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Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
148.00 ft (45.11 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
3.10 mi (4.99 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Florida: land of sunshine, beaches, hurricanes, alligators and sinkholes. Leon Sinks Geological Area is part of the Apalachicola National Forest and showcases the mysteries of karst topography. Karst is a generic term used to describe the characteristics of erosion of carbonate rocks such as limestone and dolomite. What use to be a water-filled trail that connected to Wakulla Springs is now easily navigable by foot. Pools of turquoise water vanish, only to reappear just a few hundred feet away. A labyrinth of underground caverns play peek-a-boo with visitors above.

There are two loop trails within the park: the Sinkhole Trail and the Gum Swamp Trail. This guide will focus on the Sinkhole Trail.

There is is ample parking, restrooms and water at the trailhead. A short walk will bring you to the start of the loop. Proceed counter-clockwise, and within a quarter mile you will come upon your first sinkholes, Dry Sink and Turner Sink. These two leave much to be desired, and if it’s a dry weather period, you may not see any water. At the half-mile mark, you will approach the turn for Hammock Sink, which has a rich blue color that is best enjoyed during winter months. This sink opens into a large underground cave system within the Floridan aquifer. The system has been mapped by professionally divers, who have documented over 28 miles of underwater caves connecting Leon Sinks to Wakulla Springs.

 Up the hill and around the corner from Hammock Sink is the Big Dismal, the biggest sink on the trail. Big Dismal extends more than 130 feet down to the aquifer. A nice platform provides a safe viewing area to look down into the depths of this crater.

The trail begins to take you out of the hardwoods and on through open longleaf pine sandhills and back in through the flatwoods, where you will next encounter Fisher Creek. This creek appears in one area and then quickly disappears under the ground, only to reappear a few hundred feet further down. This water is pulled down into a sinkhole and flows under a natural bridge of limestone and then reemerges.

As you continue you will reach Black Gum Swamp. A wooden walkway gently takes you above and through these knotty, sure-footed trees. The Black Gum is also known as the Black Tupelo Tree. Once out of the swamp, the trail continues around and ends back at the side path for the trailhead.

Don’t be too concerned if you spot a dark snake; it is more than likely only a harmless Florida banded water snake. It is still better to keep your distance because venomous moccasins also find this habit home. There is no swimming or diving allowed in the sinks due to safety and preservation concerns.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

General Day Use Fee

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Easy to navigate. Diverse wildlife and terrain.

Cons

Tricky footing. Sides of cliffs are steep and fragile.

Trailhead Elevation

38.00 ft (11.58 m)

Highest point

71.00 ft (21.64 m)

Features

Flushing toilets
Potable water
Cave
Geologically significant
Wildlife

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Biking

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

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