Sunday, March 2, 2014

#100 Blue Hole Spring (100 Great Things about Jackson County, Florida)

Blue Hole Spring
Jackson County, Florida
We begin our countdown of "100 Great Things about Jackson County, Florida" with #100, Blue Hole Spring at Florida Caverns State Park.

An important tributary of the Chipola River, Blue Hole Spring has been a favorite spot for swimming and picnicking for hundreds of years. Prehistoric American Indians camped and fished in the spring and its waters have refreshed visitors including missionaries, soldiers, explorers and even a future American President.

According to data from the Northwest Florida Water Management District, the spring is 38.5 feet deep at the point where a vent in the limestone allows its water to flow upwards to the surface. A feature of Florida's unique karst topography, Blue Hole pours out an average of 30.35 gallons of crystal clear water per second. That equals more than 1,820 gallons per minute or 109,207 gallons per hour.

Blue Hole Spring
The water rises from deep underground at a constant temperature of 67.8 degrees and is refreshingly cold during the summer yet can feel warm in the winter. Swimming is allowed from the floating dock at the spring when water conditions are clear.

Florida's famed "Old Spanish Trail" passed by the Blue Hole and early explorers often confused it for the rise of the Chipola River from its nearby Natural Bridge. It was first described in the journals of Fray Rodrigo de la Barreda and Governor Don Laureano de Torres y Ayala in 1693. They mentioned passing by it on their way to complete the first overland crossing of the Florida Panhandle by Europeans.

Interpretive Kiosk at Blue Hole Spring
The U.S. Army of Major General and future President Andrew Jackson passed the spring in 1818. The First Seminole War was underway and legend holds that Creek and Seminole Indians hid in the caves and rock shelters of today's Florida Caverns State Park, watching as Jackson's 1,092 man army marched past. The general's topographer, Captain Hugh Young, confused Blue Hole for the rise of the Chipola River which is a short distance away.

The first American settlers of Jackson County fell in love with the Blue Hole and the nearby caves and it became a popular picnic area.

To see the Blue Hole, just drop by Florida Caverns State Park at 3345 Caverns Road; Marianna, Florida. The park is open 365 days per year and the cost of admission is $5 for vehicles, $4 for vehicles with only the driver and $2 for pedestrians and bicyclists. Other features of the park include cave tours, nature trails, picnicking, camping and more.

Please click here to learn more about Florida Caverns State Park.

You can also learn more at the Florida State Parks website.


Crystal Slongo Gibson said...

I'm excited to have stumbled upon this blog of yours. You are a true asset and treasure to Jackson Co. Thank you for all that you do to share and preserve our important and rich history. God Bless you and your family.

Dale Cox said...

Crystal, Thank you so much for the nice words. God bless you and your family as well!