Some of the most pristine of the large springs of Florida is Gainer Springs. If one wants to admire this wonder of nature: take a canoe and paddle through a near-pristine forest to these beautiful springs!
Map of the site
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Group of springs
The group of Gainer Springs includes 13 diverse springs which are located around Enconfina Creek below (south) from FL20 road.
- Nine of these springs (numbered #1A to #1I) are located on a small stream east of Enconfina Creek – the springs themselves create this stream. Some of these springs are smaller, some – larger. The most outstanding: Gainer Spring #1C is named also McCormick Spring and is an impressive 7.5 m wide and up to 3.5 m deep pool with a beautiful fountain of sediments in it.
- Gainer Spring #2 (Emerald Spring) is the most beautiful. The spring is a crack at the base of some 7 – 8 m tall limestone cliff at the west bank of Enconfina Creek. The spring basin has a diameter of some 9 – 10 m and is up to 3.5 – 4 m deep. The water has a fantastic blue color and the powerful spring creates a constant boil in the sediments.
- Gainer Spring #3 is the most impressive one – it has a basin with a diameter of some 75 m. On its bottom are several powerful vents with a constant boil of sediments – an eternal fountain of sand and small pieces of shells. Depth up to 3.5 m.
- Gainer Spring #4 is the southernmost in this spring group. It flows from the base of some 6 m tall limestone bluff.
- Gainer Spring #5 is some 50 m south of Emerald Spring. Water comes from the base of a limestone cliff into a shallow pool of spring water.
Geology and history of Gainer Springs
These powerful springs emerge on the border of the impermeable Intermediate System and Eocene – Paleocene Floridian Aquifer System under it. Floridian Aquifer System consists of limestone and bears the water – thus the springs gush out from it on the rim of the Intermediate System.
Springs were known to local Creek, Cherokee, and Seminole people who called this place Enconfina – Natural Bridge because in earlier times there was a natural limestone bridge across this stream further to the south from the springs. This natural bridge collapsed in the 19th century together with the road which was built over it.
Springs were named after William Gainer – a surveyor of General Andrew Jackson. He noticed this beautiful area during a field trip with Jackson’s army in 1818 when this part of Florida was investigated as a future development area. He returned here and built his home.
Gainer built a new bridge in this area after the collapse of a natural bridge.
Gorgeous escape from civilization
Gainer Springs are located in a private area and owners do not want to see visitors walking through this area. But there is an excellent way to see the springs: with a canoe which can be rented nearby, at FL20 road. Driving through the pristine forest toward these gorgeous, blue springs is rewarding and quite a few visitors take also a bath in the springs – the temperature of the water is around 21.6 °C. In fact, there are quite many visitors, especially on weekends.
The water around the springs is unusually lucid and the sight of fish and the eternal movement of sand at the spring vents is fascinating!
- Gainer Springs Group. Springs Fever: A Field & Recreation Guide to 500 Florida Springs. Last accessed on 5th April 2019.
- Kristopher Barrios and Angela Chelette, The Northwest Florida Water Management District. Enconfina Creek Spring Inventory, Washington and Bay Countries, FL. Water Resources Special Report 04-02. Last accessed on 6th April February 2019.
Florida is the tropical paradise of the mainland United States. Over the last century, it has experienced fabulous changes, turning from a forgotten, swampy badland into a densely populated and rich land. Highlights of Florida include the architecture of the late 19th and 20th centuries as well as its giant springs and caves.
Powerful natural freshwater springs belong to the most fascinating monuments of nature. Even more exciting is the diversity of unusual springs – mineral springs, hot springs, submarine springs as well as the unusual black smokers. Especially beautiful are such natural rarities as travertine, silica, or salt terraces created by warm and hot springs and, especially, geysers.
The United States of America is one of the largest countries in the world and offers a wide array of diverse attractions: many are unsurpassed in the world. Highlights of the United States are cliffs, canyons, and rock formations, several impressive downtowns of cities with numerous skyscrapers as well as a rich array of geothermal features, and the giant forest of California.
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The author started gathering information for this unique guidebook of Florida Springs over 40 years ago. In 1973 Robert F. Burgess began diving and photographing the underwater caves associated with Florida’s labyrinthine freshwater springs long before scuba divers had such things as depth gauges, personal flotation devices, or cave divers training programs. He attributes his survival in what has been called “the world’s most dangerous sport” to the fact that he always stayed within sight of the way out of these underwater sites.