Blue Spring State Park

Orange City, Florida 32774

Blue Spring State Park

Blue Spring State Park Professional Review and Guide

"Includes: Spring Run Boardwalk, Forest Hiking Trail. The West Indian Manatee is believed to be the basis of the mermaid legend because of its human-like face and broad beaver-like tail. Manatees, which may weigh as much as a ton, eat up to a hundred pounds of vegetation every day. They once ranged from North Carolina to Texas, but destruction of their habitat through development and pollution has resulted in their almost complete extinction.

Only Florida has a resident population of the animals, believed to number somewhere between 2,800 to 3,000. Special Attractions: This is the only place in the world where a herd of up to one hundred endangered manatees is so easily visible from shore. Special weekend manatee programs during manatee season."

More Blue Spring State Park Professional Reviews and Guides

"The entry in Short Family Hikes for the Boardwalk Trail in Blue Spring State Park near Orlando described the history of the West Indian manatee and the boardwalk trail beside the spring run that the endangered mammals inhabit during the cool winter months.

Now it’s time to get into the real outdoors and a true wilderness hike through an undisturbed area bordering the St. Johns River. You’ll end up at a primitive campsite beside the river."

"The West Indian manatee is believed to be the basis of the mermaid legend because of its humanlike face and broad beaverlike tail. Manatees, which may weigh as much as a ton, eat up to a hundred pounds of vegetation every day. They once ranged from North Carolina to Texas, but destruction of their habitat through development and pollution has drastically reduced their population. Only Florida has a resident population of manatees believed to number somewhere around 3,300 animals, which qualifies them for the endangered list. The manatee, once a four-footed land creature, is a close relative of the elephant.

A manatee’s front flippers still have vestiges of what would have been nails. Manatees have no natural enemies, although human progress has certainly endangered their chances for survival. The boardwalk at Blue Spring State Park offers a remarkable look at as many as 140 (it keeps increasing!) of the animals in the clear spring water when they flee the neighboring St. Johns River for the warmer 72-degree waters of the spring run each winter."

Blue Spring State Park Reviews

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2/11/2012
This trail is almost entirely on a dirt access road to the primitive campsites. It is an easy walk about 3.5 miles one way and ends at the river. It is interesting to see the changes in ecosystems along the way.
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8/14/2009
After a 2.5 mile out hike and 2.5 return on a hot summer day in August it was in the back of our minds how we looked forward to jumping in and floating down the spring in that cool 73 degree water
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3/14/2006
Nothing real spectacular here. If you love scrub oak, gallberry,palmetto and walking on sugarsand roads this hike is for you. I would not make a specal trip just for the hike. The spring is very nice and very relaxing. I would think twice about visiting on a hot weekend, heavy herds of locals may be present.
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10/21/2001
The park ranger warned me that the last half of the trail was under water. She was right! - Actually the first big "puddle" appeared at the halfway point, but once I got around that (there is a dirt road visible from the trail at this point) I was able to walk for another 2 miles before I hit some waist deep swamp that I could not find a way around (I was alone in running shoes and got spooked with the black water above my knees.) This trail is 4 miles in and 4 back out the way you came. That may sound a little boring; however I might add that I have never - in my many Florida hikes - seen this much wildlife in a 4 mile stretch. In the beginning of the trail near the springs I saw some feral hogs, then some deer around the first swampy area, then 2 small rattlesnakes, an abundance of banana spiders, 4 wild turkey and a few gators in the St. Johns river. Although I never made it to the campsite at the end of the trail - I do plan to return in drier weather to camp overnight here. One of the most rewarding day hikes I have had in Florida.
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Trail Information

Orange City
Nearby City
Dog-friendly, Stroller/Wheelchair Accessible
Accessibility
0.5-4 miles
Distance
Several options
Trail Type
Easy
Access
Easy to Moderate
Skill Level
During the coldest parts of the year, from mid-December to early March. This is a popular park, often extremely crowded on weekends.
Season & Limits
Swimming
Additional Use

Activity Feed

Oct 2018