Manager's Message

Summer is over, and with a hint of fall in the air, now is the best time to experience the Ichetucknee. Come enjoy a peaceful stroll along our nature trails located at the North entrance of the park. Take a dip in the head spring or canoe the river. Scuba diving is available at Blue Hole from October to March.

Tubing is ONLY available through the South entrance located off US 27. Please note, the tram or shuttle service is not available during this time of year. While at the South end, stop and enjoy our new Education and Exhibit Center. Open Thursday through Monday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., you will be treated to a one of a kind experience.
- Sherry McGowan, Park Manager

Welcome to Ichetucknee Springs State Park

The crystalline Ichetucknee River flows six miles through shaded hammocks and wetlands before it joins the Santa Fe River. In 1972, the head spring of the river was declared a National Natural Landmark by the U. S. Department of the Interior. From the end of May until early September, tubing down the river is the premier activity in the area. In addition to tubing, visitors can enjoy picnicking, snorkeling, scuba diving, canoeing, swimming, hiking, and wildlife viewing. White-tailed deer, raccoons, wild turkeys, wood ducks and great blue herons can be seen from the river. Picnic areas, equipped with tables and grills, are available throughout the park. A full-service concession offers food, refreshments, and outdoor products from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Tubes plus snorkeling and diving equipment can be rented from private vendors outside the park. Located four miles northwest of Fort White, off State Roads 47 and 238.

Hours of Operation

Florida state parks are open from 8 a.m. until sundown 365 days a year.

Driving Directions

From the north, take I-75 south to exit 423. Take SR 47 south, turn on CR 238 and follow the park signs.

From the south, take I-75 north to exit 399. Take US 441 north to the city of High Springs. Take US 27 north to Ft. White, stay on US 27 north approximately 4 miles to the South Park Entrance.

Park Fees

Admission Fee (no river use) - $5.00 per vehicle (limit 8 people per vehicle). Single Car Occupant - $3.00

Motorcycle Fee (one or two persons) - $3.00

Canoeing Fee: $5.00 per person year round.

Tubing
North Entrance-Summer Season (May 27, 2005 through September 5, 2005)- $5.00 per person (children 5 and under are free).

South Entrance-Summer Season (May 27, 2005 through September 5, 2005) - $5.00 per person (children 5 and under are free).

South Entrance-Off-Season (From after Labor Day until the day before Memorial Day) - $5.00 per vehicle (limit 8 people per vehicle).


Ichetucknee Springs State Park

12087 S.W. US Hwy 27
Fort White, Florida 32038
Phone: 386-497-2511
Fax: Contact Park for Number


Citizen Support Organization

Friends of Ichetucknee Springs, Inc.
Craig Harper, 196 SW Mission Springs Court
Ft. White, FL 32038

Visitor Service Provider

Sheila Mackenzie Route 1, Box 1586 O'Brien, FL 32071 (386) 497-4988

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Activities at Ichetucknee Springs State Park

Canoeing and Kayaking

Canoeing is available year-round at both the NORTH and SOUTH Entrances, and is a great way to enjoy the natural beauty of the river.

During the summer-season, there is an in-park shuttle service available.

During the off-season, you must arrange your own transportation service either with a local canoe outfitter, or private vehicles.

Canoe rentals are available from local vendors outside the park.

The one-way canoe trip from the NORTH Entrance (UPPER LAUNCH) to the LAST TAKE-OUT POINT is about 2 hours (see park map).

Canoeing is recommended during the weekdays during the summer-season due to the high volume of tuber traffic.

Canoes must yield right-of-way to tubers.

Canoeing Fee: $5.00 per person year round.

Concessions

A full service concession stand is located at the SOUTH Entrance. It is open every day during the summer season, and may be operational during the off-season depending on park visitation. The concessionaire carries a wide assortment of food, refreshments, and personal items. Lockers are availble to rent for the storage of your personal belongings.

The concessionaire does NOT rent tubes, canoes, masks, or snorkels, but there are several vendors outside the park which provide these and other services.

Nature Trails

There are three unique hiking trails located at the North Entrance of the park. Trail maps are available at the Ranger Station or information booth.

Blue Hole Trail: A 1/2 mile walk through the Ichetucknee forest and cypress flood plain, which leads to Blue Hole Spring, the largest spring in the park.

Trestle Point Trail: This shaded path winds along the crystal clear waters of the Ichetucknee River. The self- guided trail will take you back in time, when in the early 1900's, phosphate ore was mined in the area. Walk time is approximately 30 minutes.

Pine Ridge Trail: A frequently overlooked area of the park is the majestic sandhill, with its towering longleaf pine and wide open vistas. View the natural diversity of this unique and vanishing ecosystem. The self- guided 2 mile loop trail will take approximately 1 hour 15 minutes.

Picnicking

Picnicking is available at the NORTH and SOUTH Entrances. Areas are equipped with picnic tables and grills. Facilities are first-come first-served. Covered picnic pavilions can be reserved. To reserve a pavilion, call (386) 497-4690.

Scuba Diving

SCUBA diving is allowed at Blue Hole Spring from October through March.

Divers must be cave certified.

SCUBA diving is not permitted in the river or other springs.

