Chassahowitzka Solution Holes (or Chassahowitzka #1)
Summary of Features
- Scale-2nd magnitude
- How Pristine? -development nearby, springs pristine
- Crowds-some on warm weekends
- Access-good, boat only
- Facilities-excellent nearby
- Safety-bottom slippery and sharp, otherwise very good
- Cost-$5 to park and launch your own canoe/kayak; more for canoe/boat rental
Directions (address and phone: 8600 W. Miss Maggie Drive, Chassahowitzka, FL 34448, 352-382-2200)
From intersection of U.S. 19 and U.S. 98, go west on Highway 480, a.k.a. Miss Maggie's Drive. Follow 1.7 miles to the end, passing small homes and the Chassahowitzka River Lodge on the right. Turn right at signs for the Chassahowitzka River Campground and follow to headwaters. From the boat ramp, go upstream to the right (east) behind the main spring basin and into the manmade channel about 50 feet. Turn left into run and the solution holes are in the run. Google Map link: http://chassahowitzkaflorida.com/maps.htm
There are two series of interconnected solutions holes in the limestone bottom of the spring run. The first series is about 75 feet into the run, just off the center of the run (on the west side), which is 40-50 feet wide and 1-2 feet deep in most places. The first series has about 6 circular holes in a general line along 30 feet in the run. The diameters of the holes range from two to six feet. The main flow appears to be from the largest hole, but the authors did not determine how many of the holes had actual vents and how many were flowing because they were connected beneath the surface. An underwater tunnel connects the holes at a depth of about 6 feet, and the diameter of the tunnel ranges from 2-4 feet.
A second series of solution holes lies in the back of the run, about 75 feet behind the first set. Two holes are flowing, with the largest one appearing to be the main flow point. These holes are also connected by an underwater passageway which is about 5 feet deep. There are other flow points in the run, particularly between the sets of solution holes on the east side.
Water flowing from the springs is clear and the holes fairly radiate and can glow a deep blue in the sunlight. Boils can be seen from several of the holes. The authors could not determine the actual number of flow points, but there are nearly 10 solution holes and 2-3 other visible vents. Champion & Starks mention only the two large holes at the back of the run, and note that there is a vent on the bottom between them (May 2001, p. 69). Depending on conditions and the time of year, the bottom can be bare limestone, partially vegetated, or heavily vegetated. There is also algae in the run. A PVC pipe runs along the bottom of the lower part of the run and appears to be drawing water from the springs.
The total run length is about 175 feet and flows into the back of the Chassahowitzka Spring main basin. The land around the run is dense floodplain forest and swamp habitat. There is another spring run that feeds into the Solution Holes run at the back (north) end. Its clear water suggests it is also from a spring (see Unnamed Spring behind Chassahowitzka Solution Holes below).
- The springs are accessible by canoe only, as the run is very shallow. Canoes can be rented at the Chassahowitzka River Campground (http://chassahowitzkaflorida.com/) nearby for a reasonable fee.
- The campground includes primitive and modern camping, a camp store, a clubhouse, boat rentals, a telephone, and restrooms.
- The Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge begins 3-4 miles below these springs. It is accessible only by boat, and is closed to human visitors from October 15-February 15 each year to protect wildlife. The refuge provides sanctuary for 250 species of birds, over 40 types of reptiles and amphibians, and more than 25 types of mammals ("Chass. National Wildlife Refuge," U.S.F.W.S., n.d.).
- The holes are used like hot tubs (i.e., people sit/stand in them), are explored by foot, and some swimmers will swim from hole to hole underwater. The entire first series of holes can be swum underwater. Some young boys who showed JF how to do it assured him it was a lucrative activity, as they collected lots of change that had fallen from others' pockets.
- Algae make footing slippery, and some of the limestone surfaces are sharp, so care should be take upon leaving the canoe.
- Biting bugs can be bad in the summer-no-see-ums, mosquitoes, and horseflies are common. Repellent is a must at this time of year.
These springs are called "Unnamed Springs" in Springs of Florida (Rosenau et al., 1977, p. 91).
The solution holes look like no other springs the authors have seen. The site of them on a sunny day is unforgettable; they seem more to give off blue light than to absorb or reflect it. The swim-able underwater passageways are another unique and delightful feature. The springs are a must-see for any spring aficionado.
- Other Chassahowitzka River springs (Chassahowitzka Main Spring, Crab Creek Springs, Lettuce Spring, The Crack, Houseboat Spring, Salt Springs, Potter Spring, Ruth Spring, Beteejay Spring, Blue Run Spring)
- Blue Spring
- Crystal River
- Homosassa Springs
- Weeki Wachee Spring
- Rainbow Springs
Other Nearby Natural Features
- Withlacoochie State Forest
- Fort Cooper State Park
- Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park
- Crystal River State Archeological Site
- Rainbow Springs State Park
- Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge