27 about four miles to Convict Springs Road.  The turnoff is marked by a large sign for Jim Hollis'™ River Rendezvous.  Turn left (north) and drive about 2 miles to Convict.  Put in at Convict Springs and head upriver about ¼ mile.  Spring is on the opposite (NE) side. Look for sandbag culvert where the spring run meets the river.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring lies in a small glen that cuts through the natural river levee and is surrounded by somewhat steep sand berms. The upland area is partly cleared and fairly open and flat. The spring pool is circular, 10 feet in diameter, and set among large exposed limestone boulders and formations. The water in the small pool is 4-5 feet deep, and there is a clear boil and flow from a vent in the back (north) end. There is a short (6-10 feet) and narrow tunnel between limestone walls that may be free-dived.

    A subterranean passage leads from the back of the spring to a pot-hole-size opening another 35 feet north. Another 75 feet further back (north) is a sinkhole that was filled with timbers on the authors'™ dates of visit. It is likely connected to the spring. The water in the spring is exceptionally clear and bright blue at normal water levels. The spring run is approximately 75 feet to the river, 1-2 feet deep, scattered with limestone, and has another vent in muddy sand near the river on the west side. Sandbags and concrete blocks form an unsightly barrier between the run and the river.

    Use/Access
    The site is privately owned and a fence and gate block land access. It can only be reached by boat'”see comments below.

    Local Springiana

    Personal Impressions
    Bathtub is as pretty as any small spring the authors have ever seen.

    Nearby Springs


     
     

    Oak Spring
    County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”
    Scenery'”
    How Pristine?'”
    Swimming'”
    Protection'”
    Wildlife'”
    Crowds'”
    Access'”
    Facilities'”
    Safety'”
    Scuba'”
    Cost'”

    Directions

    Spring Description
    The authors have not yet visited this spring.

    Use/Access

    Local Springiana

    Personal Impressions

    Nearby Springs

    Royal Spring
    Suwannee County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude (estimated)
    Scenery'”very good
    How Pristine?'”developed swimming/recreation area; steps, paths, parking area, boat ramp nearby
    Swimming'”fine
    Protection'”good
    Crowds'”very heavy on warm weekends
    Access'”precise directions necessary
    Facilities'”fair
    Safety'”good
    Scuba'”yes
    Cost'”free

    Directions
    From the U.S. 27 bridge over the Suwannee River at Branford, head north on U.S. 129 for about 5½ miles, past the sign pointing to Little River Spring, until you reach the small community of O'Brien. A sign says "Royal Spring." (This is the last sign you will see with the word "Royal" on it.) Turn left on County Road 345 and go about 9 miles. If you see a Suwannee Farms sign on the right, you have gone too far. On your left you will see a graded road, 198 Trail (or Terrace), with a small yellow sign bearing a symbol that indicates a boat ramp. Go about 0.6 mile and turn left on 157th Lane. Go about 1/5th mile and you will dead-end into the park and boat ramp at the spring.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    Royal Spring is countersunk to the surrounding landscape and has steep limestone and dirt walls on the north and east sides. The spring forms a large and attractive basin that is about 125 by 175 feet in diameter. In times of normal or low water levels, limestone is exposed at the surface and the water is blue and clear (although not as clear as many other springs). At other times, the water can be greenish with poor visibility. Water flows from a large cave entrance, approximately 50 feet deep at the base of sheer limestone wall on the east side of the spring. The bottom tapers upward from the cave entrance to the run.

    The 200-foot run flows from the spring to the SW and discharges into the Suwannee River. When the river is low, water does not flow through the run to the river, but collects in small pools among the rocks. A wooden stairway leads down to flat rocks that stick up above the surface of the water. On the east side of the spring, the ruins of steep concrete retaining walls seem on the verge of falling into the water. The area around the spring is forested.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    Worth the drive and searching to find, Royal is best visited on quiet days. It may be used as a jumping-off point for visiting nearby Suwannee Blue Spring which is just downriver on the same bank.

    Nearby Springs

    Contact Information
    Suwannee River Water Management District
    9225 CR49
    Live Oak, FL 32060
    800-226-1066
     
     



    Suwannee Blue Spring
    Suwannee County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude (estimated)
    Scenery'”outstanding
    How Pristine?'”very pristine
    Swimming'”no
    Protection'”unknown/private
    Crowds'”none
    Access'”water only, private land
    Facilities'”none
    Scuba'”unknown

    Directions
    From the U.S. 27 bridge over the Suwannee River at Branford, head north on U.S. 129 for about 5½ miles, past the sign pointing to Little River Spring, until you reach the small community of O'Brien. A sign says "Royal Spring." That is the last sign you will see with the word "Royal" on it. Turn left on County Road 345 and go about 9 miles. If you see a Suwannee Farms sign on the right, you have gone too far. On your left you will see a graded road, 198 Trail (or Terrace), with a small yellow sign bearing a symbol that indicates a boat ramp. Go about 0.6 mile and turn left on 157th Lane. Go about 1/5th mile and you will dead-end into the park and boat ramp at the spring. Put in boat at Royal Spring, go downriver, and look for mouth of Suwannee Blue Springs run by a boulder on the left near the shore after about ¼ mile.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The features of this site are two springs/sink holes/karst windows and a spring pool that flows directly into the Suwannee River. The first spring/sinkhole/karst window is perhaps 250 feet back/east from the river. It is a steep-sided conical hole with a large trunk fallen across it. On the date of visit (spring 1998), the rim of the hole was perhaps 20 feet above the surface of the very clear blue water. The water was flowing both upward'”like a spring boil'”and west toward the next (lower) hole. The second and smaller spring/sinkhole/karst window was perhaps 65 feet below and SW of the first, down the natural slope of the land. It was similar in appearance to the first hole. Both holes had very clear blue water. Below the second hole, water rose again in an area of thick vegetation to form a shallow spring pool that was perhaps 25 feet across and 100-150 feet from the river. The pool was clear and very blue, and the bottom was sandy.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    The authors were amazed at this beautiful and remote geological/hydrological site that combined sinks, springs, karst windows, and a picturesque pool. The spring is a stunning sight. It seemed apparent that water rose into the first hole, then flowed to the second hole, and then to the spring pool and run to the Suwannee. How and why the plumbing worked and was formed in this way was beyond the faculties of the authors. Perhaps the two holes were sinkholes that opened above the site of the spring pool along the underground flow channel to the spring.

