Leon Sinks Geological Area - Apalachicola National Forest
Encompassing 632,890 acres, Apalachicola National Forest is the largest national forest in Florida. It covers portions of Wakulla, Leon, Liberty and Franklin counties. The forest includes the Bradwell Bay Wilderness Area and the Mud Swamp / New River Wilderness Area. If you enjoy camping and being outdoors, you could easily spend your entire vacation exploring this area. The Leon Sinks Geological Area is just one of many interesting places to visit in Apalachicola National Forest.

The Leon Sinks Geological Area highlights Florida's karst topology - which is a porous limestone bedrock formed long ago from ancient coral reefs and shell deposits. Rain and groundwater dissolve the limestone to form sinkholes and underground caverns. The network of underground streams and water-filled caves extends all the way from Tallahassee to the Gulf of Mexico, and feeds into the Floridian aquifer - which is the source of much of our drinking water.

There are two loop hiking trails at Leon Sinks, connected by a crossover trail in the middle. The Sinkhole Trail is 2.5 miles long, and the Gumswamp Trail is 1.7 miles in length. the crossover trail running connects these two trails and is about a half mile. You can combine the two loops for a 4 mile hike.

Interesting features along the trails include the "Gopher Hole" - named because it appears like a giant gopher tortoise hole in the ground, leading to an underground cavern. At the junction of the Gumswamp Trail, the Sinkhole Trail, and the Crossover Trail, you'll find a "natural bridge" where Fisher Creek goes underground and then re-emerges a few hundred fet downstream.

If you stay is limited, hike out the Crossover trail to the Natural Bridge. The round trip (not including stops to sight-see) should take you less than an hour. This short hike will take you past Gopher Hole, over a boardwalk that crosses a gum tree swamp, and to the picturesque Natural Bridge area. If you have more time, be sure to hike the entire large loop. You'll enjoy nice elevation changes, boardwalks and stairs on your journey through swamp plains, past huge sinkholes, and through magnolia forests.

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