(a 8 minute read)

Ride along as we chase Florida waterfalls so rare and elusive that they don’t even position on Google Maps. Until now, that is . . . .

Chasing Waterfallsin

Backroad Planet readers know Jerry and I are confirmed waterfall-chasers. We have chased hundreds of waterfalls, not only across the United States, but internationally, as well, from La Paz Waterfall Gardens in the tropics of Costa Rica to the powerful Dettifoss in Iceland’s frigid zone. Apparently, our readers share our obsession. Their searches have made 10 Favorite North Georgia Waterfalls one of Backroad Planet’s most Google-referred article of all-time.

Because these water features are so rare and elusive in our home state, nothing is more gratifying than chasing waterfalls in Florida!

Previously, I wrote about some of our early discoveries in the article 3 Natural Waterfalls in Florida. In the interim, we heard rumors about even more little-known waterfalls in our home state, and we were chomping at the bit to hit the Florida backroads again.

So with the cargo hold of our vehicle packed and stocked, it was time to hit the road for some serious waterfall chasing. Before our quest delivered us home again, we would catch three Florida waterfalls for the first time and revisit an old familiar friend.

And I might add, that three of the Florida waterfalls we scouted on this trip are so discreet that they do not even position on Google Maps.

Well, until now . . . .

A Word About Florida Waterfalls

Waterfalls are rare occurrences in the state of Florida. That said, there are other features that set them apart from waterfalls in other parts of the world. Most of Florida’s waterfalls are tea-colored like the state’s major rivers, due to the high amount of tannic acid in the water from decaying leaves.

The only clear waterfalls are those sourced directly from freshwater springs. Rainfall is the primary factor affecting the strength and appearance of the waterfalls. High rainfall increases the water flow, causing the waterfalls to be more powerful and dramatic, but it also raises the level of the rivers which decreases the elevation and drop of the falling water.

Steinhatchee Falls | Taylor County


The first waterfall we scouted was actually an afterthought. When we realized our route would be passing near Steinhatchee Falls, we decided to take a brief side trip to check it out. Even though you have to take a dirt road to the falls, it is the only waterfall on our itinerary that is actually searchable on Google Maps.

I knew about Steinhatchee, and had viewed photos online, but based on its appearance, I never seriously considered it to be a true waterfall. At the time of our visit, the unseasonal spring rainfall had raised the water level to the point that the falls would have barely qualified as Class I river rapids. Even so, Steinhatchee Falls is recognized as the broadest falls in the state, and I hope to return when the river level is lower to witness its waterfall incarnation in person.

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Steinhatchee Falls Gallery

Steinhatchee Falls Map

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Due to non-water feature waypoints that had found their way into our itinerary, it would be another 36 hours before we chased the next waterfall.

Mill Creek Falls | Hamilton County


Mill Creek Falls is located at the point where the creek flows into the Suwannee River. The falls are on private property, so the best way to view them is from the river.

We rented a canoe early in the morning from the Suwannee Canoe Outpost located inside the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park & Campground. In order to see Mill Creek Falls, we would need to traverse the section of river between the music park and the Florida Sheriff’s Boys Ranch.


We paddled downstream for about an hour to a sharp bend in the river. The falls were situated on the north (right) bank of the river. I had seen photos of Mill Creek Falls online and knew it was a bi-level falls, but due to the high water level our suspicions were confirmed, and we could only see the upper level. Even so, it was still cool to see a waterfall flowing directly into a river, reminiscent of how Jamaica’s Dunn’s River Falls flows into the Caribbean Sea.

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High River Level

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To provide a view of Mill Creek Falls when the Suwannee River is at a lower level, I reached out to my buddy Curtis Whitwam who has paddled 170 miles on the Suwannee from White Springs, Florida, to the Gulf of Mexico, and he graciously shared an image from his photo archives.

Low River Level

13445850_1085735858175567_343244004_oPhoto Credit: Curtis Whitwam

Curtis Whitwam is a videographer who is recording and sharing Florida’s wild places to promote love, respect, and protection of our natural resources. Check out Curtis’s YouTube Channel to view his 18-part Suwannee River Wilderness Trail video series, as well as stunning videos of Florida’s freshwater springs.

