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

Holton Creek Rise
Hamilton County
  • Summary of Features
    • Scale -1st magnitude
    • Scenery -outstanding
    • How Pristine? -completely pristine
    • Swimming -no
    • Protection -excellent
    • Wildlife -excellent
    • Crowds -none
    • Access -must have exact directions and map
    • Facilities -none
    • Safety -good
    • Scuba -no
    • Cost -free
    Y'all Mart near turnoff to Holton
    Insert Holton Map here
    From Madison, take U.S. 90 east 2-3 miles until the fork with StateRoad 6. Take SR6 east, across the Withlacoochie River, and proceed about12 miles to County Road 751. Turn right and drive about 3.5 miles to SW67th Drive. Turn left. (If you pass the agriculture weigh stationor cross the Suwannee River, you have gone too far.) SW 67th Drive is awide dirt road that angles sharply back. The sign for Adams Farm CountryStore (also called the "Y’all Mart") is plainly visible, moreso than thesmall sign for the Holton Creek WMA. Continue down the dirt road, passingthe country store on your left in an area of clear-cut logging. This isthe only structure to be seen as far as the eye can see. Note the catfishpond next to the small store. The sign advertises pork sandwiches, theonly food to be bought for miles in any direction.

    Just after the store, turn right onto a narrower dirt road, followingthe signs. The spring is about 2.5 miles down this road. The roads arenumbered with tiny metal squares on low posts–this one is "Road 1". Followthe road, and the Holton WMA signs through alternating planted pines andhardwoods. At about 0.7 miles, you pass a small brown shed and 2 littlesigns with a small roof over them, with posters behind glass. Continueonward and when you come to Road 8, turn left and go until you reach Road5. Turn right on Road 5 and Holton Spring will be on your left. See HoltonMap.

    For maps, latitude/longitude data, driving directions, satellite imagery,and topographic representations as well as weather conditions at this spring,go to Greg Johnson's informative "Florida Springs Database" web site atthe following address:  http://www.ThisWaytothe.Net/springs/floridasprings.htm#Florida

    Spring Description
    The acre-sized spring/creek rise and its run lie in deep woods andare canopied. The basin is surrounded by steep banks of 30 feet or moreand makes a sharp turn as it empties into its 0.7 mile run to the SuwanneeRiver. The pool is over 200 feet in diameter. Water in the spring was tannin-coloredon the date the authors visited. Turtles and gar were visible at or nearthe surface. Holton has a powerful flow. Limestone outcrops line the edgesof the basin, and a trail leads around the spring and along both sidesof the run. A few hundred feet down the run, an immense cypress tree sit sin the middle of the stream. When the site was visited (late spring 1999)the land was dotted with white swamp lilies, sweet gum balls, and palmettos.Huge hardwood trees surro un d the spring, while the surrounding land ispocked with sinkholes and hollows. Herons and egrets were observed at thespring.

    Holton is one of the most remote springs in Florida. Without precisedirections, it is virtually impossible to locate. Now that the SuwanneeRiver Water Management District protects Holton Spring and 2,300 acresaround it, access is no longer difficult. Their description (Johnson &Faircloth) of the site is worth quoting in detail:

    This tract features . . . hundreds of sinkholes and depressionalareas, and two state champion cypress trees. It also has a unique mixtureof adjacent high quality upland and wetland natural communities that cannotbe found anywhere else in the Upper Suwannee River Basin.

    The primary natural communities found on Holton Creek include sandhills, upland forests, and bottomland forests which frequently flood. Treesand understory commonly seen include cypress, water elm, pine, oak, hickory,magnolia, beech, saw palmetto, swamp privet, sparkleberry, and wiregrass.This property also contains some of the most extensive old growth bottomlandforest remaining in the Upper Suwannee River Basin (1996, p. 42).

    The lower third of the run to the Suwannee River is bordered by privateland. The beauty of the area at the spring is a sharp contrast to the denudedlandscape and tree farms nearby.

    Personal Impressions

    Holton is one of the most attractive and pristine springs in Florida.Watch for potholes in the dirt roads abound the spring. JF jounced thecanoe off RB’s new car when they visited, scratching the paint job on thecar.

    Nearby Springs

  • Alapaha Rise Spring
  • Lime Spring
  • Ellaville Spring
  • Little Gem Spring
  • Falmouth Spring
  • Adams Spring
  • Morgan’s Spring
  • Suwannacoochie Spring
  • Other Nearby Natural Features
  • Suwannee River State Park
  • Withlacoochie River
  • Two Rivers State Forest
  • An Essay on Holton Spring

    Until recently, Holton Spring was almost impossible tovisit. Down a tangle of ever-narrowing, unmarked sand roads, it was hiddenexcept to locals and a few scientists. Now, however, it is under the protectionof the South Fla. Water Mgt. District, and they can provide you with anexact map. By car, it is just a few minutes from Alapaha. Along the way,you may wish to get provisions at the local country store, which has thebrilliant name of "Y’all Mart."

    Holton is one of Florida’s 33 first magnitude springs,meaning its flow is at least 65 million gallons each day. Holton’s averageflow is 186 million gallons/day. Although the land surrounding the managementarea is all either farm land or clear-cut moonscape, the trees get largerand the forest more dense as you near the spring. Sinkholes pock the surroundinglandscape, and you know you are in spring country.

    The spring is an acre-sized pool in a 30-foot deep depressionsurrounded completely by overhanging pine and oak trees. A huge cypresslooms over the spring. The spring cannot be seen from the road, so scrambleout and walk the trail on its perimeter. The south end is open for thepowerful and swift run to the Suwannee River. Turtles, herons, and garseemed very surprised at being discovered, and indeed the site is offersrare solitude and communion with nature. The day of our visit, thousandsof lily-like flowers were in bloom all around the spring, washing the rollinghills in pink and peach.

    The water was not clear this day, so of course I shallhave to return to see if it is always tinged with tannin or might be clearunder other conditions. Make a visit yourself. After going you’ll be ableto stump your friends and colleagues by asking if they have been to Holton.

    Contact Information

    Suwannee River Water Management District
    9225 CR49
    Live Oak, FL 3 2060