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

Gator Spring

Jackson County

Summary of Features

  • Scale - unknown
  • Scenery - excellent
  • How Pristine? - completely pristine
  • Swimming - no
  • Protection - unknown
  • Wildlife - very good
  • Crowds - some visitation on warm weekends
  • Access - very good, boat only
  • Facilities - none
  • Safety - fair
  • Scuba - yes, lights needed
  • Cost - free

Directions

From U.S. 90 in Marianna, turn north on 71 at the shopping center (Tractor Supply and Goody's) and go to Blue Springs Road. Go north until the road forks, then take the right fork on Blue Springs Rd. and go 1.6 miles to Hunter Fish Camp Road. Turn right and go 2/3 mile down this house-lined road to the boat ramp on the left, downhill from the road. Put in at boat ramp and paddle through cypress trees directly into and then across the MillPond to the SE bank, about 150 yards.

Spring Description

This spring is an exposed limestone outcrop at the base of the 30+-foot bank set into the bluff. The opening is an upside-down v-shaped cleft that is about 4 feet wide at the bottom and narrows to a point at the top. The opening extends beneath the surface to the bottom, which is about five feet deep. Ferns grow on of the rock around the cave. The surface nearthe cave was almost completely covered in duckweed, and some eel grass was also present. No water was visible flowing out of the cave.  A diver told JF that one can travel--swimming with side-mounted tanks and lights--about 250 feet into the cave.  There is a smaller cleft a few feet to the left of the main opening, and the bottom was 5-6 feet deep on dates of visit in 2001 and 2014.

Use/Access

Personal Impressions

The authors have not seen anything like Gator Spring in Florida. Nearby Shangri-La Spring, just below the headwater of Merritt’s Mill Pond, is about the same size and shape and is also against the limestone bank. However,the opening to Shangri-La is completely under the water, as is the case for nearly all springs. Gator Spring is halfway out of the water. Conceivably, a swimmer or snorkeler could swim directly into it, although lights are strongly recommended. The spring is a small package, but is very visually appealing and well worth a visit.

Nearby Springs

Other Nearby Natural Features