    Nearby Springs


     

    C.  Suwannee River Springs Near Branford

    This relatively small grouping of spring lies along an approximately 10-mile stretch of the Suwannee River. This stretch of the river is popular with motorboats and can be very busy and noisy on warm weekends. Natural levees up to 30 feet high line the banks, and houses spot the banks. The width of the river in this section ranges from 150 to over 300 feet. All but two of the springs described below are upriver (NW) of the small town of Branford. Because of its nearness to these and other springs, Branford has become something of a diving mecca. Within this group, two springs (Troy and Little River) are major scuba sites. The springs described below range from small to large, from swampy to wide open, and from easy to spot to nearly impossible to find. Little River Spring, just above Branford, is one of Florida'™s most attractive springs'”it is also one of the more heavily used springs and is being degraded by use. Troy Spring is one of the most famous. Owens Spring has been reclassified as a karst window.
     
     

    Owens Spring
    Lafayette County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude
    Scenery'”excellent
    How Pristine?'”relatively unspoiled; former swim area with small beach
    Swimming'”private
    Protection'”unknown/private
    Access'”none

    Directions
    From Mayo, drive east and south on U.S. 27 about five miles. Turn left onto CR 251 and go about two miles to where it dead-ends at a boat ramp on the Suwannee River.  The spring run enters the river from underground just upriver on the left side.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    According to Rosenau et al. (1977, p. 206) and Hornsby & Ceryak (1998, p. 85), Owens Spring is a spring-sink combination or karst window. Rising water forms a spring pool of about 70 feet in diameter and 2-8 feet deep except over the vent, which is up to 40 feet deep. Water is bluish and clear. A 60-foot-wide run exits the spring and flows toward the Suwannee River for about 300 feet before going back underground. Water may be seen from potholes between the sink and the river, and there is supposedly a vent in the river where the water flows under the levee. In times of high flow, the spring will flow overland all the way to the Suwannee River.

    Use/Access
    None'”the spring is on private property.

    Local Springiana
    In previous years, locals used the site as a swimming hole.

    Personal Impressions
    The authors are itching to see this spring, but have not secured permission from the landowner.

    Nearby Springs
    Suwannee Blue Spring, Royal Spring, Bathtub Spring, Convict Spring, Mearson Spring, Troy Spring, Ruth Spring, Little River Spring, Sulfur Spring, Shingle Spring, Branford Spring, Cow Spring, Running Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Suwannee River State Park
    Itchetucknee River State Park
     
     




    Mearson Spring
    Lafayette County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude
    Scenery'”excellent
    How Pristine?'”unspoiled; steps to spring
    Swimming'”very good, excellent snorkeling
    Protection'”unknown/private
    Crowds'”some on warm weekends
    Access'”very good, boat only, make no landfall
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”good
    Scuba'”yes
    Cost'”free

    Directions
    From Mayo, drive east and south on U.S. 27 about five miles. Turn left onto CR 251 and go about two miles to where it dead-ends at a boat ramp on the Suwannee River. The spring is on the right bank ½-1 mile downstream.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring is on the riverbank and forms a semicircular pool about 50 feet in diameter. Water in the spring is clear and blue except in times of high river flows. On dates of visit in 1997 and 1998, the spring had 2-3 powerful boils from large limestone openings beneath the surface. The depth in the pool was only a few feet except over the vents, at which it was about 15 feet deep. The spring is against the bank, which rises up 20-25 feet around it, framing the pool.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    The spring'™s powerful flow keeps the water clear and blue even when the adjoining Suwannee River is higher than normal. On a visit in 1997, when the Suwannee River was about 6 feet above normal, the vent over the spring was still clear and blue.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features

    Suwannee River State Park
    Itchetucknee River State Park
     
     


    Troy Spring
    Lafayette County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”1st magnitude
    Scenery'”excellent
    How Pristine?'”houses and cleared land near spring
    Swimming'”outstanding
    Protection'”fine
    Crowds'”small
    Access'”fine by car, good by canoe/kayak
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”fine
    Scuba'”yes
    Cost'”free

    Directions
    Troy Springs is located 6 miles NW of Branford and 13 miles southeast of Mayo off US Hwy 27 and County Road 425. Look for and follow signs to the park.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    Troy Spring forms a large oval pool about 100 feet wide and 200 feet long. Water flows from the bottom of a dramatic limestone wall near the back of the pool at a depth of 75 feet. The spring flows from a cave system. The wall is nearly vertical and parallel to the river. The spring run beyond the limestone shelf is 5-10 feet deep in times of normal river heights. Besides the main spring, there is another small vent in the run on the downstream side near a dock. Limestone boulders are visible when the water is clear.

    At the lower end of the run lie the keel timbers/ribs of the 19th century steamship, Madison, which was purposely sunk in the run during the Civil War to prevent it from falling into Union hands. The ribs resemble railroad ties. There is a dock and a house on the south side of the spring. A limestone tunnel of about 20 feet in length is located near the dock.

    At the back end of the spring is a large limestone boulder that rises several feet above the water except at times when the river is high. The area directly behind the spring is swampy floodplain, and the other sides of the spring have high natural banks and are thinly forested. The small stagnant stream/slough that flows into the back of the spring seems to be a natural drainage for the surrounding land.

    The clarity of the spring varies with the height of the adjacent Suwannee River. In times of low water and dry weather, the water can be very clear and blue. At other times, the spring is just as dark as the river. Gar, other fish, turtles, and alligators may be seen in the spring and its run.

    Use/Access

  • Troy Springs State Park covers 83.59 acres and includes significant archeological and historical sites.

  • From the park web site:  "A newly paved park drive is available to motorists and a riverfront dock offers canoeists and boaters a mooring platform for access to facilities within the Park.  Diving, swimming, and picnicking are currently available to visitors, while an equestrian facility and hiking trails are under construction."  Also from the web site:  "All diving is open water only.  All divers must show proof of certification before diving.  No solo diving is permitted."
  • The spring is excellent for scuba, snorkeling, swimming, and wading and is popular with boaters.
  • Over time, swimmers and divers have chipped away at the remains of the Madison, leaving little left of the 19th century steamer.
  • The spring can be crowded with boats on warm weekends.
  • Local Springiana
    The information below is derived from "The History of Troy Springs, Lafayette County, Florida," by Wheeler & Newman, 1996 (www.roots.web.com/~flafaye/troysprings.htm).

    Although there is little sign of human habitation at the spring today, people have used Troy Spring for at least 2,500 years, according to archeological and historical records. Three aboriginal cultures'”Weeden Island, Swift Creek, and Wakulla'”left behind evidence of their habitation and/or use of the spring through pottery shards, burial offerings, and hunting implements. Later, Alachua, Suwannee Valley, Indian Pond, Creek, and finally Seminole Indians utilized the spring and adjoining river before being wiped out by diseases, removed, killed, or forced out by European and American cultures.

