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

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Chipola Delightful Grotto Spring and Cascade

Jackson County

Summary of Features

  • Scale—3rd or 4th magnitude, estimated 
  • Scenery—Outstanding 
  • How Pristine?—Very pristine 
  • Swimming—No 
  • Protection—Unknown 
  • Crowds—None 
  • Access—Good, by boat only, then on foot up the run 
  • Facilities—None 
  • Safety—Good 
  • Scuba—No 
  • Cost—Free

Directions

Accessible via small boat.  From the center of Marianna on U.S. 90, go north on Jefferson Street (State Road 167—the same turn as for Florida Cavern State Park) and proceed about 1.5 miles to the bridge over the Chipola River. Put in and go downstream about 6.5 miles.  The spring is on the east bank, across the river from several homes.  Look and listen for a small cascade as the spring run empties into the river.  Another cue for finding the spring is to look for a modern house (just a few hundred feet upstream on the east bank of the spring) that also has a spring cascade that tumbles down the hillside/bank into the river.  GPS coordinates of mouthof spring run on the east bank of the Chipola River:  N30.44.607; W85.12.601. GPS coordinates of two main flow points:  #1 (main)--N.30.44.640; W85.12.582, #2--N30.44.640; W85.12.600.

Spring Description

The primary spring flow is from the base of a limestone bluff set about 200 feet from the river.  Water tumbles very audibly out at the estimated rate of 3-5 gallons per second.  Water can be seen moving toward the flow point through a hole in the limestone bluff a few feet above the primary flow point.  Lesser flows were observed a few feet to the north, and there is a smaller, secondary spring run about 35 feet southwest of the main vent.  The flows combine to form a shallow (2 inches deep and 3-5 feet wide) run that goes over bare limestone, pebbles, and sand down to the river. The run tumbles/cascades into the river down the bank, (which was two-three feet above the river surface on date of visit in March 2004).  The water was clear and had no odor.

In the upper part of the creek run, there were several round indentations (about 1” deep and 8” across) in the limestone bottom.  Some of the exposed limestone in the run was a very attractive light green.  Closer inspection reveals the presence of algae on this limestone, but it initially looked more like green rock than rock with algae on it.

Use/Access

There is no apparent use of the spring, which is in a pristine condition except for the algae.  JF was startled by a snake that rustled out of his path along the spring run.

Personal Impressions

The bluff, spring, run, and cascade altogether are very attractive and appealing.

Nearby Springs

Other Nearby Natural Features