Mill Creek Falls Gallery

Soon after we arrived at the Boys Ranch take-out point on the Suwannee, the canoe outpost shuttle driver fetched us and delivered us back to the parking lot at our origin. During the drive, he entertained us with stories about the area and shared the location of yet another rare Florida waterfall on the Alapahoochee River.


Then we hopped in the Explorer for a half-hour drive through oak-canopied backroads so typical of North Florida, to our next destination across the Columbia County line.

Robinson Branch Falls | Columbia County


Although the logistics of chasing Mill Creek Falls on the Suwannee River was more complex, the chase to Robinson Creek Falls was by far the most rewarding. I think the reason may have been the many small surprises in this fairly simple quest.

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We accessed the Bell Springs trailhead at the Morrell Drive entrance and discovered a lovely clearing with plenty of parking and an informational kiosk. The first stretch of blue-blazed trail followed the run-off from the adjacent Bell Springs. This is where a series of unexpected water features began.


Because we were scouting Robinson Branch Falls for the first time, we were not sure what to expect. Soon we came upon a small, but sturdy bridge built by a troop of local Boy Scouts. On either side of the bridge were what appeared to be small dams constructed with fallen tree trunks and branches. Although they were not exactly “natural” water features, they were captivating just the same. Continuing down the trail the descent toward the Suwannee River became increasingly steeper, producing a succession of small, but impressive crystal clear cascades in the runoff stream.

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Bell Springs Runoff Gallery

We followed the trail to the bluff overlooking the Suwannee River, and continued following the blue blazes to the right. Before long we encountered Robinson Branch and followed it a short distance upstream to the now roaring falls. Even though the elevated water level diminished the drop of the falls, the increased water flow made it impressive all the same, unlike any Florida waterfall we had seen to date.

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Robinson Branch Falls Gallery

On our return hike we retraced the runoff from Bell Springs beyond the trail, but due to our tight schedule we were unable to follow it completely to its source. If I am perfectly honest, I have to say that the Bell Springs Tract and the adjacent Robinson Branch Falls could possibly be my favorite postage stamp plot in the state. I could have romped those trails, and played in the runoff stream for days . . . .

Bell Springs and Adjacent Lands Map

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You can learn more about this little spot of heaven at the Suwannee River Water Management District Bell Springs page. Surprisingly, the downloadable PDF map on the site does not mark the location nor trail to Robinson Branch Falls. I have added it to the image above. The red X marks the spot!

Falling Creek Falls | Columbia County


Because of our close proximity to Falling Creek Falls and because of the recent rainfall, we decided to swing by even though we had already caught it on a previous trip. The difference in appearance from our first visit was astounding! The image below is the way we remembered it from before.


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Falling Creek Falls Gallery

Falling Creek Falls Map

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Map It!

And then, the weekend road trip that had begun a mere 48 hours before, was nearing its end. Our latest outing chasing waterfalls in Florida had exceeded our expectations by miles..

We Would Love to Hear From You

Jerry and I enjoy dialogue with our readers when they share off-the-beaten-path destinations and especially the locations of rare and elusive waterfalls. Do you enjoy chasing waterfalls? If so, what is your favorite vehicle for the drive? We would love to hear about your experiences. We invite you to leave your comments and questions below, and we always respond!

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Howard Blount is founder and co-owner of the travel web site Backroad Planet. He has traveled internationally since boyhood and lived abroad in Mexico, Chile, and Paraguay. Now his passion is navigating the roads-less-traveled of this amazing planet in search of anything rare and remote. On the stuffy side, “Mr. Blount” has been a writer, consultant, and published author with the likes of Simon & Schuster and McGraw-Hill.

Recently retired from a 35-year career as a middle school teacher, Howard enjoys spending his time on anything that includes mountains, waterfalls, dachshunds, gospel choirs, books, restored classic movies on Blu-ray, HDTV, autumn, sandhill cranes, hot springs, Florida springs, rain and other gloomy weather, log cabins, cracker shacks, abandoned sites, unearthed history, genealogy, museums, documentaries, To Kill a Mockingbird, scenic and historical sites, castles, cathedrals, the Civil War, cold sheets, National and State Park Passports, quotes, the Rambos, Dionne Warwick, Steely Dan, Doobies, Diet Pepsi, Fish City Grill, anything Apple, all things British, Jesus, and lists.

And on a random note, Howard is a fourth cousin once removed to Truman Capote.