    When Lafayette County was incorporated in 1856, the already existing town of Old Troy was named as its county seat. The town burned to the ground in the 1850s or 1860s. The location of the original town has not been determined with precision, but it was certainly near the spring. By 1860, the town of New Troy was established and remained the county seat until its courthouse burned in 1892 and Mayo was made the county seat shortly thereafter. Between 1860 and the demise of New Troy after the courthouse fire, New Troy was a thriving community with a mill, churches, shops, jail, newspapers, cotton gin, and a steamboat and ferry landing. Today, a few homes surround the spring.

    The steamboat, Madison, which had served the region for years as a floating general store, was scuttled in 1863 in the spring upon the order of its owner, James Tucker. The Madison had been used since 1861 as a privateer and jerry-rigged gunboat for the Confederate forces, and had commandeered four Union supply vessels. Tucker and his crew went north to fight in Virginia.

    Information from the park web site:
    "Troy Springs was purchased by the State of Florida in 1995.  The Florida Park Service started managing the property in 1997.  Troy Springs was not accessible by vehicle during that time only by boat.  Now, development of an entrance road, restroom facility, and accessible walkway has been completed.  Troy Springs State Park was acquired by the Florida Park Service to preserve and protect the resources and still be accessible to the public."

    Personal Impressions
    Troy is a truly superlative spring, rich in scale, flow, beauty, recreational opportunities, and history.

    Nearby Springs
    Suwannee Blue, Royal, Bathtub, Convict, Owens, Mearson, Ruth, Little River, Sulfur, Shingle, Branford, Cow, Running

    Other Nearby Natural Features

  • Suwannee River State Park
  • Itchetucknee River State Park
  • Contact Information
    Troy Spring State Park
    P.O. Box 29
    Branford, FL  32008
    386-935-4835
    www.floridastateparks.org/troyspring/default.asp
     
     



    Ruth Spring
    Lafayette County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude
    Scenery'”very good
    How Pristine?'”wall and parking area, but otherwise relatively unspoiled
    Swimming'”fair
    Protection'”excellent
    Crowds'”small
    Access'”excellent
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”very good
    Scuba'”no
    Cost'”free

    Directions
    From Branford, drive about 5 miles NW on U.S. 27. Turn right on CR 425, which angles to the northeast. Go about a mile on the paved road and as it bends to the left, turn right onto a wide dirt road at a large wooden sign that says, "Troy Spring Conservation Area.," which is managed by the Suwannee River Water Management District. Turn right off the paved road, and drive about 1.2 miles to the third road to the left. Turn left and proceed to Ruth Spring.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    Ruth Spring forms a tear-drop-shaped pool that is about 50 feet in diameter. Water in the spring is clear and has had a greenish tint on the dates that the authors have visited. The depth of the pool varies with the level of the Suwannee River, but is generally shallow enough for wading. The water is deepest over the small vent, which is 5-10 feet deep depending of the level of the Suwannee. There is a mild boil over the vent, which is near the wooden wall that has been erected next to the limestone wall around the parking-lot end of the pool to prevent erosion. Small fish congregate in the pool. The spring forms a meandering, shallow run of about ¼ mile to the Suwannee. There is little vegetation in the spring pool or its run. Oak, gum, and cypress trees form a canopy over the pool and its run.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    Ruth is worth a look, perhaps a snorkel, and a walk along its run to the Suwannee, but is not especially appealing as springs go. In times of high water, the trail along the run is muddy or submerged, and the spring is not very clear.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Suwannee River State Park
    Itchetucknee River State Park

    Contact Information
    Suwannee River Water Management District
    9225 CR49
    Live Oak, FL 32060
    800-226-1066
     
     


    Little River Spring
    Suwannee County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd
    Scenery'”outstanding
    How Pristine?'”steps, parking area and erosion, but nonetheless relatively unspoiled
    Swimming'”fine, excellent snorkeling
    Protection'”good
    Crowds'”swarms on warm weekends
    Access'”fine
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”good to fair
    Scuba'”yes
    Cost'”free

    Directions
    From Branford, drive three miles north on U.S. 129 and turn left onto County Road 248. A green "Little River Spring" marks the turn. Go about a mile toward the river (west) and follow signs to the spring.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    Little River Spring is set about 50 yards from the Suwannee River and forms a curved key-shaped pool and run surrounded by the 25-foot river levee.  The level of
    the spring varies with that of the adjacent Suwannee River, but in times of normal or low water is shallow'”2-4 feet deep.  The spring run narrows from about 75
    feet wide over the pool to about 20 feet at the mouth. When the river is high, the spring and run are wider and deeper.

    Water issues from two openings in a limestone crevice that is approximately 30 feet long.  The larger opening leads to a cavern entrance at a depth of about 15 feet.
    A cave system extends approximately ¼ mile from the entrance and is up to 100 feet deep.  Except in times of high water or when visitors stir the spring, the water is
    very clear with a deep blue over the vent.  The spring has a strong boil. A tree trunk is wedged in the limestone between the two vents.  The bottom of the run is
    limestone and white sand, and the banks surrounding the spring are sandy and lightly vegetated. Trees line the tops of the levee above the spring.  The banks
    surrounding the spring and its run are lined with rocks and boulders to prevent erosion.  Steps lead from a parking area to the spring.

    Use/Access

    Local Springiana Personal Impressions
    Despite the crowds and erosion, Little River is one of the most physically alluring natural sights in Florida. When the water is not high or stirred by visitors, the smooth and curving flow of this spring and its run to the Suwannee is breathtakingly beautiful. Under the right conditions, the water in the run is virtually invisible. Because the limestone shelf in the run is just below the surface, visitors have the rare opportunity to stand and peer directly over the cavern entrance and barely get their knees wet. Breaks in the limestone near the vent create a pool that is perfect for wading, swimming, and snorkeling. Even in times of high water, the spring remains attractive. Its flow is strong enough that it remains relatively clear even when the river is up to 10 feet above the normal high watermark.

    Try to visit on a weekday or in the winter, when the crowds will be small and the water clear.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features

    Suwannee River State Park
    Itchetucknee River State Park
     
     


    LAF93971
    Lafayette County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”3rd magnitude
    Scenery'”very good
    How Pristine?'”unknown; run unspoiled
    Swimming'”no
    Protection'”unknown, private
    Crowds'”none
    Access'”none, private
    Facilities'”none
    Scuba'”no

    Directions
    From the boat ramp in Branford, proceed approximately 0.6 mile upriver and look for the mouth of the spring run on the left (south side).

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring is on private property, is fenced and posted, and was not reached by the authors who only explored the run and banks around it. The run winds back from the river'”1,000 feet according to Hornsby & Ceryak (1998, p. 89). Land around the spring is floodplain forest with cypress and hardwoods. The run was 10-15 feet wide.

    Use/Access
    None'”private property.

