Saturday, March 3, 2012

Rock Springs Run Trail

We were up and out early this morning for the drive over to Rock Springs Run State Reserve.  We had about a 60 mile drive on secondary roads passing through several small towns.  With lower speed limits and lots of traffic lights it took almost two hours to make the trip.

Rock Spring Run State Reserve is part of the Florida State Park system.  I was unfamiliar with the term “run” as it relates to a waterway.  Gene had to enlighten me.  A “run” is what I would call a stream, creek, or river.  Rock Spring Run is an 8-mile long river originating from an artesian spring. It forms a portion of the boundary of Rock Springs Run State Reserve and eventually empties into the Wekiva River.  According to the brochure, Rock Springs Run offers some fine canoeing.

Within the Reserve there are 14 miles of hiking trails as well as bike and horse trails.  We went there, of course, to hike and had selected a 7-mile loop for today.  There is an entry fee of $3 per vehicle.  We parked at parking area number 1--the parking area for hikers.  Parking area number 2 is for bicyclists and parking areas 3 and 4 are for horses.  Parking area number 1 will only accommodate about 5 cars.  There is an information kiosk with park information and trail maps, but there is no restroom or water.

We got started on our hike about 9:30.  We were excited about the trail at the beginning.  After leaving the road and hiking in the counterclockwise direction, we immediately entered an area of pines.  We were mostly in the shade on a wide, well maintained trail.  After about a quarter mile or so we were in a large expanse of saw palmetto.  Not long after that we were on a deeply rutted forest road, probably an old logging road.  We hiked along for about a mile and a half dodging the deepest ruts and in full sun before we decided it just wasn’t any fun.  After a very brief discussion, we decided to turn back.

Yellow butterwort
Apparently, Rock Spring Run can be accessed from the hiking trails, but we weren’t in the area for that.  We did pass a “lake”, but the trail didn’t get close enough for us to actually see water.  Since it’s been so dry in Florida, I’m wondering if this small lake was dry.

Even though we aborted our hike, it still was a fine outing.  I especially enjoyed the change of scenery from what we’ve been seeing in the Withlacoochee State Forest.  Twenty-five miles east of here we started seeing short, rolling hills and small ponds and lakes.  The vegetation was much greener there than here, also.  We passed a tree farm and several nurseries and citrus groves.

We stopped in Tavares for a quick lunch and were home by 2 PM.  It’s just as well we cut our hike short, because the wind had worked itself up into some pretty strong gusts.  We were able to get our awning stowed away before it got damaged.
We’ll put Rock Spring Run Reserve on our list for next year, but on a cooler day.  We were so hot this morning, we really didn’t give the park a fair chance.  And, I’d like to see Rock Spring Run.  We were so focused on getting in the air conditioned car and getting some lunch, we didn’t take time to search out the river.  Gotta do that.

That was our day.  Thanks for tagging along.


  1. sounded like you had a great day even if you had to cut it short!..the wind and rain and tornado's seem to be playing havoc with those of you in the southeast!!

  2. Yea, thats a tough decision to make- but I think you did right. I know a few times I wished we had turned around.

  3. Some hikes just turn out that way but given the hot weather it was no doubt the best decision. It sure feels good to get back to a vehicle and turn on a quick blast of A/C!!