Blue Springs Group
Summary of Features
- Summary of Features
- Scale - 2nd magnitude
- Scenery - fine
- How Pristine? - retaining wall around main spring, some trash and cleared land, otherwise fairly pristine
- Swimming - very good
- Protection - excellent
- Crowds - small
- Access - fair/moderately arduous by water; fine but limited by land, permit only
- Facilities - good
- Safety - very good
- Scuba - no
- Cost - free by canoe, camping fee for land access
By Land: From intersection of U.S. 231 and State Road 20, drive 5.8 miles west on SR 20 and turn right (north) on Blue Springs Road and continue about 1.3 miles to the spring.
From Econfina Creek: As there is no general access from land to Blue Springs, one must put in at the Walsingham Bridge or at WalsinghamPark. From the intersection of State Road 20 and U.S. 231 north ofPanama City, drive west on SR20 about 7 miles to bridge over Econfina Creek. Continue another 1/3 mile, then turn right onto Strickland Road. Drive 2.6 miles to stop sign at T-junction. Turn left at stop sign onto what becomes Porter Park Road. Continue 2.3 miles, then turnright onto Hampshire Road. Continue 1.2 miles, then turn right atsign for Walsingham Bridge. Continue another 1.55 miles to one-lane plank Walsingham Bridge over Econfina Creek. There is a primitivelaunch at the SE edge of the bridge, or carry on another ¼ mile to Walsingham Park, which has a better boat launch.
The spring group about 3 miles downstream of Walsingham Park, on the left/east side of the river.
Blue Springs is a complex of pools, coves, and backwaters covering several acres and comprising at least three areas with spring flows. For ease of discussion, the authors describe the complex in five parts that correspond to the enclosed map: (1) the consolidated spring run, (2) the backwater pool and island, (3) the Blue Spring pool/basin,(4) the limestone cavity/grotto arm, and (5) the large pool.
The (1) consolidated spring run is easy to spot entering Econfina Creek from the east bank. The run is about 35 feet wide, 2-4 feet deep, and with clear and gray-blue water. There is some vegetation on the bottom, and small fish are visible. After about 150 feet and angling to the right, the run forks at what appears to be the site of an old beaver dam.
The right fork leads to (2) the backwater pool and island. This run is 3-5 feet deep, about 30 feet wide, and somewhat murky. Several turtles were seen. In the middle of the run on the east (?) (left as one ascends) side is a limestone bank. There was one clearly evident spring from a cavity at the base of the bank with a small flow. The run extends back 150-200 feet to a circular pool with a small island in the middle. The water in the pool is very still/stagnant, and the authors counted eight tires that had been rolled/thrown/placed in the pool and its run.
Returning to the junction with the consolidated run, bear right or up the clear run to the large pool, and around the right for another perhaps 300 feet to the (3) Blue Spring pool/basin. The Blue Springs basin is oval, about 60 by 80 feet in diameter, and flows into the large pool. Water in the pool is clear and blue-gray, and 5-7 feet deep. Water flows from 2 small limestone cavities/grottos in the back left corner of the pool as one approaches from the run. Ferns grow above the springs. The eastern/left side of the pool has a retaining wall, and there are 18 concrete steps (about 15 feet wide) leading from the bank down to the spring pool. Many small fish congregate in the pool. The steps lead to a camping area. The larger of the two cavities/grottos has the stronger flow, and leads to a small cavern.
Exiting the Blue Springs pool, and again entering/skirting the large pool, paddle another perhaps 300 feet around to the right to the (4) limestone cavity/grotto arm. A cypress tree in the water marks the way to the cavities/grottos. Approximately 6 springs flow from the base of a limestone bluff and boulders. Water is only a few inches deep, and except for the mouths of the springs is covered in aquatic vegetation. At the springs the bottom is covered with small rocks, and there is some broken glass. There were many small fish and large tadpoles in the water on date of visit in September 2001. There is a boulder in the shallow water, and the limestone bluff/bank is pocked and eroded by the flowing water.
The large pool (5) ranges from a few inches to 3 feet deep and may contain additional springs. It appears to be a nursery for small fish and tadpoles, and herons were seen. It is lushly vegetated, and there appears to be little water movement except where the spring runs flow through it.
- There is restricted access to the spring from the river or land. A former boy scout camp, the land is now managed by the Northwest Florida Water Management District. There are picnic and camping areas (for up to 25 people), portable toilets, and a covered shelter; land permits may be obtained to primitive camp on the site for a fee. Click here for more information and/or to make a reservation. The site has no running water or electricity. The site is popular, and one must call to reserve it. The reservation can only be for the current calendar year. Therefore, it is recommended that you call in earlyJanuary for a date during that year--the number is below.
- The site is popular, and reservations sometimes have to be made well in advance of a planned visit.
- Econfina Creek has a number of obstructions--primarily fallen trees--that must be ported between Walsingham and Blue Springs.
- In times of low water, a canoe ascent of the spring run could be difficult.
- Walsingham Spring
- Unnamed Econfina Creek-bed Spring
- Glowing Spring
- Below-BlueSpring Run
- Twin-Run Grotto Springs Group
- Williford Spring
- Williford Run Springs
- Gainer Springs Group
- McCormick Springs Group
- Pitt Spring
- Sylvian (or Sullivan) Spring
- Ponce de Leon Springs
- Vortex Spring
- Cypress Spring
- Morrison Spring
Other Nearby Natural Features
- Pitt Spring Recreation Area
- St. Andrews State Recreation Area
- Falling Waters State Recreation Area
Northwest Florida Water Management District