    Personal Impressions
    The authors walked along the perimeter of the run, but the area was muddy and fenced off. They were pretty certain the run was from a spring, and the evidence from Hornsby & Ceryak confirms it.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Suwannee River State Park
    Itchetucknee River State Park
     
     



    Sulfur Spring (or LAF718971)
    Lafayette County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude
    Scenery'”very good
    How Pristine?'”unspoiled
    Swimming'”no
    Protection'”unknown, private
    Crowds'”none
    Access'”boat only
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”good
    Scuba'”unknown
    Cost'”free

    Directions
    From the boatramp in Branford, proceed approximately ½ mile upriver and look for the mouth of the spring run on the left (south side).

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring is along the riverbank, inset from the bank in a circular pool that opens into the Suwannee River. On date of visit (spring 1998), the river was about 6 feet above the normal high-water mark and partially inundated the spring. The pool was about 25 feet in diameter and the water was greenish. The authors were told that, at times of regular or low river height, the spring is blue.

    There was a powerful flow and boil from the spring, the depth of which could not be determined visually. The spring had a fairly strong sulfurous smell, and was obstructed by fallen trees and branches. A large trunk lay athwart the spring across the top of the levee, allowing visitors to walk over it at the level of the top of the bank, tightrope-style.

    Use/Access
    According to Hornsby & Ceryak, the spring is on private property (1998, p. 87). It was not posted on date of visit, and the authors beached on the sandy bank just upstream of the spring and walked over to it along the top of the levee.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Suwannee River State Park
    Itchetucknee River State Park
     
     



    Branford Springs
    Suwannee County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude
    Scenery'”fair-good
    How Pristine?'”platform, cleared land, recreation/park/swimming area
    Swimming'”fair-good
    Protection'”good
    Crowds'”heavy on warm weekends
    Access'”excellent
    Facilities'”fine
    Safety'”very good
    Scuba'”no
    Cost'”free

    Directions
    Branford Spring is located on the east side of the Suwannee River, just south of the U.S. 27 bridge that crosses the river. Turn south into Ivey Memorial Park; the spring is on the right about 150 feet from the bridge.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    Branford Springs has two vents that together form a peanut-shell-shaped pool that flows directly into the Suwannee River. The main flow is from a vent of about 8 feet in depth just off the wooden platform that forms a perimeter around the SE side of the spring. This spring pool is circular and perhaps 40 feet in diameter. The second vent is in the lower, smaller pool and is about 5 feet deep. Water in the spring is generally clear and greenish. There is usually some trash in the spring and along its banks. The land around the spring is a municipal park, and there are a cypress trees on the perimeter of the spring and its run.

    Use/Access

    Local Springiana Personal Impressions
    Despite its famous name, Branford Spring is somewhat drab and worn-looking compared to some of its brilliant spring neighbors.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Suwannee River State Park
    Itchetucknee River State Park
     
     


    Shingle Spring
    Suwannee County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude
    Scenery'”excellent
    How Pristine?'”completely pristine
    Swimming'”no
    Protection'”unknown, private
    Crowds'”none
    Access'”water only
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”good
    Scuba'”unknown
    Cost'”free

    Directions
    From the boat ramp in Branford, go about one mile downstream and look on the left (south) bank for an opening created by the spring run.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring is lies in a low, swampy floodplain that is heavily forested with cypress and hardwoods. The spring is in a pool at the back of a run of perhaps 250 feet in length and 20-30 feet in width. On date of visit (1998), the area was very muddy and the authors only saw the spring pool from a distance. The water was clear but dark, and the pool appeared to be oval in shape and about 60 feet across.

    Use/Access

    Nearby Springs Other Nearby Natural Features
    Suwannee River State Park
    Itchetucknee River State Park
     
     

    D. Suwannee River from the Santa Fe to Manatee Springs

    The springs along this stretch of the Suwannee River range greatly in size and character from tiny limestone trickles to the first-magnitude flows of Fanning and Manatee Springs. Along this stretch of the Suwannee, the river is wider and subject to greater traffic from motorboats, house boats, jet skis, water skiers, and personal watercraft. Houses and developments are scattered along the river'™s banks, the land varies from forest to floodplain to swampy to farm land to riverfront communities.

    Many of the springs along this stretch abut private property, but nearly all are accessible either by land or water. County and state parks and recreation areas protect several of the most important and attractive springs (Fanning, Hart, Manatee, Guaranto); Otter Springs is in a private campground, and camping is also available at Hart and Manatee Springs parks.
     
     

    Turtle Spring
    Lafayette County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude
    Scenery'”fine
    How Pristine?'”unspoiled
    Swimming'”good
    Protection'”unknown/private
    Crowds'”none
    Access'”water only/private
    Scuba'”yes

    Directions
    The spring is about 2/3 mile below Sims Landing (boat ramp) on the west side of the Suwannee River. From Branford, drive west/north on US 27 across the Suwannee River about 1 mile, then turn south on State Road 349. Drive about 7 miles and turn east (left onto Highway 342. (Note: there is an earlier turn onto 342'”do not take it.) Drive to the Hatchbend Church. Go north (left) at the church to a T-intersection. Turn east (right) and go 0.7 miles to the graded road on the right. Take the first right on the graded road and follow to the Sims Landing boat ramp.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The authors have not visited this spring. Rosenau et al. describe the pool and its run as key-shaped, with the pool being 40 feet wide and the 90-foot run being about 20 feet wide (1977, p. 214). Hornsby & Ceryak describe the spring area as 75 feet wide and with a boil present (1998, p. 86). Both sources note that the water is clear and the pool'™s depth is between 22 and 25 feet. Banks rise from the water and the land around the spring is forested.

    Use/Access
    The land around the spring is privately owned, and access is only by boat.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
     
     

    Fletcher Spring
    Lafayette County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude
    Scenery'”good
    How Pristine?'”land cleared around spring
    Swimming'”fine
    Protection'”unknown/private
    Access'”none/private

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Directions
    The spring is not accessible without permission of the landowner. It is about 1 mile below Sims Landing (boat ramp) on the west side of the Suwannee River. From Branford, drive west/north on US 27 across the Suwannee River about 1 mile, then turn south on State Road 349. Drive about 7 miles and turn east (left onto Highway 342. (Note: there is an earlier turn onto 342'”do not take it.) Drive to the Hatchbend Church. Go north (left) at the church to a T-intersection. Turn east (right) and go 0.7 miles to the graded road on the right. Take the first right on the graded road and follow to the boat ramp. The spring is inland, and its run flows into a sink. It may not be reached by water.

    Spring Description
    The authors have not visited this spring, and rely on the 1977 description of it in Rosenau et al. At that time, the spring formed an oval pool about 50 feet long that formed a run 30 feet wide that flowed 450 feet before emptying into a sink. Water in the spring was clear and greenish, and there were strong boils on the surface from the vents which were 32 feet deep (p. 202-203).

