The widest waterfall in Florida, Steinhatchee Falls is both geologically intriguing and an important piece of Florida history. Tannic waters carved deeply into the coastal limestone shelf to create this broad but shallow waterfall.
Lat-Lon: 29.746693, -83.342682
Fees / Permits: free
Restroom: portable toilet at the trailhead
Leashed pets welcome. Canoe launch and picnic tables provided.
From US 19/27 at the crossroads of Tennille (the turnoff for Steinhatchee), drive south for 2 miles on SR 51 towards Steinhatchee, passing the trailhead for the Steinhatchee Trail and CR 491. Make the left after that, at the Steinhatchee Falls sign. This is a dirt road with divots and puddles you may have to circumvent. At the T, turn right. Follow the road for 0.8 miles to where it ends at the parking area at the falls.
A compelling destination since we first learned about it, Steinhatchee Falls is different every time you see it. Like most Florida waterfalls, its beauty is determined by the volume of water flowing over the rocks. There are times we’ve seen it submerged enough you could paddle right over it upstream, and other times when it drops a few feet when the river is low. Here are a few of our views of it over the years.
Walking downstream past the canoe launch, along the unmarked footpath that leaves the parking area and heads into the woods, you can see how the rise and fall of waters along this floodplain river, which rises from extensive floodplain forests in the Mallory Swamp, erodes and undercuts the river bluffs.
Upstream, the half-mile Steinhatchee Falls Loop guides you past several points of interest. Immediately above the falls, wagon ruts of the Old Bellamy Road, a pioneer migrant route into Florida in the 1800s, are carved deeply into the limestone. You can also see the wagon path route on the far side of the river.
A little farther upstream, you can walk out to the edge of the river to see how placid the waters are above the falls.
Finding your way along this loop can sometimes be tricky. Turn back if you’re not sure where the path leads next.
A separate trail, the Steinhatchee Trail, starts just outside the gates of this recreation area and leads a linear 3.3 miles through forests and fields back to the trailhead along SR 51.
Paddlers can put in below the falls for a gentle, scenic, and wild 8-mile trip downstream to the town of Steinhatchee. Along this obsidian-colored waterway with several Class I rapids, enjoy the meanders through dark river hammocks and forested residential areas before meeting the tidal basin, with a take-out at Fiddler’s Restaurant.