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.
HISTORY OF THE AREA
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.
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.
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.
The concessionaire does NOT rent tubes, canoes, masks, or snorkels, but there are several vendors outside the park which provide these and other services.
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.
Canoeing & 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tubes can be rented from vendors outside of the park or visitors can bring their own. Tubes must be smaller than 5 feet in diameter to float freely down the natural river.
Summer SeasonBegins the Saturday before Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Three tubing options are available.
3 hour float from the North Entrance: 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 will drop off all of the passengers and tubes at the North picnic area and drive to the South parking lot to park. During the approximately 45 minute wait, the passengers can swim in the spring, play at the playground, or picnic. A shuttle van will take only the driver from the South parking lot to the North to meet his or her party at the North picnic area. Once the driver arrives, the group may tube down the river together. 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 where a tram takes you to your vehicle.Note: The last river trip is sold at 2:00 p.m. unless daily carrying capacity has been reached. The last time to enter the river at the North Entrance is 3:00 p.m.
1.5 hour float from Mid-point Launch at the South Entrance: Enter the park from the South Entrance off of US 27. Park in the parking lot and ride the tram to Mid-point. You can exit the river at Dampier?s Landing, a 5 minute walk to the parking lot and picnic area, or continue to the last take-out point where a tram takes you to the parking lot. Access to Mid-point closes at 4:00 p.m. or when carrying capacity reaches 2,250 tubers which ever comes first.
45 minute float from Dampier's Landing at the South Entrance: Enter the park from the South Entrance off of SW 27. Park in the parking lot and a shaded, scenic, 5 minute walk will take you to the river. Float to the last take-out point where a tram takes you back to the parking lot. Access to Dampier?s Landing closes at 5:00 p.m.
Off-SeasonBegins the day after Labor Day until the Friday before Memorial Day; tubing is ONLY available through the South Entrance off US 27. The shallow and sensitive north section of the river is given the opportunity to regrow and recover from the heavy traffic of the summer. To tube from Mid-point or Dampier?s Landing, park in the South parking area. There is no tram service in the off-season.
Mid-point Launch: Follow the Mid-point trail or tram road to the Mid-point 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 an additional hour to the last tube take-out. Return to the main parking area via the tram road (about a 15 minute walk).
Dampier?s Landing: Follow the trail behind the concession building straight to the river (about a 5 minute walk). You will float for 45 minutes to the last take-out. Return to the main parking area via the tram road (about a 15 minute walk).
Well-behaved dogs are welcome at Ichetucknee Springs State Park. They must be kept on a 6-foot leash at all times and can not be left unattended for more than a half-hour. Dogs are not permitted in the springs or river.
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.