    Use/Access
    None'”private and not accessible from the water.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
     
     

    Pothole Spring
    Dixie County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude
    Scenery'”excellent
    How Pristine?'”very pristine
    Swimming'”good
    Protection'”surrounding land part private, part state-owned
    Crowds'”none
    Access'”very good, boat only, no landfall on south side
    Facilities'”none, good at nearby boat launch
    Safety'”very good
    Scuba'”yes
    Cost'”free

    Directions
    From Branford, drive 3-4 miles east/south on U.S. 27. Turn right (south) onto U.S. 129. Drive about 10 miles and turn right onto SR 340 and go about 4 miles to the boat ramp at the bridge over the Suwannee. Put in at boat launch and go upriver under bridge on the west side. The spring is on the left (west) side a short distance upstream and across from Rock Bluff Spring.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring is a semicircular pool on the bank of the Suwannee River. The basin is about 125 feet wide, and water over the vent is blue and fairly clear. The vent is near the middle of the pool and, according to Hornsby & Ceryak (1998, p. 63), is 14 feet deep. Land around the spring is mature forest, and large cypress trees are at the mouth of the spring on the north and south ends.

    Use/Access

    Local Springiana
    This spring may also be called Glisson Spring.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
     

    Rock Bluff Spring
    Gilchrist County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude
    Scenery'”fine to outstanding
    How Pristine?'”partial retaining wall, land cleared around spring, very pristine along run, exotic plants in water
    Swimming'”good, fine snorkeling
    Protection'”unknown/private
    Crowds'”some on warm days
    Access'”no land access; good by boat
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”good
    Scuba'”yes
    Cost'”free

    Directions
    From Branford, drive 3-4 miles east/south on U.S. 27. Turn right (south) onto U.S. 129. Drive about 10 miles and turn right onto SR 340 and go about 4 miles to the boat ramp at the bridge over the Suwannee. Put in at boat launch and go about 200 yards upstream on the right. A small opening in the aquatic trees (cypress and mangrove-like vegetation) leads about 500 feet in from the river to the spring pool.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring pool is perhaps 100 yards in diameter and of irregular shape. The main spring flows from a limestone vent 40 feet long, 2-6 feet wide, and 30 feet deep. The spring creates a visible slick on the surface. A smaller opening is a few feet away at the same depth. The authors saw another small spring at a depth of about 12 feet 100 feet downstream (to the south) of the main flow. There was algae on the limestone, and fish congregated in the vents. Hornsby & Ceryak note there is a cavern system at this spring (1998, p. 68).

    The water in the pool was clear and blue, with the deepest blue being over the vents. The bottom was covered in hydrilla and other aquatic vegetation on the date of visit in summer 1997. Mullet were visible darting about amid the hydrilla. There are also several cypress trees in the spring pool, and immense cypresses in the spring run. Herons and egrets were plentiful in the spring and the run, which is approximately 500 feet and deep enough to admit motorboats of up to 25 feet in length. There is a concrete retaining wall on one side of the pool, a house is visible, and the land near the house and retaining wall has been partially cleared.

    Use/Access

    Local Springiana Personal Impressions

    Rock Bluff is a very large and impressive spring'”one of the more attractive in Florida. The spring and run would make an excellent state recreation area, but the owners also seemed to be taking good care of the site.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
     
     

    Guaranto Spring
    Dixie County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude
    Scenery'”fair
    How Pristine?'”pool dammed, extensive hydrilla, land mostly cleared for park
    Swimming'”poor
    Protection'”fair-good
    Crowds'”can be large on warm weekends
    Access'”good, need clear directions
    Facilities'”very good
    Safety'”unknown
    Scuba'”no
    Cost'”free

    Directions
    From Branford, drive 1 mile NW on U.S. 27. Turn left (south) onto SR 349. Drive about 10 miles south and turn left (east) onto Rock Sink Church Road. Drive on (and remain on) main dirt road about 3 miles to the spring.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring and a man-made berm and culvert form an oblong pool that is 30-40 feet wide and 125 feet long before draining into the Suwannee River. The pool was choked with hydrilla and algae on date of visit in summer 1997. Steps lead to the spring from both sides, and there is a platform on the south side that extends to provide a view of the vent. The water was clear, blue over the vent, and 10 feet deep. There is a parking area on the south side of the spring, and a picnic shelter on the north side.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    The spring is in need of exotic removal, which could be accomplished in a few hours. The berm constricts the natural cleansing flow of the spring and is also singularly unattractive. The spring and park are not appealing.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
     
     

    Rock Sink Spring
    Dixie County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”
    Scenery'”
    How Pristine?'”
    Swimming'”
    Protection'”
    Crowds'”
    Access'”
    Facilities'”
    Safety'”
    Scuba'”
    Cost'”

    Directions

    Spring Description

    The authors have not visited this spring.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features


     
     

    Lumbercamp Spring
    Gilchrist County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”3rd magnitude (estimated)
    Scenery'”fair-good
    How Pristine?'”development around run on one side, exotic plants in run
    Swimming'”no
    Protection'”unknown
    Crowds'”none
    Access'”moderately difficult'”must walk up muddy run
    Facilities'”none
    Safety'”fair-good
    Scuba'”no
    Cost'”free

    Directions
    From the intersection of U.S. 19/98 and State Road 26 in Fanning Springs, go east on SR 26 about one mile to intersection with Highway 232.  Turn left (north) on 232 and go 5-6 miles.  Road becomes dirt during this stretch.  Turn left (west) onto SW 25th Street and follow signs to public boat ramp.  At ramp, put canoe in and go upriver ¼ mile to mouth of combined spring runs for Sun and Lumbercamp Springs.  After about 150 feet, paddle (or walk if water levels are low) into left fork and proceed another 275 feet to spring.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring forms a circular pool that was about 35 feet wide on date of visit in February 2002.  Water in the pool was 1-3 feet deep, and the entire pool was covered in hydrilla with the exception of the two visible flow points.  The main flow appeared to be from the back, left bank.  Another vent was in the bottom of the pool toward the back and produced a mild boil.  Sand was visible at this spot, but not a vent.  The banks were muddy, and the spring pool is canopied by trees.  A driveway passes by the spring on top of the bank (about 9 feet above the spring).

    The run is 25 feet wide, only a few inches deep, and also matted with exotic vegetation.  Several ibis were wading in the run on date of visit, and thousands of snail shells littered the banks of the run.

    Use/Access
    There is no apparent human use of the spring or its run.  On date of visit, it was too shallow to navigate.  The authors had to walk up its run.

    Local Springiana
    The authors had never seen a published photograph of this spring.

    Personal Impressions
    The spring and its run are drastically marred by exotic vegetation and would otherwise be very attractive.

