One of the first places outside of Tallahassee that I went hiking. Leon Sinks is an interesting hike that meanders through a series of sinkholes. There are two loops with a crossover trail, comprising around 5 miles of great hiking.

October 18th, 2009

I hiked this trail with my friend and hiking buddy Isaac. Like most of the parks around here, there was a small entry fee per vehicle, but believe me when I say it’s worth it. The trail starts almost immediately presents you with a sinkhole to stare down into. Some of them are shallow, some are deep, some are dry, some are full of rushing water fed by underground springs. Magnolia trees abound, but there is an entire section that runs through the “Gumswamp”, which is filled with cypress trees. One of the larger sinkholes, “Big Dismal”, has a lovely wooden observation deck that offers a chance to pause, maybe have some lunch.

Water is a key feature of this area, and so I can see it getting pretty difficult during and after a rainstorm. There are some downed trees here and there that will need to be climbed over. In the interest of preserving the local wildlife, one shouldn’t stray too far from the trail, but if you do happen to wander off course you might see some interesting sights. Little streams seem to pop above ground at random, and quickly find a way back into the earth.

Isaac hiking

Isaac, crown prince of the forest.

The quality of the hike is nice though, with a little bit of everything. There are uphill sections, downhill sections, parts over water, sand, soil, logs, and more. The configuration of the loops means that you can go slow or fast for a few hours, and optionally double your time by going through the gum swamp. As the elevation changes, the flora change as well. Some parts of the area seem completely different from each other. Sand and cacti lead to dense pines and then shrubs and sinks.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Destinations: D1: Big Dismal Sink, with observation deck.

Really fun place to wander about. Spend a little extra time examining all of the plants and animals and water features along the trail–you’ll be glad you did. I can’t wait to go back during the spring to see it all from a different perspective.