Tallahassee, FL: Leon Sinks Loop

Spend a laid-back afternoon in a unique geologic area chock full of swamps and sinkholes on a fascinating 4.4-mile loop in Apalachicola National Forest.
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Spend a laid-back afternoon in a unique geologic area chock full of swamps and sinkholes on a fascinating 4.4-mile loop in Apalachicola National Forest.

-Mapped by Eli Schelin

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 7.1

Waypoints

LSL001

Location: 30.309731, -84.346184

Begin hiking W toward Sinkhole Trail

LSL002

Location: 30.310369, -84.346786

L @ T onto Sinkhole Trail; at next T, go L to find Gopher Hole, a gaping sinkhole worth the short side trip

LSL003

Location: 30.30854, -84.348618

Straight @ T onto green-blazed Gumswamp Trail, a 1.7-mi. stretch through a classic FL swamp; may be wet in summer

LSL004

Location: 30.305651, -84.348307

High-water marks on tupelo trees give sense of rainy-season depth. Continue through Shadow and South Swamps

LSL005

Location: 30.30698, -84.352547

Continue past Bear Scratch Swamp. Cypress mixes with tupelo here

LSL006

Location: 30.30448, -84.358627

Trail swings N. See dogwood blossoms in March, smell faint citrus of magnolia blooms in April and May

LSL007

Location: 30.30854, -84.355843

Rejoin blue-blazed Sinkhole Trail. For short trip back to parking lot, go R and follow Crossover Trail .5 mi. to WPT 3

LSL008

Location: 30.309669, -84.356117

R @ Y to footbridge over Lost Stream. If area is flooded, turn L @ Y to cut around on a short bypass trail

LSL009

Location: 30.31761, -84.355667

Magnolia Sink: Groundwater draining from eroded limestone caves can collapse roof, forming a sinkhole

LSL010

Location: 30.31558, -84.351173

Observation platform offers a look over Big Dismal Sink. Steep, plant-lined walls plunge into water 100 ft. below

LSL011

Location: 30.314779, -84.347252

Hammock Sink: Divers found underwater rooms, some 6 stories tall, in this depression; continue around a few more sinks to WPT 2; backtrack to trailhead

Fisher Creek Sink

Location: 30.308067, -84.356224

Fisher Creek Sink ©Eli Schelin

Black Sink

Location: 30.313957, -84.353714

This is one of several wet sinkholes in this area. ©Eli Schelin

Hammock Sink

Location: 30.314838, -84.346977

Hammock Sink ©Eli Schelin

Big Dismal Sink

Location: 30.315662, -84.351593

Big Dismal Sink ©Eli Schelin

Lost Stream

Location: 30.309755, -84.355774

Wooden footbridge crosses the stream. ©Eli Schelin

Pine and Hardwood Forest

Location: 30.305048, -84.358269

Gallberry and fetterbush grow among the slash pine in moist locations and longleaf pines grow on sandy ridges along the trail. Also look for red and white oak, tupelo, hickory, ash, maple, and beech. ©Eli Schelin

Tupelo Trees in Shadow Swamp

Location: 30.305779, -84.348518

Notice the high water marks showing the water level during rainy season. ©Eli Schelin

Gopher Hole

Location: 30.308666, -84.347595

The Gopher Hole is a unique sink and member of the Leon Sinks under water cave system. ©Eli Schelin