    Nearby Springs

     Other Nearby Natural Features
     

    Sun (or Aiken) Spring
    Gilchrist County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude
    Scenery'”fair to good
    How Pristine?'”houses on spring and run, land cleared around basin; spring totally filled with hydrilla, overtopped with water lettuce
    Swimming'”private
    Protection'”unknown/private
    Access'”none/private

    Directions
    By Land:  From Fanning Springs, drive north on SR 26 1-2 miles. At fork in Wilcox, go north on SR 232. Drive 6-7 miles. The road becomes dirt. About 0.5 miles after SW 25th Street, turn left (west) onto Sun Springs Road (row of trees is along road). Go 1-1.5 miles, turn south (left) into neighborhood. Go about 0.3 mile around bend and spring will be on the right behind a fence.

    By Water:  From the intersection of U.S. 19/98 and State Road 26 in Fanning Springs, go east on SR 26 about one mile to intersection with Highway 232.  Turn left (north) on 232 and go 5-6 miles.  Road becomes dirt during this stretch.  Turn left (west) onto SW 25th Street and follow signs to public boat ramp.  At ramp, put canoe in and go upriver ¼ mile to mouth of combined spring runs for Sun and Lumbercamp Springs.  After about 200 feet, paddle into right fork (the main channel) and continue another 700 feet.  At next fork, stay to right and continue another 300 feet to spring.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring is set in what is now the back yard of a house on private property.  The spring pool is oval and perhaps 60 by 100 feet in diameter, and shallow except for over the vent.  The depth at the vent appeared to exceed 10 feet.  The water was very clear and light blue on date of visit in 1997.  When revisited in February 2002, the appearance of the spring and run were transmogrified.  The entire spring pool area and first 100 feet of the run were covered in water lettuce (floating atop hydrilla).  The exotics made passage virtually impossible.

    The spring run makes a right turn out of the pool and flows 1,500 feet to the Suwannee River.  Nearly the entire run is badly choked by hydrilla and water lettuce.  The water lettuce thickens as the run nears the spring.  The  run links with that of Lumbercamp Spring about 200 feet from the Suwannee River.

    Use/Access

    Personal Impressions
    The transformation of Sun Spring from a clear, blue spring and run to an exotic-choked hole and canal is a  tragedy.  The spring run was greatly altered in the early 1970s to create canals and access to the Suwannee River.  Recreation boats must have introduced hydrilla and water lettuce to the spring and run, and now the pool and run are unnavigable.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
     
     

    DIX95971 Spring
    Dixie County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”
    Scenery'”
    How Pristine?'”
    Swimming'”
    Protection'”
    Crowds'”
    Access'”
    Facilities'”
    Safety'”
    Scuba'”
    Cost'”

    Directions

    Spring Description
    The authors have not visited this spring.

    Use/Access

    Local Springiana

    Personal Impressions

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
     
     

    McCrabb Spring
    Dixie County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”3rd magnitude
    Scenery'”fine
    How Pristine?'”very unspoiled
    Swimming'”private
    Protection'”unknown/private
    Access'”private

    Directions

    Spring Description
    The authors have not visited this spring.

    Use/Access

    Local Springiana

    Personal Impressions

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
     
     

    Hart Springs
    Gilchrist County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude
    Scenery'”good-very good
    How Pristine?'”developed and cleared park area, retaining walls around springs and run, walkway over run, artificial beach sand filling springhead
    Swimming'”fine, excellent snorkeling
    Protection'”fine
    Crowds'”heavy on warm weekends
    Access'”excellent
    Facilities'”excellent
    Safety'”very good
    Scuba'”yes
    Cost'”$1 per person

    Directions
    From Fanning Springs, drive north on SR 26 1-2 miles. At fork in Wilcox, go north on SR 232. Drive about 3.5 miles and turn left (west) onto SR 344 and drive about 2 miles to park entrance.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    Hart Springs has four main vents in two spring pools that form a common run to the Suwannee River.  The back (south) pool is circular, 40-50 feet across, and deep blue and clear on sunny days.*  The two vents are amid exposed limestone, 25-30 feet deep, about 15 feet apart, and appear to lead to caverns. The force of the upwelling water throws up sand that has washed into the spring below the concrete retaining walls due to human activity. There are boils over the vents. The flow creates a run that flows about 150 feet before being joined by the flow from the other springs pool. The water in the run is clear and 3-6 feet deep. There are some plants in the run as well as mullet and other fish. The upper portion of the spring run has a concrete retaining wall on both sides, and there are a couple of cypress trees along the banks.

    The lower pool is perhaps 50 feet across and 2-5 feet deep except over the two vents. The larger vent is in the back of the pool and is a coffin-shaped limestone opening. The depth of the opening cannot be fully determined due to the placement of a concrete picnic-table bench seat that has been shoved into the fissure by vandals. With the bench in the vent, one may dive to about 12 feet. The second vent is about 30 feet away (southeast) and is a smaller opening that is partially obscured by water plants. Water in the pool is very clear and blue. The second spring pool also has a retaining wall around it and exits to the SW to join the main spring run. The combined spring runs flow another 250 feet to the Suwannee River. The run narrows as it nears the river from 75 feet wide to about 35 feet wide and is 2-5 feet deep in general. The run is in a more natural state and herons and schooling mullet may be seen. There is a boardwalk along the run to the river.

    Note:  The erosion noted below was magnified when the retaining wall near the south vents collapsed.  So much debris fell into this area that the south springflows were completely blocked from 1998-2004.  On May 1-2, 2004, a coalition of people including spring divers, the Fla. Speleological Society, Hart Springs County Park staff, staff from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, local organizations, and others removed several tons of debris from the springheads and restored their flow.  Pumps, dredging, containers, and lift bags were used in the restoration.  This effort required substantial efforts to obtain necessary approvals, permits, and to get key players to support the restoration.  For more details on this impressive restoration, as well as photographs go to www.overheadtimes.com/article_disp.asp?Article_ID=138
     

    Use/Access

    Local Springiana Personal Impressions Nearby Springs Other Nearby Natural Features An Essay on Hart Springs
    Hart Springs is a Gilchrist County Park ten minutes north of Fanning off CR 341. Virtually unknown to outsiders, Hart Springs is Fanning on a geographically larger scale, although it does not quite match Fanning'™s beauty or flow. It has two spring areas, offers camping in addition to picnicking, and has a longer run to the Suwannee that is also accompanied by a boardwalk among the cypress. A camp store rents floats as well as picnic supplies, including a torpedo-shaped contraption that can hold three children and take them off your hands for hours.

