|Summary of Features
Scale--3rd magnitude (estimated)
Directions (address and phone: 8600 W. Miss Maggie Drive, Chassahowitzka, FL 34448, 352-382-2200)
From intersection of U.S. 19 and U.S. 98, go west on Highway 480, a.k.a. Miss Maggie's Drive. Follow 1.7 miles to the end, passing small homes and the Chassahowitzka River Lodge on the right. Turn right at signs for the Chassahowitzka River Campground and follow to headwaters. From the boat ramp, go downriver 1-2 minutes from the mouth of Crab Creek, past stand of wild rice on the left, and look for small entrance/mouth of Lettuce Spring run. Paddle up run ½ mile or so to spring. Link to Google map: http://chassahowitzkaflorida.com/maps.htm
The spring is in a cleared area after a run through dense floodplain forest and subtropical vegetation. The spring forms an oval pool about 20 by 40 feet. The spring issues from a small vent at the back right corner of the pool as you enter from the run. There is a rock retaining wall on the developed side of the spring. Water flows from a small opening that appears to be 4-5 feet deep. On the two times the authors visited (in 1999 and 2000), the pool was filled with aquatic vegetation except at the vent. Water in the pool is milky and bluish at the vent only. A small house is adjacent to the spring and about 30 feet from the pool. The run is 4-10 feet wide, varies in depth with the tide from a few inches to 2 feet, and is somewhat obstructed. The run splits just outside the spring pool, and the smaller, unnavigable run seems to join the main run further downstream. Heavy vegetation at the mouth of the run can make spotting the run and access to it somewhat difficult.
The spring is in the back yard of a house, and the authors felt like
intruders and were concerned about the homeowners' reaction if they were
The nearby Chassahowitzka River Campground (http://chassahowitzkaflorida.com/) includes primitive and modern camping, a camp store, boat rentals, a clubhouse, and restrooms. Canoes can be rented for a reasonable fee.
The Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge begins 3-4 miles below this spring. It is accessible only by boat, and is closed to human visitors from October 15-February 15 each year to protect wildlife. The refuge provides sanctuary for 250 species of birds, over 40 types of reptiles and amphibians, and more than 25 types of mammals ("Chass. National Wildlife Refuge," U.S.F.W.S., n.d.).
The development around the pool is unattractive, the retaining wall is an unnatural jolt compared to the pristine run, and the vegetation-choked pool is a disappointment after the exertion required to reach the pool. The run is very wild and natural.
Other Chassahowitzka River springs (Chassahowitzka Main Spring, Crab
Creek Springs, The Crack, Houseboat Spring, Salt Springs, Potter Spring,
Spring, Beteejay Spring, Blue Run Spring)
Weeki Wachee Spring
Other Nearby Natural Features
Withlacoochie State Forest
Fort Cooper State Park
Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park
Crystal River State Archeological Site
Rainbow Springs State Park
Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge