Walk the Green Sink Trail

a trail extends straight through trees and saw palmettos.

Less than a half-mile in length, the Green Sink Trail takes visitors on a brief trip through the shaded hammock and sinkholes that define Lafayette Blue Springs State Park.

Natural communities, consisting mostly of upland mixed forests of oak, hickory, and maple, are in abundance in this area of North Florida. A calming walk in the woods will reveal many different species of plants and animals, changing drastically in just a few hundred feet. The drier upland section with bright azaleas of late spring and dead leaves of fall and winter gives way to the river birches and lilies that grow closer to water. If you are fortunate, you may catch sight of an elusive beaver, or at least evidence of their gnawing at the base of many trees. Playful otters and the more sedate Suwannee cooters may be seen frolicking in the water or sunning on logs.

Perhaps the most fascinating part of this short walk is the journey along a series of sinkholes surrounded by majestic cypress trees. These sinkholes are evidence of the dynamic karst geologic formation, limestone underlying a large portion of Florida that is close to the surface and pockmarked with holes and hollows. Sinkholes form when slightly acidic rain bores into this limestone, and unsupported earth and rock eventually collapse into the hollow. Many of these sinkholes fill with rain and groundwater, forming a recharging area for the aquifer and springs, including Green Sink, Egg Sink and Snake Sink, all of which can be seen from the trail.

Hikers may notice curious wooden structures placed around the sinks and springs of the park, including along this trail. They are in fact water monitoring stations, housing equipment that can gather real-time data on things like temperature, pH and overall quality of the water. Why is this important? The choices we make on the land in the park, and in the greater surrounding Suwannee watershed, can have major effects on the quality of the water of our springs. Land use and other factors can alter what we love about the springs.

The Green Sink Trail is short and sweet - less than 30 minutes provides a tour of the sinkholes and forests that define this park. Interpretive signs funded by North Florida Springs Alliance, citizen support organization, add to the opportunity to learn more while wandering. The splash of an alligator, croaking of frogs and buzzing of insects make up a chorus of nature that can refresh the souls and minds of all who visit Lafayette Blue Springs State Park.