    The springs and the run are ideal for water play. Mullet congregate and bass lurk in the run, manatee can be seen in the winter, and big and little blue, yellow crowned, and tri-color herons are regulars. Boats can dock in the camp area. Bring a mask and snorkel--most people never stick their face in and miss the transcendent beauty of water emerging from the earth. Two of the vents are easy to reach--only 8 and 12 feet deep, respectively. Diving into the 12-footer, I discovered some jerks had somehow lodged a 200-pound concrete bench seat into it. I could not get it out, alas.

    The two deeper vents require a bit more lung power, but are worth the effort. Down 25 feet or so, they issue from caves and throw sand up in non-stop cascades. The black world is cold and alien, but alluring at the same time. Peering into the void, lungs about to burst, and alternately drawn in and fearful of drowning, the words of Robert Frost came to my mind: "The woods are lovely, dark, and deep. But I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep." You find a rock, push up from it, and rise to the surface and life.

    But even after you leave, Hart stays with you. An hour later as you are driving home, you scratch an itch in your eyebrow. Water has been retained there and is released in a cool trickle onto your fingers and down your temple. It is a final souvenir.

    Contact Information
    Hart Springs Park
    Fanning Springs, Fla.
    352-463-3444
     
     

    Iron Spring
    Dixie County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”3rd magnitude
    Scenery'”good
    How Pristine? '”completely natural
    Swimming'”no
    Protection'”unknown
    Crowds'”none
    Access'”no current access, surrounded by private land and run blocked by beaver dam
    Facilities'”none

    Directions
    From the intersection of U.S. 19/98 and State Road 26 in Fanning Springs, go east on SR 26 about one mile to intersection with Highway 232.  Turn left (north) on 232 and go about 4+ miles.  Turn left (east) onto Highway 344 at sign for Hart Springs County Park and for the public boat ramp.  Follow signs to public boat ramp, which is past Hart Springs County Park and on the right.  Put in at ramp and go downriver ¼ mile to spring on the other (west) side of the Suwannee River.  Look for small trickle of water entering the river and signs of orange staining from iron content in the spring.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring forms a circular pool that was 35 feet in diameter on date of visit in February 2002.  The water was a thick yellow-brown color, and the depth could not be determined.  No boil was visible, and there was virtually no flow into the Suwannee River.  The spring run is 250 feet long and is blocked at about the halfway point by a beaver dam.  The land and fallen limbs along the run are stained orange from the high iron content of the water.

    Land around the spring is deep floodplain forest, and there was dry run that connected to the back of the spring pool from the west.  According to Hornsby & Ceryak (1998, p. 64), the spring is up to four feet deep, and the land around the spring is privately owned.

    Use/Access
    Under different conditions, when the water table is higher and there is no beaver dam at the spring, it is conceivable that one could paddle into the spring pool.  The combination of the dam and drought reduced flow to a trickle on date of visit in 2002.  The beaver appears to be the only large creature making any use of the spring or its run.  The area was not posted, and the authors did not learn that the land was private until after they visited.

    Local Springiana
    As with a couple of other springs in the area (Copper, Little Copper, and McCrabb), Iron Spring has a high iron content in its flow and creates distinctive orange or copper-colored stains along its runs.

    Personal Impressions
    The site is very pristine.  The only exotic species the authors saw were fire ants.  It would be interesting to return in the future to see if the dam remained and if higher water table levels created a navigable run to the spring.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
    Fanning Springs State Park
    Manatee Springs State Park
     
     

    Otter Springs
    Gilchrist County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”2nd magnitude
    Scenery'”good
    How Pristine?'”developed camping area, land cleared near spring, walls around one spring pool, plans to extract water from spring
    Swimming'”none
    Protection'”unknown
    Crowds'”none
    Access'”none

    Directions
    From Fanning Springs, drive north on SR 26 1-2 miles. At fork in Wilcox, turn north on SR 232. After about 1.5 miles, turn left (west) at big sign for Otter Springs onto SR 334. Road becomes dirt. Follow signs 2 miles to Otter Springs Campground/RV Park.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring creates two pools, of which only the upper pool shows evidence of flow. The upper pool is oval and about 45 by 70 feet in diameter. It has two visible fissures'”one about 25 feet long and the other just a few feet long'”which appear from the surface to be 25 feet deep. Fish congregate in the limestone opening. Water in the pool is clear has been blue and green on dates of visit. There is a sloping bank of about 10 feet around the pool, with a beach on one side, trees on another side, and cleared land on the other sides.

    The spring run flows about 150 feet into a larger pool that has a retaining wall and water that is not clear. Rosenau et al. (1977) report this pool to be 10 feet deep (p. 125). The spring run meanders 4,000 feet to the Suwannee River. The authors have not been in the run.

    Use/Access

    Local Springiana Personal Impressions
    The spring is not especially attractive'”especially the second pool'”but it is teeming with fish and fun to dive.  The bottling plan, if it goes through, is the nail in the coffin of yet another spring.  Public access has already been cut off.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
     

    Little Copper Spring
    Dixie County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”
    Scenery'”
    How Pristine?'”
    Swimming'”
    Protection'”
    Crowds'”
    Access'”
    Facilities'”
    Safety'”
    Scuba'”
    Cost'”

    Directions

    Spring Description

    The authors have not visited this spring.

    Use/Access

    Local Springiana

    Personal Impressions

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
     

    Copper Spring
    Dixie County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”
    Scenery'”
    How Pristine?'”
    Swimming'”
    Protection'”
    Crowds'”
    Access'”
    Facilities'”
    Safety'”
    Scuba'”
    Cost'”

    Directions

    Spring Description

    The authors have not visited this spring.

    Use/Access

    Local Springiana

    Personal Impressions

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features
     
     
     

    Fanning and Little Fanning Springs
    Levy County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”1st magnitude
    Scenery'”excellent
    How Pristine?'”platform and walkway around spring, house on one side, land cleared behind spring
    Swimming'”excellent; outstanding snorkeling
    Protection'”excellent
    Crowds'”heavy on warm days
    Access'”outstanding
    Facilities'”fine
    Safety'”excellent
    Scuba'”yes
    Cost'”$1 per person

    Directions
    In the town of Fanning Springs. Entrance to Fanning Springs State Recreation Area is directly off U.S. 19/98, ¼ mile from bridge over the Suwannee River.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Descriptions:

    Fanning Springs'”The main portion of the spring basin is a semi-circular pool framed by sheer limestone walls 20 feet high on two sides. This pool is about 30 feet wide and 18 feet deep and has several flow points through limestone openings on the bottom and sides. The flows create a continuously active surface over much of the main pool. The bottom is rocky and there are small- to medium-sized fish in the water. Water in the spring pool is very clear and a deep blue. Flow from this basin forms a large shallow secondary pool to the north that is about 150 feet wide and 3-6 feet deep. The land to the north is swampy, and the south bank reduces from the 20 feet high of the main basin to just a few feet above the water as the run approaches the river. There is another spring flowing from a small grotto at the bottom of the steps leading to the water, and there may be other small flows in the pool or on its edges.

