A 100 foot waterfall is impressive anywhere. A 100 foot waterfall that disappears into the earth is amazing. The fact that this one calls Florida home is incredible. Seriously, who associates Florida with waterfalls? Yet here it is in the North Florida uplands.
Falling Waters State Park, appropriately named, is home to this rare waterfall. Situated on one of the highest elevations in Florida, this park dazzles and delights. The focal point is, of course, the picturesque waterfall, cascading over the cliff top and plunging straight down… into the bowels of the earth. And it’s gone. As in disappears from view. No stream exits the bottom of the falls — and nobody knows where it goes.
How this can be is best explained by a stroll through the park. This park is sinkhole central. The Sinkhole Trail is a short loop through a verdant forest rife with sinkholes. Sinkholes that could swallows tractor-trailers whole — some more than 100 feet deep. Majestic trees fight to cling to Mother Earth, even as she’s falling away, portions of their massive roots exposed. It’s an eerie feeling, as if the very ground may give way beneath your feet at any moment. Or the trees will start walking away in search of more stable firmament, like the Ents from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.
The Wiregrass Trail tracks above the waterfall. The effects of collapsing terra firma are evident here, as well, though not as pronounced as the Sinkhole Trail. This trail takes you through upland forests with boardwalks over burbling brooks that presumably feed the waterfall. The areas of pine forest sport understories of wiregrass, as the trail name implies. Other areas are covered with deciduous vegetation and tangles of undergrowth that obscure the little streams to some extent; still, the sound of cascading water & glints of reflected sunlight assure you that the feeder streams are nearby.
Park map courtesy of Falling Waters State Park
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