Flowing waterfalls in Florida? You betcha’. There’s plenty of ’em. Although the state’s reputation and topography would suggest otherwise, there are a handful of truly dazzling waterfalls in Florida. Created by sink holes and depressions, these majestic falls are dotted all over the Sunshine State. In many cases, you will be above the waterfall looking down as the water heads away from you. Florida has a number of state parks to maintain and preserve the natural environment.
Are you ready to look up and gaze upon nature’s wonder? Grab your hiking boots or your sturdiest pair of sandals and let’s get going. Here’s some of the top waterfalls to see in Florida:
Florida’s Best Waterfalls
via FloridaStateParks.org: Although the modern era has seen the land shaped by both enterprising developers and the loving hands of local volunteers, the draw of the beautifully serene park endures. When swimmers take their first dip in the sapphire-blue waters of Rainbow Springs, they become part of a story that stretches back over 10,000 years, when humans first visited this place.
Ornamental gardens, man-made waterfalls and sloping hills are visible reminders of the springs’ more recent past, when the land was home to a mining operation and a privately-owned tourist attraction.
Take a walk through lush, mossy hammocks and then cool off in the springs—it’s a time-honored tradition.
via FloridaHikes.com: From an aerial view, it’s obvious the region around Eustis and Mount Dora is pockmarked with sinkholes. Hidden Waters Preserve is managed by the Lake County Water Authority to protect and utilize a massive sinkhole— the Eichelberger Sink.
When you’re descending into it along the Lake Alfred Trail, the slope is especially steep. The Ravine Trail leads up and around a deeply eroded gash in the landscape caused by funneling water down into the sinkhole from the hillside above. It’s a study in how geology shapes habitat, and an excellent spot for birding … and for getting a workout during your hike!
via FloridaHikes.com: One of the lesser-heralded delights of Torreya State Park is the Weeping Ridge Trail, which leads to a 25-foot-tall waterfall splashing off the ridge. It’s an extraordinarily rugged little nature trail for Florida, thanks to the steeply inclined terrain, but with a payoff of seeing one of Florida’s waterfalls, how can you resist?
After a half mile, you make a sharp left to come to the end of the trail at a bluff above the ravine, overlooking the falls. A needle palm flourishes in the humid microclimate created by the constant splash of water. On the ridge above, a young torreya tree – looking like a broad-needled hemlock – grows on the hillside above the trail. The volume of the falls varies according to recent rains.
via HikingProject.com: The Osprey Trail starts at the end of the road with the same name in Spring Hammock Preserve. The paved Cross Seminole Trail also crosses through the trailhead area. While there is no parking allowed right at the trailhead, parking is available around the Environmental Studies Center a short distance up the road.
The trail leads through the wooded wetlands of the preserve and mostly follows a drainage creek that flows to Lake Jesup. About a half mile from the trailhead is a covered picnic pavilion. Several bridges cross the creek in this area leading to side trails through the wetlands.
Shortly after the pavilion, the Cypress Tree Boardwalk intersects to the south. A little further down the trail is a small pond with a bench for sitting. After about 0.75 miles, the trail turns sharply to the south and enters a swamp area. This portion of the trail may be flooded during high water. At the end of the trail, a boardwalk leads out to an observation deck overlooking Lake Jesup, and the Limpkin Trail continues around to complete a loop of the preserve.
via swrmd.state.fl.us: Falling Creek Falls is one of the District’s gems. During normal water levels the creek roars over a 10-foot waterfall and flows under Falling Creek Road through a deep ravine before going underground.
The park is a featured recreation site with picnic tables, a boardwalk to the falls, and a historic building. Visitors may enjoy hiking, picnicking, and wildlife viewing.
via FloridaHikes.com: Rapids between cypress knees? That’s what you’ll see when “surf’s up” along the Suwannee after a good rain. This region has spectacular geology thanks to its karst topography. Karst occurs when water and mild acid (from tree leaves and other natural detritus) seeps into porous rock, and Florida has a plentiful supply of just that—limestone. Erosion creates caves and sinkholes, and this is an excellent hike to see water dashing downhill and carving its own deep ravine through the forest.
via FloridaStateParks.org: This National Natural Landmark has attracted curious visitors since the 1880’s.
In the midst of north Florida’s sandy terrain and pine forests, a bowl-shaped cavity 120 feet deep leads down to a miniature rain forest. Small streams trickle down the steep slopes of the limestone sinkhole, disappearing through crevices in the ground. Lush vegetation thrives in the shade of the walls even in dry summers.
Researchers have learned a great deal about Florida’s natural history by studying fossil shark teeth, marine shells and the fossilized remains of extinct land animals found in the sink. Visitors can enjoy picnicking and learn more about this sinkhole through interpretive displays.
via FloridaStateParks.org: Huge trees and fern-covered sinkholes line Sink Hole Trail, the boardwalk that leads visitors to Florida’s highest waterfall.
Falling Waters Sink is a 100-foot deep, 20-foot wide cylindrical pit into which flows a small stream that drops 73 feet to the bottom of the sink. The water’s final destination remains unknown.
Only a few miles south of I-10, the park provides travelers with a quiet, serene stop on their journey. Visitors can see beautiful native and migrating butterflies in the butterfly garden, take a dip in the lake or have a family picnic. Hikers can experience the verdant, gently sloping landscape of north Florida.