Portals into the past: the twin springs of Gemini Springs tap ancient waters from the Floridan aquifer.
They bubble through a network of limestone channels to breach the surface and nourish a lush hammock of cabbage palms with their humidity.
Ancient peoples lived along the spring run and left behind middens, the remains of shellfish they’d eaten, in piles along the shores.
The flowing fresh water attracted pioneer settlers over 150 years ago, when the Padgetts cleared the land and settled along the marshes on the outskirts of busy Enterprise.
By 1994, the land became a 210-acre preserve protecting its namesake springs and archaeological sites.
With both accessible trails and family-friendly recreation and wilder spaces to explore, Gemini Springs Park is a popular local getaway for outdoor recreation just off Interstate 4.
Resources for exploring the area
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Length: Up to 4.6 miles in three loops
Trailhead: 28.864557, -81.309475
Address: 37 Dirksen Drive, DeBary
Restrooms: flush toilets
Land Manager: Volusia County
Open sunrise to sunset. Canoe launch and canoe rentals available. No swimming is allowed.
Glass containers are not permitted in the park. Trails are shared with off-road cyclists.
Dogs are welcome. There is a dog park at one end of the park.
From Interstate 4 exit 108, go west on Dirksen Drive for 1.6 miles to the park entrance. Turn left and enter the park road. Where the park road splits, keep left and make the first right to head down to the canoe launch area.
Miles of paved and unpaved trails let you make your own loops through the extensive oak hammocks surrounding the twin springs.
The two pulsating wells of clear water at Gemini Springs Park make up the broad spring run pouring out into DeBary Bayou.
You can hike a half mile, a mile, or up to 4.6 miles on the park paths. There are many different possible routes, some of
Our favorite approach is via the parking area under the oaks near the dog park. Walk down past the picnic pavilions and playground and cross the first bridge on your right.
Immediately on the right is an observation deck overlooking the first of the two springs, a placid pool where tiny fish fight the current to stay in the bubbling flow.
The spring run starts here, flowing into the broader reservoir created when the Gray family built the dam and reservoir.
They wanted to hold the spring waters back for their cattle ranch. They also built the Spring House and arched bridges.
At this end, it looks like a primordial jungle of palms surrounding the springs. The second spring is on the opposite side of the broad spring run.
Crossing the next bridge, you have the option of following a side trail that loops around a placid sink, which makes for a short loop of 0.4 mile to the parking lot.
Our longer route follows the paved path under the grand live oaks and palms with its views across the waterway and reservoir.
Reaching the dam, you again have choices as to your trail route. Here we leave the pavement and slip along the edge of DeBary Bayou to the right.
This unpaved path takes you to great birding spots and past an ancient midden. Side paths into the oak forest tempt with shade.
Stick to the bayou’s edge, watching for alligators. In summer, the bayou is ablaze in blooms from tall marsh mallows in pink.
Along the edge of the bayou there is also an ancient live oak that lays almost on its side, tempting as a seat above the activity in the marshes.
Past this oak, a series of trails are usually mowed through the extensive wildflower meadow under the power lines.
The first one tacks to an oak hammock near the bayou, a spot with grand old live oaks laden in Spanish moss.
From here, you can either walk directly west on a mowed path or take the path along the bayou to loop even farther south and connect with the bike path there at 1.1 miles.
The paved bike path is the Spring to Spring Trail, which leads south to more hiking in the adjacent Gemini Addition and north through Gemini Springs Park.
There is also a 0.2 mile loop to the west of the bike path through the pine flatwoods. It crosses a connector trail to the DeBary Sunrail station in the middle.
Following the bike path north, you pass incoming mowed paths on the right before it enters the shade of the hammock.
A primitive camping area sits beneath the oaks on the left side of the trail. Watch for a turnoff into the woods on a natural path on the right in that area.
It leads past a stand of enormous elephant ear plants under the oaks. At the next junction, turn right.
This trail works its way around a large sink and back to a T within sight of the bridge to the spring you originally walked past, completing a 1.9 mile loop.
Turn right, and walk down along the paved path again to the dam. Cross it, enjoying the sweeping view of the bayou.
Look down into the water for schools of mullet, needlefish, and gar. There are often herons here partaking of the bounty.
On the north side of the dam, at 2.1 miles, wander down to the boardwalk deck at the canoe rental area.
Just past the canoe launch, the concrete path yields to a natural surface trail into an oak hammock, where Spanish moss thickly drapes the ancient live oaks.
Near a bench, interpretive signs talk about the habitat and the trees you’ll see in this shady hammock.
You can hike up to two miles on these deeply shaded loops. We describe them in detail in Five Star Trails Orlando.
On your return, follow the north side of the waterway from the dam towards the Spring House, another place to watch the constant parade of aquatic and bird life.
If the house isn’t rented, you can take in the view from its wooden porch under the oaks. Otherwise, head to the pier for the views.
Follow the path north along the reservoir to the cluster of palms where you see the sign that says “Spring” on the fence.
Step to the fence and look straight down to see the second of the Gemini Springs.
The paved path continues past a picnic area and the restrooms before passing the bridge leading to the other spring.
This is the end of the bigger loop. Continue along the paved path past the playground to return to the parking area.
If you wandered the two mile loop on the northeast side of the park, you’ve completed 4.6 miles. Skipping that section nets a 2.6 mile hike.
Learn more about the Spring to Spring Trail through this park
Spring to Spring Trail South
Linking Green Springs to Gemini Springs to Lake Monroe, the southern portion of the Spring to Spring Trail is also an important link in the Florida Coast to Coast Trail
Our virtual walk in the woods at Gemini Springs
More nearby to explore by foot or bike from Gemini Springs Park
Gemini Springs Addition
Protecting nearly 950 acres of lush oak hammocks, palm hammocks, and wetlands along the rim of Lake Monroe, Gemini Springs Addition has many options for hikers
Lake Monroe Park
Centered on a deeply shaded campground with direct access to the St. Johns River for boaters, Lake Monroe Park is a gateway to outdoor adventure
See our photos of Gemini Springs Park
Nature, or Not? Thoughts on the Gemini Springs Addition
Our opinion: why DeBary’s plans to take a portion of the Gemini Springs Addition for economic development is wrong on so many levels, and what you can do to express your concern.
Riding the C2C St. Johns River to Osteen
John explores the C2C between Osteen and the St. Johns River by starting at Lake Monroe Park and ending at Osteen, using the Spring-to-Spring and ECRRT trails through southern Volusia County
Focused on Gemini Springs
Gemini Springs Park is known for its interplay of open, sunlit spaces and deeply shaded oak hammocks. It made an ideal testing ground for our photography.
Exploring the Gemini Springs Addition
It took a serendipitous turn one morning for us to stumble across a new-to-us hiking trail not fifteen minutes from home, the Gemini Springs Addition. Here’s how we found it.
Official Map (PDF) Official Website