Little Gem (Or Lime) Spring
Summary of Features
- Scale -3rd magnitude (estimated)
- Scenery -excellent
- How Pristine? -unspoiled; steps to spring
- Swimming -excellent wading, dipping
- Protection -excellent
- Wildlife -good
- Crowds -few
- Access -good, must walk or paddle 1/4 mile along river from boat ramp
- Facilities -none at site, excellent nearby
- Safety -very good
- Scuba -no
- Cost -$5 per car
From boat ramp at Suwannee River State Park (Address: 3631 201st Path, Live Oak, FL 32060, (386) 362-2746; website--https://www.floridastateparks.org/park/Suwannee-River), walk upriver about ¼ mile to the spring on the left (or boat upriver that distance and spring will be on the right).
From Interstate 10 exit #262 travel north four miles on County Road 255 to town of Lee. Turn right (east) on U.S. 90. Drive about 12 miles to Suwannee River State Park, shortly after crossing the Suwannee River and proceed to the parking area just above the boat ramp at the end of the paved road. From I-10 exit #275, travel west on U.S. 90 8-9 miles to the state park. (You will pass the entrance to Falmouth Spring on the way from exit #275.)
Steps lead from the riverside/levee trail down to the spring, which is set about 10 feet from the edge of the river in a small alcove. It has a small and deep pool that is 8 feet in diameter. Water flows up from avent of unknown depth and around the trunk of an old tree. The tree was up-ended and plunged into the spring when the force of floodwaters of the Suwannee River caused the spring to reverse and become a siphon. The water is clear and blue except in times of high water.
The natural river levee rises in a semi-circle around the spring, and a large cypress sits at its upriver side at the water’s edge. When theSuwannee River is either low or at normal height, water tumbles out ofthe spring into the river. There is another vent below the cascade at the river’s edge, and when the river is low its boil can be up to one foot above the surface. The nearby shoreline has clay deposits.
- The State Park offers trails, interpretive displays, camping, picnic facilities, vending machines, showers, and bathrooms.
- The walk from the boat ramp to Little Gem Spring takes a pleasant 5-10 minutes and runs along the top of the river levee. There are interpretive signs, and the mouth of Lime Spring run is at the beginning of the trail.
- Suwannacoochie Spring, Lime Spring Run, Ellaville Spring, and Little Gem Spring are all within about 400 yards of the boat ramp at the State Park.
The spring is an excellent place for children to play in the water, at the edge of the river, or with the nearby clay and (in the fall) grapes found hanging from vines above.
- Alapaha Spring
- Anderson Spring
- Holton Spring
- Lime Spring
- Ellaville Spring
- Falmouth Spring
- Adams Spring
- Morgan's Spring
- Suwannacoochie Spring
Other Nearby Natural Features
- Withlacoochie River
- Two Rivers State Forest