Summary of Features
- Scale -2nd magnitude
- Scenery - excellent to outstanding
- How Pristine? - very except for pipe drawing water
- Swimming - good-very good
- Protection- unknown
- Crowds - overrun on warm weekends
- Access - very good, canoe only
- Facilities - none
- Safety - good
- Scuba - yes
- Cost - free
Off State Road 20 about five miles west of where it intersects with U.S. 231 north of Panama City. Put canoe in on right where road crosses Econfina Creek and paddle 1/2 mile downstream just past the run to Gainer Springs. Spring is on the right (west side).
Just a few yards downriver on the same bank as Gainer Springs is Emerald Spring, a dramatic upwelling of clear water from the base of a limestone bluff. Water flows powerfully upward adjacent to a sheer limestone wall perhaps 25 feet high. Water flows from a limestone opening/vent that is several feet wide. A PVC water pipe leading down a small cliff draws water from the spring for Patronis, a water bottling company. When the river is at normal or low levels, the spring is very blue. The water was dark when the authors visited one day in December when the river was high. The spring is in a bend of the river, and the flow forms a pool area of about 50 by 60 feet with a sandy beach on the downstream side of the spring. The pool was about 6 feet deep on date of visit in 2001. Scott et al., note that there are "at least three other smaller vents issuing from the bank just above this spring" (2002, p. 27).
Note: Scott et al. (2002), bundle Emerald Spring with the nearby Gainer and McCormick Springs and classify them all part of the Gainer SpringsGroup. This is in keeping with earlier classification by Roseneau et al., 1977, which did the same thing. Locals have given different names to the three areas, as does this web site.
- This spring also has "No Trespassing" signs, but one may swim in the water at the base of the limestone bluff.
- Gainer Springs
- McCormick Springs
- Pitt Spring
- Sylvian (or Sullivan ) Spring
- Williford Spring
- Ponce de Leon Springs
- Vortex Spring
- Cypress Spring
- Morrison Spring
Other Nearby Natural Features
- St. Andrews State Recreation Area
- Falling Waters State Recreation Area