There is a 1/2 mile trail to Blue Hole Spring; many divers bring a cart or wheelbarrow to transport gear.

Dives cannot extend past 5:00 p.m.

Diving Fee: $10.00 per person, October through March.

Snorkeling

Snorkeling is available in designated areas

Swimming

Swim at your own risk/ Life guard not on duty.

Swimming/snorkeling is available every day of the year from 8 am until sundown at the North Entrance. Here, you may swim at either Ichetucknee Spring (head spring) or Blue Hole Spring.

Ichetucknee Spring provides for excellent swimming; however, Blue Hole Spring should be used by experienced swimmers due to depth and strong current.

Tubing

NOTE: To keep the Ichetucknee River pristine, NO food, drink, tobacco or disposable items may be taken on the river.

NO pets are allowed on the river.


North Entrance-Summer Season
May 27, 2005 through September 5, 2005.

Cost: $5.00 per person (children 5 and under is free).

Should you wish to tube the entire river, a 3-1/2 hour float, it is suggested that you arrive early, as we have a daily limit of 750 tubers per day at the north entrance off CR 238. The driver of the vehicle, after paying entrance fees, will need to drop all passengers and tubes at north picnic area. Only the driver takes the vehicle to the main parking lot at the south entrance and boards the SHUTTLE VAN to return to the north picnic area; then rejoins his/her party to float down the river. You can exit the river at Dampier's Landing, a 2-1/2 hour float, with a 5 minute walk back to your vehicle; or, exit the river at the last take-out point. You will return via a tram to the south parking area.
Note: The last river trip is sold at 2:00 p.m. unless daily carrying capacity has been reached. The last shuttle back to the North Entrance is 2:45 p.m. The last time to enter the river at the North Entrance is 3:00 p.m.

South Entrance-Summer Season
May 27, 2005 through September 5, 2005.

Cost: $5.00 per person (children 5 and under is free).

Mid-point Launch closes at 4:00 p.m. or when carrying capacity reaches 2,250 tubers which ever comes first.

Dampier's Landing closes at 5:00 p.m. or when parking area reaches capacity. The trams are operational the entire summer season. Park your vehicle and board the tram that will carry you and your tube to the mid-point tube launch area. You can float for 30 minutes, exit at Dampier's landing and walk 5 minutes back to your vehicle, or continue the float one more hour to the last take-out point. You will return to the parking area via tram.

South Entrance-Off-Season

From after Labor Day until the day before Memorial Day, tubing is ONLY available through the south entrance off US 27. Park in the main parking area and follow the midpoint trail or tram road to the launch area, midpoint dock (about a 15 minute walk). You can then float 1/2 hour to Dampier's landing and walk 5 minutes back to your vehicle, or continue floating for 1 hour to the last tube take-out. Return to the main parking area via the tram road (about a 15 minute walk).

Cost: $5.00 per vehicle (limit 8 people per vehicle). An Honor Fee of $3.00 per vehicle (limit 8 people per vehicle) or $1.00 per person is payable at the pay station when the Entrance Station is closed.

Visitors Center

Visit our Education and Exhibit Center and be treated to a one of a kind experience. Dedicated to the interpretation of urban growth, water usages, and their affects on our springs and river, you will join cave divers as they explore and investigate activities taking place deep within our recharge basin. Through interactive and interpretive displays, "go with the flow" as you trace this precious resource from source to boiling spring. Complete the journey sharing in the mystery as you enjoy a movie in our state of the art theater.

Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife viewing is possible at this park

Special Events for Ichetucknee Springs State Park


Frequently Asked Questions about Ichetucknee Springs State Park

Question: How cold is the water?
Answer: The water remains a beautiful 73 degrees every day of the year.

Question: How many springs are there in the park?
Answer: There are nine named springs and a number of smaller springs.

Question: Which spring is the deepest?
Answer: Blue Hole is the largest spring in the park.

Question: How early do I need to be in line at the North end to go tubing on the weekends in the summer season?
Answer: It recommended that you are present at the time of the park's opening at 8:00 a.m. Due to environmental restrictions, we only allow 750 tubers per day from the North end.

Question: Does the park rent tubes or canoes?
Answer: No, you must rent tubes and canoes from vendors located outside the park or bring them from home.

Question: How fast does the river flow?
Answer: The River flows at rate of approximately one mile per hour.

Question: Do you have camping at the park?
Answer: No, however, there are private campgrounds located near the north entrance or at O'leno State Park 12 miles to the east, just north of High Springs, Florida.

Ichetucknee Springs State Park History


Humans have lived and toiled near these beautiful springs for over 10,000 years. The Ichetucknee River and the surrounding forest have been home to many. Prehistoric creatures once roamed its banks. Native Americans hunted and fished here. A Spanish mission was built next to one of the many springs. In the 1800's, a grist mill was in operation here. Travelers on the Bellamy Road often stopped at the main boil to quench their thirst. Early in the 20th century, phosphate was extracted from small surface mines which are still visible, although now heavily wooded. At the same time the turpentine and timber industries also flourished. From the prehistoric to the pioneer, Ichetucknee's history is as deep and varied as the springs themselves.