Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park - Gainesville Florida
Devil's Millhopper
The Devil's Millhopper is a massive geological
formation in Gainesville, Florida. It was created by
water wearing away at Florida's karst topography.
The Devil's Millhopper
Flights of wooden stairs lead
down into the bottom of the
Devil's Millhopper in
Gainesville, Florida.
Bottom of the Millhopper
A Natural National Landmark,
the Devil's Millhopper plunges
120 feet from rim to bottom.
Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park - Gainesville, FL
Waterfalls & Geology in Florida
Waterfall in Central Florida
Waterfalls tumble down the
sides of the Devil's Millhopper
in Gainesville, Florida.  The
rare Florida waterfalls flow
best in late winter to early
spring.
On the outskirts of Gainesville in Alachua
County, Florida, can be found one of the
South's most significant geological feature -
the Devil's Millhopper.

The focal point of Devil's Millhopper
Geological State Park, the massive sinkhole
was formed by the erosion of water on the
karst (limestone) topography that underlies
much of Florida. The Millhopper is so big that
its depth is estimated at 120 feet from rim to
bottom. It is 500 feet across and you can feel
the climate change as you descend into it!

The walk down from the rim is accessed by a
220-step stairway. By comparison, the climb
up the stairs to the top of the St. Augustine
Lighthouse is 219 steps! As you walk down,
however, you enter a natural rain forest set
far below the level of the normal Central
Florida terrain. Streams fall over the edges of
the sink or emerge from its sides to create
small waterfalls and cascades that are quite
picturesque when they are flowing best in
late winter and early spring.

Several theories are offered as to how the
Devil's Millhopper received its unusual name.
It is generally thought that early pioneers of
the Gainesville area found the sinkhole and
were fascinated by its unique shape, which
reminded them of the hopper from a grist
mill. Because numerous fossils, including
the bones of extinct animals, were found in
the sink, a legend grew that it led to Hell and
it became known as the Devil's Millhopper.

Other versions are similar, but in reality the
bones and fossils date from the prehistoric
era in Florida. Naturally deposited long ago
as both sea and land animals died and their
remains became part of the geology of the
Sunshine State, the ancient fossils have
helped researchers learn much about the
early formation of Florida and the different
strata that formed as water levels changed
and the peninsula took its current shape.

Features such as the Devil's Millhopper are a
direct result of the interaction of water with
the natural karst topography of Florida. Over
thousands of years, water seeps and runs
through the limestone that forms the
foundations of the state. As it slowly erodes
away the rock, the water creates caves and
sinkholes, prime examples of which can be
seen at Devil's Millhopper,
Falling Waters
and
Florida Caverns State Parks.

This topography also allows the creation of
Florida's beautiful natural springs and crystal
clear rivers. A myriad of these can be seen
within an easy drive of Gainesville at places
such as Silver Springs,
Rainbow Springs
State Park, Crystal River and Homosassa
Springs Wildlife State Park.  
Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park is
located on State Road 232 (N.W. 53rd Ave.)
in Gainesville, Florida. The park is open from
9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday,
but is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

There is a $4 per vehicle entry fee ($2 for
pedestrians or bicyclists). Be sure to bring
exact change as the park uses an honor box
to collect the cost of admission.

There is a visitor center
. Ranger guided
walks are available every Saturday at 10 a.m.
Special guided tours for groups can be
arranged by calling (386) 462-7905.

A one-half mile nature trail leads around the
rim of the sinkhole and to the stairs and
boardwalk system that descends to the
bottom. Be aware that while the walk to the
bottom is a bit easier, the climb back up is
quite strenuous and can be extremely difficult
during hot weather months. Please exercise
caution.  Pets are allowed on the trails and in
the picnic area if they are kept on a 6-foot
leash.

To reach Devil's Millhopper from I-75, exit
onto County Road 222. Go east 3.8 miles
and turn left (north) onto 43rd Street. Turn left
at the next light and the entrance will be 1000
feet ahead on your right.


Please click here to visit the official state park
service website
.
Copyright 2011 & 2014 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.


Last Updated: March 25, 2014
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