I thoroughly enjoy the task of entertaining out-of-town family and friends when they visit Tallahassee. One of the more common questions I am asked is, “Where is the best place to experience North Florida?” My suggestion typically depends on the time of year, but I stick to the trails regardless. With that being said, my go-to trail for exploration is the Leon Sinks Geological Area.
Why you ask? Simple. Leon Sinks offers some of the best looks at karst topography that North Florida offers. What is karst? Karst is basically the dissolution of limestone or other soluble rocks that offers a glimpse into the underlying aquifer. All types of which are viewed along the Leon Sinks trail. The trail is roughly a four-mile hike taking you through longleaf pines and wiregrass that once were prolific in this area. Soon thereafter the sinkholes begin appearing – wooden stakes begin popping up announcing the arrival of upcoming sinks, some of which aredry and others wet. The interpretative trail describes foliage as well as sinkholes.
Some sinkholes are more impressive than others, but all offer a unique story and timeframe. Some of my favorites include: Hammock sink, Big Dismal and Gopher Sink. I encourage everyone to take the time and explore thesemagnificent portals into the great Florida aquifer.
However, I have saved the best for last. Beside the awe-inspiring sinks that this trail offers, there is one portion that I never get enough of: Fisher Creek. There are many rivers in the Big Bend of Florida that disappear and pop up again. Fisher creek gives you an up close and personal experience of a disappearing body of water that springs back to the surface only a few yards away. The trail traverses along a natural bridge where you can witness both sides; a whirlpool action going underground and a current of water coming up on the other side.
If all that isn’t enough for you, feel free to extend your hike through the gum swamp along elevated walkways through the always wet portion of the karst plain. All this is located just south of Tallahassee right off of Hwy. 319 just before the Wakulla county line. Get out there and enjoy!