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

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Zolfo Springs
Hardee County

Summary of Features
  • Scale -0 magnitude (no current flow at historic site); est. 5th magnitude nearby 
  • Scenery - fair

  • How Pristine? - overgrown area of pool site, near park and house
  • Swimming - no
  • Crowds - none
  • Access - very good
  • Facilities - fine in adjacent park
  • Safety - good
  • Scuba - no
  • Cost - free 

Site of historic spring and municipal pool
Seep Sites above boat ramp
Resident at zoo near seeps
Seep above boat ramp
Seeps below boat ramp

Directions (address: 231 Wilbur C King Blvd, Zolfo Springs, FL 33890, 863-735-0330)
The historic spring site is behind a house in an area set aside as a city pioneer park and museum on the west side of the town of Zolfo Springs along Highway 64.  Turn north off Highway 64 into the park/museum/historic area/zoo and look for an old house in the NE end of the park along the back road that parallels Highway 64.  Look behind the house for remnants of concrete in the brush at the edge of the forest and for the dry spring run. Google Maps link: www.google.com/maps/place/Pioneer+Park/@27.501445,-81.8009413,15z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x7688f0af8aabf9b1!8m2!3d27.501445!4d-81.8009413

Spring Description
There is no current flow at Zolfo Spring and apparently has been no flow since the town plugged up the spring with concrete in the 1960s, according to a park staff person working at the site.  The site of the pool once built around the spring is completely overgrown, and evidence of the pool is difficult to see amid the brush and overgrowth.  The historic spring run passes through semitropical forest (estimated to be 1/3 mile)  to the Peace River.  On date of first visit in December 2001, portions of the old run contained water but no flow.  The run is 6-10 feet wide and countersunk several feet below the general surface.  The size of the run suggests the historic flow was probably third magnitude.

A short distance downstream in the Peace River--perhaps 1,000 feet south of the original spring--there are numerous drips and seeps on the east side of the river and on both sides of the boat ramp.  The more northerly seeps are from 3-4 cracks in the limestone back and trickle into the river.  The cracks appear to have been worn into the limestone by the flow, are a few inches wide, and extend up the bank which was 5 feet high on date of visit in April 2002.  This portion of the bank is on the river side of a peninsula perhaps 400 feet long and 75 feet wide.  A pool created by the peninsula to the east of the river abuts the campground at the park.  It is possible that these little flows are merely river water seeping through the narrow peninsula into the river.

The other seeps are south of the boat ramp and consisted of perhaps six distinct trickles from the bank and a large wet area, all within 100 yards of the boat ramp on the east bank.  It is possible that these seeps are merely surficial flow from a large pond/small lake a short distance to the east.  There is also what appears to be a sinkhole just above these seeps to the south, which is being used as the alligator pen in the park's zoo.  Alternatively, these seeps may be caused by the stopping up of Zolfo Spring in the 1960s.

Use/Access
There is no utilization at the old spring site.  The adjacent historic/pioneer park includes a museum, boat ramp, RV park, campground, zoo, locomotive, old cabin, and other historic structures.

Local Springiana
The old pool at Zolfo was built in the 1930s as a WPA project.  It was used until at least 1963, based on an article published  that shows a photo of the pool and touts its recreational value ("Zolfo Springs Awakens After Long Sleep," in Area Development Progress, Nov.-Dec. 1963, p. 2).  Based on the old photograph, the pool was rectangular, about 25 yards in length, and had a low diving board.  The article states that the spring has "quite a history.  Years ago, Seminole Indians came here to drink the spring water, at times camping for months or more," p. 2.

Personal Impressions
The site is worth a visit to search for the remnants of the old pool and the historic run.  JF did not know the fenced area above the seeps was a zoo until he saw an ostrich just a few feet away inside the fence!

Other Nearby Natural Features
Highland Hammocks State Park