Florida’s broadest waterfall pours over a lip of limestone in the Steinhatchee River, where you can see the ruts of settler’s wagons deeply pressed into the rock above the falls. While you can drive down a bumpy dirt road to get to the falls, you can also find your way there by foot along the 3.3-mile Steinhatchee Trail, which meanders through oak hammocks, scrubby flatwoods, and bluff forest in Steinhatchee Falls Water Management Area for a spectacular finish at the falls.
Length: 3.3 miles
Lat-Lon: 29.774350, -83.329200
Fees / Permits: free
Difficulty: easy to moderate
Bug factor: moderate to high
Restroom: usually a portable toilet at both trailheads
There are marked trailheads with a kiosk at both ends of the trail. At Steinhatchee Falls, there is a picnic area and canoe launch. This is an area where hunting is permitted, so check hunting seasons beforehand and always wear a blaze orange shirt or vest if hiking during hunting season.
From US 19/27 at the crossroads of Tennille (the turnoff for Steinhatchee), drive a half mile south on SR 51 towards Steinhatchee. Turn left into the parking area.
The trail starts at a trailhead sign at the edge of the pines. Marked with white diamonds, it is a multi-use trail shared with equestrians and cyclists. While it starts out in a pine plantation, you continue into more natural habitats such as hardwood hammock, scrubby flatwoods, and upland forest with magnolias and hickories.
After 1.5 miles, there are rocks and roots underfoot as the footpath swings closer to, but not in sight of, the Steinhatchee River. You cross several forest roads and use one as part of the trail for a short distance through an area that was once farmed. Reaching a fork in the trail for a loop trail just before the 3-mile mark, keep left for the scenic route along the river. Atamasco lilies carpet the forest floor with white in early spring.
How spectacular the falls are depends on the river’s flow. At their best, Steinhatchee Falls drop four or five feet off the limestone lip for the width of the river. But if the river is high, you may see nothing but a hydraulic above the surface where the falls would be, or you may only see a foot or less of drop.