Within the Apalachicola National Forest, the Leon Sinks Geological Area lies off of US 319 covering (in a loop) about 5 miles’ worth of trails. The loop is divided into three well-marked trails. The Sinkhole trail (on the north side of the loop) covers about 2.5 miles passing various sinkholes like the Big Dismissal and the Tiny Sink. Leon Sinks is home to about 18 sinkholes, some wet and some dry, as part of North Florida’s extensive underground cavern system. Although, there is no swimming permitted in the sinkholes, the large ones filled with deep blue water are sites well worth the hike. The Gum Swamp trail (on the south side of the loop) covers about 1.7 miles through some of Florida’s swampland; this loop also passes a few sinkholes. For most of the trail the path remains wide, but the end of the trail grows narrow as it runs along a stream eventually meeting with the Fisher Creek sinkhole.
Connecting the Gum Swamp trail, which is marked yellow, and the Sinkhole trail,
which is marked blue, is the Crossover trail. The Crossover trail is only about .5 miles long. The trail passes a swamp area that has a bridge path for those wanting to enjoy the wetland wildlife—sadly, this bridge is currently closed due to disrepair. The cross over trail also passes by one dry sinkhole before merging with the Gum Swamp and Sinkhole trails at Fisher Creek. Warning: getting close to some of the sinkholes may entail a climb, which may be dangerous.
Leon Sinks is a great place for a day hike or even an afternoon walk through Florida’s natural beauty. Although the terrain is relatively flat, aside from a few rooted areas, there is no biking permitted. Leon Sinks is a great place for Cross Country runners, because the terrain remains flat for most of the trails. The Sinkhole trail is mostly made of sand, with little to no-incline.
For hikers, nature observers, and those picnicking, Leon sinks is a good nearby place. Leon Sinks makes for a pleasant hiking experience with simple, well-marked, wide-spaced, trails for people to pass or walk alongside each other. Leon Sinks also has benches well-spaced along the trails, allows dogs on leashes, and a restroom at the trailhead.
Florida is home to many scenic outdoor experiences, and its State Parks with large patches of forest are part of Florida’s many gifts. I hope you feel inspired to take a break from the busyness of life, and the distractions of the city, to connect with the great outdoors.