Know Before You Go
Effective May 10, 2021: Falling Waters State Park is open. Visitors are expected to maintain distances of at least six feet apart.
Falling Waters State Park is located in the northeast corner of Washington County, four miles south of downtown Chipley. The park was initially acquired in 1962 by the Florida Board of Parks and Historic Memorials. After its acquisition, the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Fund leased the property to the Florida Park Service for management.
Though the park serves many purposes, the primary function is to protect a series of sinkholes, particularly the chimney sinkhole that Florida's highest waterfall cascades into before disappearing into the park's network of terrestrial caves. The park also highlights the historical legacy of the region due to its ideal location and resources while providing resource-based recreation and preserving the unique natural features.
Visitors can enjoy the resources of the park through camping, swimming, fishing, hiking and wildlife viewing.
Falling Waters State Park showcases the state's tallest waterfall, the only such feature in Florida. The waterfall descends into a 100-foot-deep and 20-foot-wide cylindrical sinkhole. Underlying the park is a karst plain that plays a crucial role in recharging the Floridian aquifer. In addition to the water resources, the park hosts expansive tracts of upland pine and upland hardwood forest natural communities.
The park's seepage slope hosts a number of significant and biologically diverse species including carnivorous pitcher plants and terrestrial orchids. In the vicinity of the sinkhole and waterfall is the park's terrestrial cave system, which provides habitat for various bats and cave crickets.
The land within the park's boundaries shows evidence of human inhabitance as early as 5,000 years ago. There are also numerous sites identified as being from the Weeden Island period, which was from 450 to 1000 AD. However, most of the park's more visible artifacts originate from the 19th and 20th centuries. An oil well, Civil War era gristmilll, and structures that were built soon after the park's establishment such as the picnic shelter are some of the cultural resources found at Falling Waters.
Though the stories surrounding the park's archaeological and historic sites are not clear, the historic resources seem to largely be a result of the nearby urban area's former industries and economic endeavors.