    A floating boat dock/platform is set halfway down the spring'™s 300-foot run. There is a boardwalk along the north side of the pool leading to the river. The run is more natural, with cypress and eel grass in the water. Manatee may be observed in the spring run and sometimes the main spring area during the winter.

    Little Fanning Springs'”Water flows from the base of a limestone bank, creating a shallow and bubbling creek that winds about 800 feet through karst terrain and heavy forest to the Suwannee River. Water from the spring is clear and was bluish on date of visit in 1997. The spring may be reached by footpath from the back of the main spring area near the observation platform.

    Use/Access

    Local Springiana Personal Impressions

    Fanning is one of the prettiest and best swimming holes in Florida. It is also one of the most convenient, being only 10 seconds off the main highway along the Gulf Coast.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features


    An Essay on Fanning Springs
    A half-hour west of Gainesville and 95 miles southeast of Tallahassee, the town of Fanning Springs hugs the undulating Suwannee River along U.S. highway 19/98. You can drive through Fanning, pronounced Fannin'™ by local residents, in about one minute. And that'™s what just about everyone does, missing thereby one of Florida'™s greatest springs.

    Fanning Springs is only 150 yards from the highway. After you cross the Suwannee into town from the north'”and before reaching the agriculture weigh station, look right for the green sign of the Fanning Springs State Recreation Area. The spring is ten seconds off the road. Park, pay your $1.00 admission, and walk in.

    Fanning Springs is an old swimmin'™ hole. Residents and boaters have swum and partied at the site for generations. Unregulated use exacted a heavy toll, however. The land was severely eroded, and the spring was used as a dump. When the Greenways and Trails Association acquired the spring a few years ago, they removed truckloads of garbage and junk from the spring. Now fully restored, Fanning is a sparkling jewel and part of the state park system, although a few local folks resent having to pay a buck to get in.

    The spring itself is an absolute classic, with a stunning 18-foot-deep pool and a short picturesque run to the Suwannee River lined with cypresses. The absolutely clear, cobalt blue water shimmers and pulsates, the surface never calm because of 69-degree water flowing continuously from vents and sand boils. An observation tower provides a birds-eye view. There is also a dive platform and a shallow area for children and waders.

    Paralleling the spring run is a boardwalk to the Suwannee. The winter visitor will likely see manatees that have come up-river from the Gulf to the warmer spring waters. The park has playground, picnic, and volleyball areas. There is even a little dock for boats to tie up from the Suwannee. Fanning is a perfect place to spend a day, an hour, or just 10 minutes to cool off on the tedious drive along the coast between St. Pete and Tallahassee.

    Don'™t neglect to take the five-minute walk to see Little Fanning. Set in the hilly woods just behind the picnic area, Little Fanning has several lovely springs that issue from limestone walls and join to create a wild run to the Suwannee. Not one visitor in 500 knows it exists.

    Contact Information
    Fanning Springs State Recreation Area
    c/o Manatee Springs State Park
    Chiefland, FL 32626
    352-463-3420
     
     

    Manatee Springs
    Levy County

    Summary of Features
    Scale'”1st magnitude
    Scenery'”excellent
    How Pristine?'”well-integrated board- and sidewalks, retaining wall around spring and run, manmade beach area, building and boat ramp near run
    Swimming'”fine
    Protection'”excellent
    Crowds'”heavy on warm weekends
    Access'”excellent
    Facilities'”excellent
    Safety'”excellent
    Scuba'”yes
    Cost'”$3.25 per car load

    Directions
    In Chiefland, at junction of U.S 19/98 and SR 320, turn west on 320 and drive about 6 miles to park gate.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery, and topographic representations as well as  weather conditions at this spring, go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site at the following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The spring lies on the edge of a floodplain, with low, swampy land on the north side and banks with higher, drier land on the south. The main spring pool area is circular and was about 80 feet across on dates of visit in 1997-1999. Water in the pool is very clear and varies from blue to green, depending on lighting conditions and the level of the nearby Suwannee River. Water issues from a large cave entrance at a depth of about 40 feet. There are underwater limestone edges and outcrops in the pool. The spring has a strong flow with intermittent surges (see Local Springiana below). There is a cavern at the spring leading to a nearby sinkhole (called Catfish Motel) 300 feet to the SE.

    There are concrete and wood steps and platforms along the south side of the pool, and a small sandy beach on the north side about 100 feet downstream of the pool. The spring run is about 400 feet long, 40-60 feet wide, 5-10 feet deep, and has abundant flora and fauna. Manatees use the spring in the winter. Cypress and hardwoods surround the spring and run except in the cleared park areas, and there is eelgrass in the water

    Use/Access

    Local Springiana We now ascend the crystal stream; the current swift; we entered the grand fountain, the expansive circular basin . . . The ebullition is astonishing, and continual, though its greatest force of fury intermits, regularly, for the space of thirty seconds of time: the waters appear of a lucid sea green colour, in some measure owing to the reflection of the leaves above: the ebullition is perpendicular upwards, from a vast ragged orifice through a bed of rocks, a great depth below the common surface of the basin, throwing up particles or pieces of white shells, which subside with the waters at the moment of intermission, gently settling down round about the orifice, forming a vast funnel. At those moments when the waters rush upwards, the surface of the basin immediately over the orifice is greatly swollen or raised a considerable height; and then it is impossible to keep the boat or any other floating vessel over the fountain; but the ebullition quickly subsides; yet, before the surface becomes quite even, the fountain vomits up the waters again, and so on perpetually (Travels of William Bartram, 1928, p. 196). Bartram was also struck by the lack of predation in Manatee Springs and its run, and attributed this to the clarity of the water which precluded the possibility of surprise attack: Behold the water nations, in numerous bands roving to and fro, amidst each other; here they seem all at peace . . . When those different tribes of fish are in the transparent channel, their very nature seems absolutely changed; for here is neither desire to destroy nor persecute, but all seems peace and friendship. Do they agree on a truce, a suspension of hostilities? Or by some secret divine influence, is desire taken away? Or are they otherwise rendered incapable of pursuing each other to destruction (p. 195)? Today, Manatee Springs does not flow with this amount of force, although it does have minor surges on a regular basis. Bartram, whose descriptions are known for the their great accuracy, also noted that the Suwannee River was clear near Manatee Springs. Personal Impressions
    Manatee Springs is one of the best and most appealing springs in Florida, and is very well managed and cared for, providing a good balance of conservation and recreation.

    Nearby Springs

    Other Nearby Natural Features Contact Information
    Manatee Springs State Park
    11650 NW 115th Street
    Chiefland, FL 32626
    352-463-3420