Devil's Ear Spring
Summary of Features
- Scale - 1st magnitude
- Scenery - good to excellent
- How Pristine? - adjacent to developed camp/swim/dive/recreation area, some exotics, otherwise fairly pristine
- Swimming - fair to very good, excellent snorkeling
- Protection - very good
- Crowds - moderate on warm weekends
- Access - good
- Facilities - excellent
- Safety - good
- Scuba - yes
- Cost - free from river; $14 for adults and $4 for children age 6-12 to swim
Part of the Ginnie Springs complex at 5000 NE 60th Avenue, High Springs, FL 32643. Web link and map at http://ginniespringsoutdoors.com/park-info/. From High Springs, drive south on U.S. 27/41 about 1 mile. Turn west (right) onto State Road 340 (Poe Springs Road), drive about 6.5 miles, and then turn right onto graded road at sign for Ginnie Springs. Follow another mile to the entrance.
The spring lies in the bed of the Santa Fe River just beyond the mouth of the Little Devil/Devil’s Eye Springs run and is marked by a tethered red ball. As with Devil's Eye Spring nearby, Devil's Ear is a large and dramatic limestone shaft. The spring creates a pronounced boil. There is not really a spring pool, as the spring is in the river itself beyond where the Devil's run meets the river. The spring opening is perhaps ten feet deep and wide enough for divers to descend into a chimney-like cave system that is connected back to Devil’s Eye Spring 100 feet away. The bottom is about 30 feet deep.
Water flowing from the spring is clear and creates a prominent boilon the surface. The tea-colored water of the Santa Fe River sometimes obscures the clear spring water. When the river is clear, however, visibility is very good. Water in the spring is clear and can be blue or green depending on lighting and other conditions. The inteconnected cavern systems associated with this and other springs at Ginnie Spring shave been mapped for 33,000 feet. Over 30,000 divers visit the Ginnie Springs complex each year. Water in the spring is around 72 degrees. Studies show that the springs are fed by two watersheds that encompass 300 square miles (Rauch, 2003).
- Ginnie Springs is a full-facility recreation/dive site, with camping areas along the river and near springs, a store, compressors for air tanks, scubalessons, tubing, picnic areas, bathrooms, and other concessions. The complex is the most popular freshwater diving location in the world.
- Because the spring is out in the river and requires more effort to reach, it is visited primarily by scuba divers and more determined snorkelers. For this same reason, swimmers and snorkelers need to be mindful of tubers and canoes plying the river.
- A curious and interesting visual effect may be observed from underwater at Devil's Ear Spring. The clear water of the spring is often topped over by the darker water of the river. The sight of this clash of clear and dark water is striking and more evident when someone passes above the viewer in the darker water.
- Devil's Ear is the third of four major and attractive springs that lie in almost a straight line going from the south to the north side of the river. The other springs are Little Devil (at the southern end), Devil's Eye (near mouth of the Little Devil run), and July spring (in a large alcove on the north side of the river). This happy alignment reminds JF of the constellations in Orion’s belt.
- Poe Springs
- Darby Spring
- Hornsby Spring
- Lily Springs
- Pickard Springs
- Rum Island Springs
- Blue Spring
- Naked Spring
- Johnson Spring
- Ginnie Springs group
- Sawdust Spring
- Myrtle's Fissure
- 47 Boatramp Spring(or GIL1012974)
Other Nearby Natural Features
- Ichetucknee Springs State Park
- O'Leno State Park
- San Felasco Hammock State Preserve
- Devil's Millhopper State Geologic Site
- River Rise State Preserve
- Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park