|Summary of Features
Directions (address and phone: 1800 Wekiwa Circle, Apopka, FL 32712, 407-884-2009)
From Interstate 4 north of Orlando, exit west on State Road 434. Go just over a mile, then turn right (north) onto Wekiva Springs Road. Follow about five miles to entrance to Wekiwa Springs State Park on the right. The spring is on the right, just past the pay station. Map at www.floridastateparks.org/park/Wekiwa-Springs
The springs form the headwaters of the Wekiva River (note that the spring is spelled "Wekiwa," and the river is spelled "Wekiva"). The main flow is from a crevice or fissure adjacent to the rock/concrete retaining wall as you walk down to the spring from the parking area. The top of the vent is about four feet below the surface, and it extends and narrows down perhaps 15 feet before becoming too narrow for human passage. Water flows up at the rate of approximately 42 MGD from this fissure, creating a large and raised boil on the surface. A second spring flows from a small limestone opening about 50 feet to the right of the main vent (when facing the spring pool from the parking area near the retaining wall. This spring creates a mild slick on the surface.
The springs form an oval pool, framed by a retaining wall on three sides, approximately 125 by 250 feet in diameter. Water flows under an arched footbridge, through another larger pool, and then into a run where it is joined about 3/4 mile downstream by Rock Springs Run.
- The spring is a focal point of the 7,000-acre Wekiwa Springs State Park, which offers swimming, canoeing, canoe rentals, camping, cabins, restrooms, concessions, picnicking, and hiking (13.5 miles) and horse (8 miles) trails.
- The park encompasses nearly 7,800 acres and connects with the 8,750-acre Rock Springs Run State Preserve. These and other protected lands together form a large greenway, the Wekiva Basin Geo Park. See www.audubon.org/important-bird-areas/wekiwa-basin-geopark for information about the Geo Park.
- The spring was the site of a hotel in the 1880s, and people traveled to seek the cure in the spring's waters. Formerly known as Ford Springs, Wekiva also hosted a dance pavilion, water slides, and excursion boats at one time. Old photographs show a two-story bathhouse perched right on the edge of the springs.
- Text from the Florida State Parks web site: This area was known as Clay Springs until 1906, when the name was changed to Wekiwa Springs. Forty-two million gallons of crystal clear water flow each day from Wekiwa Springs into Wekiwa Springs Run. The run joins with Rock Springs Run to form the beautiful upper Wekiva River. Creeks, later called Seminoles, are the most recent Native Americans to have lived here. Wekiwa means 'spring of water' and Wekiva means 'flowing water' in the Creek language. Recreational activities have always been a part of the area which had several structures near the Spring. The largest and most prominent structure was the bathhouse, where swimmers would change into their swimsuits. In an attempt to draw northerners to the area and promote tourism, the springs were touted as medicinal waters that would cure an assortment of ailments. The Apopka Sportsman Club bought the land that is presently Wekiwa Springs State Park in 1941 from the Wilson Cypress Company, which logged the land for hardwoods, in addition to cypress and pine. The Apopka Sportsman Club used the land for hunting and fishing until 1969 when they sold it to the state of Florida to become Wekiwa Springs State Park. The club built several hunting cabins on the property, most of which are no longer in existence, but have been turned into primitive camping sites. One cabin remains and currently serves as a ranger residence. The National Wild and Scenic Rivers System was created by Congress in 1968 and signed into law by Lyndon Johnson on the 2nd of October to preserve certain rivers with outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values in a free-flowing condition for the enjoyment of present and future generations. The Act is notable for safeguarding the special character of these rivers, while also recognizing the potential for their appropriate use and development. It encourages river management that crosses political boundaries and promotes public participation in developing goals for river protection. The Wekiva River from its confluence with the St. Johns River to Wekiwa Springs, Rock Springs Run from its headwaters at Rock Springs to the confluence with the Wekiwa Springs Run and the Blackwater Creek from the outflow of Lake Norris to the confluence with the Wekiva River were protected under the Act.
- Deer are seen commonly in the park, and bear and bald eagle are spotted less frequently.
- The spring is known as having a large concentration of fossils from the last Ice Age (Bergen & Bergen, 1997, p. 101).
- Orlando suburbs, most of whose neighborhoods sport names with the word "Springs" in them, go right up to the edge of this park along Wekiva Springs Road.
- The state park and the spring are named "Wekiwa," a Creek Indian word for "spring of water." The river is named "Wekiva," the Creek word for "flowing water" ("Wekiwa Springs State Park" . . . More of the Real Florida, n.d.).
Snorkeling in Wekiwa Springs in the narrow fissure against the powerful flow of the upwelling water is one of the more exciting skin-diving experiences one can have in Florida. Canoeing in the river is excellent. Wekiwa is one of Florida's best state parks and a lovely spring as well. The far-sighted individuals and organizations that preserved this spring and its (and Rock Spring's) watershed from development have done a great service to this and future generations.
Apopka Spring, Blue Spring, Camp La No Che Spring, Clifton Spring, Gemini Springs, Health Spring, Messant Spring, Miami Spring, Palm Spring, Rock Spring, Sanlando Spring, Starbuck Spring
Other Nearby Natural Features
- Wekiwa Springs State Park
- Rock Springs Run State Preserve
- Hontoon Island State Park
- Ocala National Forest