Ichetucknee Springs State Park - Fort White, Florida
Ichetucknee Springs State Park
Crystal clear water flows from the Head Spring at
Ichetucknee Springs State Park. The stunning
natural setting is located at Fort White, Florida.
Ichetucknee Springs
The Head Spring at the park
is one of seven that feed
Florida's strikingly beautiful
Ichetucknee River.
Popular Swimming Hole
A Florida State Park since
1970, Ichetucknee Springs is
one of the state's leading eco-
tourism destinations.
Ichetucknee Springs
Natural rock surrounds the
Head Spring at Ichetucknee
Springs State Park.
Ichetucknee Springs State Park - Fort White, Florida
A National Natural Landmark
Copyright 2011  2014 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.


Last Updated: March 25, 2014
Trail at Ichetucknee Springs
A series of walking and hiking
trails lead through the pristine
and historic park.
Ichetucknee River
The spring-fed Ichetucknee
River has been called one of
the most beautiful places in
the world.
Ichetucknee Springs State Park preserves
one the premier natural and historical
settings in the entire nation. Considered one
of the jewels of the Florida State Park
System, it is located at Fort White Florida.

Actually a cluster of seven large springs, the
Ichetucknee Springs pour out an average of
233 million gallons of crystal clear water
each day. In addition to the well-known Head
Spring, the group includes Blue Hole Spring,
Cedar Head Spring, Mission or Fig Springs,
Devil's Eye Spring, Grassy Hole Spring and
Mill Pond Spring.

The largest of these is
Blue Hole Spring,
which flows at an average rate of 26,668
gallons of water per minute. It can be
accessed by way of a 1/3 mile boardwalk and
trail from the parking area at the Head Spring.

Ichetucknee Springs have been named both
Florida and National Natural Landmarks.
One writer described the springs and the
beautiful spring run as the most beautiful
place on earth.

They are also among the most historic. Early
Native American hunters frequented the
springs and artifacts left behind by
Paleo-Indian hunters thousands of years ago
have been found in the park. Archaeologists
have also identified two Indian mounds and
a village site dating from the
Weedon Island
era (200 - 900 A.D.).

The Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto
passed somewhere through the area in
1539. An interpretive panel near the Head
Spring discusses his expedition.

The park's most significant historical feature,
however, is the site of Mission San Martin de
Timucua (also called Mission San Martin de
Ayaocuto).

Founded in 1608 by Fray Martin Prieto at the
main village of the Timucua Indian chiefdom,
the mission was 34 leagues or just over 88
miles from St. Augustine.

The Florida missions, like those in Texas
and California, were places where a friar
lived and ministered to Indian converts to the
Catholic faith. At Mission San Martin de
Timucua, the Spanish complex consisted of
a large church, cemetery and a
convento or
home for the friar. A large plaza was adjacent
to these, as was the village of Christian
Timucua Indians.

Please click here to visit our page on Mission
San Luis at Tallahassee to see a
reconstructed Florida mission.

The mission was occupied until it was
destroyed in the 1656 rebellion against the
Spanish by the Timucuans. Archaeologists
have located the remains of the church,
convento and mission village adjacent to
Mission or Fig Springs in the park.

Some occupation of the site may have taken
place after 1656, but to what extent is not
known. It never again appeared on the lists of
Florida missions.

The "old fields" of Mission San Martin de
Timucua, however, were an identifiable
landmark for many years to come. Florida's
old Mission road passed by the site and
travelers making their way to and from St.
Augustine and the Apalachee missions to
the west often stopped to drink from the
crystal clear springs.
Even after Florida's interior missions were
destroyed in 1702 - 1704 by English led
Indian raiders, the old Mission road was
used as a trail by Indian hunters as they
passed through the area.

In 1778 a British military expedition passed
by Ichetucknee Springs on its way from
Pensacola to St. Augustine. The latter city,
then held by the British, was threatened with
attack by American patriots from Georgia.

After Florida was ceded from Spain to the
United States, the old trail in this vicinity
became part of the Bellamy Road.  Built in
1825, this rough path was part of the first
wagon road to connect St. Augustine on the
Atlantic with Pensacola on the Gulf.

In later years the town of Ichetucknee grew at
Mill Pond Spring, but eventually faded away.
Phosphate mining took place in the park
during the late 1800s and early 1900s and
traces of these mines can still be seen.

Ichetucknee Springs was purchased by the
State of Florida in 1970 and today is part of a
beautiful state park. For those seeking peace
and quiet and a chance to view nature in its
true splendor, the fall and winter months are
the best time to visit. The park is filled to
capacity with swimmers and tubers during
the spring and summer.
Please click here for
information on park activities.

To reach the North Entrance, which provides
access to the Head Spring, Blue Hole Spring,
picnic areas and nature trails, travel north
from Fort White on SR 41for roughly two
miles then turn left on SR 238 for three miles.
The entrance will be on your left. Entry is $6
per vehicle ($4 if only one person is inside).

The South Entrance, most popular for tubing
and canoing, is on U.S. 27 west of Fort White.

Please click here to visit the official park
service website for more information.
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