Lafayette Blue Springs State Park - Mayo, Florida
Lafayette Blue Springs
A first magnitude spring, Lafayette Blue Springs
feeds the Suwannee River near Mayo, Florida. Its
unique geology includes a limestone natural bridge.
Lafayette Blue Springs
One of 9 state parks on the
Suwannee River Wilderness
Trail, Lafayette Blue Springs
is a natural treasure.
Crystal Clear Water
Lafayette Blue Springs is one
of an array of springs that
feed Florida's Suwannee
Lafayette Blue Springs State Park - Mayo, Florida
A First Magnitude Spring
Copyright 2014 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Last Updated: March 26, 2014
71.1 Degrees Year-Round
A first magnitude spring,
Lafayette Blue Springs has a
year-round temperature of
71.1 degrees.
Lafayette Blue Springs is a first magnitude
spring near Mayo, Florida. It pours up to 168
million gallons of water per day into the
Suwannee River.

The centerpiece of a Florida state park, it is a
major recreational spot. In addition to the
spring, Lafayette Blue Springs State Park
features cabins, camping, picnicking, trails
and more.

First magnitude springs (the largest category
of natural spring) are rare, but Florida has
more than 30. In fact, the state's unique karst
topography gives it the
largest concentration
of natural springs in the world.

Much of Florida rests on soluble rock like
limestone. Water dissolves the rock as it
moves through, creating sinks, caves and
fissures. In more than 700 Florida locations,
underground water rises to the surface
through these passages creating natural

A remarkable number of the state's springs
feed the beautiful Suwannee River. Among
these is Lafayette Blue Springs, which rises
within view of the river.

The spring flows from the base of a steep
hill, down which wooden stairs lead to help
visitors reach the water. Lafayette Blue has
one of the widest ranges of flow of any spring
in Florida. During drought conditions the
amount of water it produces can fall to as low
as 14 million gallons per day. During times
of high water, however, its flow can surge as
high as 168 million gallons per day.

Because the water rises from deep beneath
the surface, it flows from the spring at a
year-round temperature of 71.1 degrees.

Although it is called Lafayette Blue Springs in
plural, the water actually originates from a
single boil instead of a spring group. It flows
down a short run into the Suwannee with
impressive force.

The spring's unique geology makes it a
perfect place to explore the karst topography
of the Suwannee River valley. The spring run
channel has cut a natural passage through
the limestone and the face of the bluff from
which it rises presents a nice cross-section
of the local subsurface.

The first visitors to Lafayette Blue Springs
were prehistoric American Indians. Early
Paleo-Indian hunters made their way down
the Suwannee thousands of years before the
time of Christ, searching for large game
animals such as mastodon and bison.

Archaeologists have found traces of these
early people along the entire length of the
Suwannee, particularly in the vicinity of the
large springs that feed the river. The springs
were used as water sources by large game
and the Paleo hunters would surround them
and attack to advantage using spears and
other weapons.

Over the thousands of years that followed the
arrival of these early people, civilizations rose
and fell in the Suwannee valley. Prehistoric
American Indians developed agriculture,
learned to make pottery and established
ceremonial centers.

Springs like Lafayette Blue remained
important to them, however, as sources of
water and locations to hunt and fish.
When Spanish conquistador Hernando de
Soto crossed the Suwannee River in 1539, it
was a natural border between the Timucua
Indians who lived east of the river and the
powerful Apalachee who lived to the west.

These tribes were all but wiped out by
English led raids during the late 17th and
early 18th centuries. They were replaced at
around the time of the American Revolution
by groups of Creek Indians who drifted down
from Georgia and Alabama.

These new arrivals were called
("wild ones") by the Spanish. Since there was
no letter "r" in the Muskogee and Hitchiti
languages known to them, they became
"Semilones" and finally Seminoles.

The area around Lafayette Blue Springs was
controlled by chief Boleck ("Bowlegs") and
his Alachua band when the First Seminole
War erupted in 1817. Their village at what is
now Old Town was destroyed by the U.S.
army of Major General Andrew Jackson in

White settlers followed and the Suwannee
became an important river for steamboat
commerce. The beautiful paddlewheel boats
churned up and down the river past Lafayette
Blue Springs, stopping every mile or so to
take on passengers or cargoes of cotton,
timber and naval stores.

By the time railroads and modern highways
drove the last of the picturesque boats out of
business in the 20th century, Lafayette Blue
Springs was a well known spot for picnics
and swimming. It remains popular with
people enjoying both activities today.

Lafayette Blue Springs State Park is also a
great place for hiking, birding and enjoying
nature. The park offers cabins, camping,
picnicking and trails, as well as a boat ramp.
Certified cave divers can explore the Green
Sink Cave System which feeds the spring.

The park is located at 799 N.W. Blue Spring
Road in Mayo, Florida. The entry fee is $5 per
vehicle ($4 for single occupant vehicles). The
park is open from 8 a.m. until sundown, 365
days a year.

Please click here for more information.
Lafayette Blue Springs
The amount of water flowing
from the spring into the
Suwanee ranges 14 to 168
million gallons per day.
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