What a delight to find a cool pool of bright blue water beneath tall cypresses—and a trailhead at the same time! Just off I-10 in the eponymous town of Ponce De Leon, this first-magnitude spring pumps out 14 million gallons of water a day, creating Spring Creek.
Location: Ponce de Leon
Length: 0.6 mile
Lat-Long: 30.720991, -85.930825
Type: Two loops
Fees / Permits: state park entrance fee
Bug factor: low to moderate
Restroom: near the springs
Trail bridges can be slippery when wet. For a chilly dip after your hike, be sure to bring a bathing suit! For more information: Ponce de Leon Springs State Park
From I-10 exit 96 at Ponce de Leon, drive north on SR 81 to US 90; turn right. Continue to SR 181A and turn right; follow the signs to the park entrance..
Two interpretive nature trails showcase the habitats shaped by all this water, both starting at the spring. The 0.3-mile Spring Creek Trail leads through a river bluff forest, following a tannic sand-bottomed stream with sandy beaches as it traverses two islands created by the confluence of creeks—one coming from the spring, the other from a nearby floodplain. The 0.3-mile Sandy Creek Trail loops along the creek flowing out of Ponce De Leon Spring, leading you through a cypress floodplain and more bluff forest where spruce pine and magnolia dominate.