Run from river rise pool
Edge of river rise pool
Narrow footing at edge of river rise pool
- Paddling into the mouth of the swift run is strenuous. After the first20 yards or so, the current is not as strong and the headwater may be reachedwith relative ease. D espite the steep walls around the spring, visitorsclimb to the top and there is a rope swing and platform in a perimetertree.
- The land around Alapaha Rise is private, and the dirt road that leads fromthe agriculture station back to the land directly above the Rise is blockedby an imposing wooden stockade and gate.
- At the lower end of the spring run, there is a dock leading to a houseon the east bank.
- Across the Suwannee River from the mouth of the Alapaha Rise run is a small,UnnamedSpring (#1) waterfall. Water flows over rocks a few feet above theriver, and would be submerged when the river is much above normal. Thickgreen algae grow in the cascade. Water flowing from the spring has a sulfurousodor.
- Upriver about 250 feet and across from the mouth of the Alapaha Rise runis another small, Unnamed Spring (#2). This spring lies beneaththe middle of three boulders at the edge of the river and is only visiblein time of drought when the river is well below normal. The little springhas small flow but two dramatic boils when the river level is lower thanits issue point—the flows look like water fountains. Water from the springhas a sulfurous odor.
- Anderson Spring
- Holton Spring
- Lime Spring
- Ellaville Spring
- Little Gem Spring
- Falmouth Spring
- Adams Spring
- Morgan’s Spring
- Suwannacoochie Spring
- Suwannee River State Park
- Withlacoochie River
- Two Rivers State Forest
From Madison, take U.S. 90 east 2-3 miles until the fork with StateRoad 6. Take SR6 east, across the Withlacoochie River, and proceed about12 miles to County Road 751. Turn right and drive about four miles to SuwanneeRiver. 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 CR751bridge, you will see water rushing out with great force on the left—itis 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 atthe following address: http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida
As its name suggests, Alapaha Rise Spring is likely the rise of a portionof the Alapaha River. It water is dark, and it meets the Suwannee Riverabout 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-footrun. The walls surrounding the spring are vertical limestone (20-30 feethigh) and pocked with holes, fissures, and fractures. The run, which isabout 60 feet wide, discharges powerfully into the Suwannee River.
Rosenau et al. report there is a sink about 250 feet north of AlapahaRise. At the bottom of the sink, water can be seen flowing toward the rise(1977, p. 133).
In their comprehensive compendium on springs in the Suwannee River basin,Hornsby & Ceryak (1998) identify and photograph two springs at theapproximate location of the above-unnamed springs (SUW925974—p. 123, andSUW925975, p. 127). However, neither of these springs looks much like thesprings described above.
Like nearby Holton Spring, Alapaha Rise is a spectacular and pristinesite. Although it is near the bridge and highway and there is a road directlyabove it, it feels remote and receives very few visitors. Paddling intothe spring is hard work and a lot of fun. Its box-canyon appearance isunique among springs of Florida.
Other Nearby Natural Features
An Essay on Alapaha Rise Spring
Located in Hamilton County halfway between Jasper andLive Oak, Alapaha Rise is in the pinch of real estate between Interstates10 and 75. It’s a rise because it is part of the Alapaha River, which flowssouth from Georgia between the Suwannee and Withlacoochie Rivers. At somepoint, some of the Alapaha goes underground. The rest of the river flowsinto the Suwannee just below where CR 751 crosses the river.
From I-75 or I-10, take SR 6 to CR 751 and go sout h to the Suwannee. After the agricultural weigh station on the left, there isa boat ramp on the right in Gibson County Park. Alapaha Rise is just 100yards behind the agricultural weigh station, but the land around it isprivate so you’ll need to paddle into it from the boat ramp. Go upriverunder the bridge and you’ll see the opening on the left.
Now comes the hard part. The entrance to Alapaha Riseis only 50 feet wide and less than 10 feet deep, but an average of 520million gallons of water comes out of it each day—that’s about 6,000 gallonsof 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 wallsstretch upward until they form a 40-foot mini-gorge and box canyon aroundthe rise.
The walls are sheer and honeycombed with thousands ofholes as if drilled by a lunatic. To borrow a phrase from Frost, the wateris "lovely, dark, and deep," and roils from the upwelling river. Accordingto divers, the vent is 150 feet wide, and you take their word for it becausethe 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 shootyou through the entrance at great speed--just hope a speedboat is not comingby on the Suwannee at that moment. Directly across the river is a littlespring cascade, and the exposed limestone, caves, sandbars, and extremelyhigh natural levees along this stretch make it one of the prettiest spotsof the entire Suwannee River.