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The hike to the Santa Fe river rise (the River Rise Preserve Yellow Trail) is a unique hike in High Springs.
Travel Services I Recommend:
AllTrails – This is my favorite hike tracking app.
America the Beautiful – The national park pass is essential.
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Get Your Guide – I recommend Get Your Guide for booking tours.
National Park Obsessed – This is the best national park planner.
Skyscanner – Skyscanner is great for finding and booking flights.
Enterprise – This is my rental car recommendation.
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This is a great hike to where the river rises from the ground after going underground in O’Leno State Park three miles away.
When you’re standing there it looks like the river just.. starts right where you are but it’s actually coming up from underground.
I’ve actually done this hike twice now, once I want to say in the fall of 2022 and then when my parents were here in March.
The Trail is very straightforward and easy to follow. It’s just a wide dirt path, possibly an old road, all the way to a clearing by the actual river rise.
There are a couple of small trails that branch off and either reconnect with the main trail or go all the way to O’Leno, but to get to the river rise, you just stay straight.
There really isn’t much to say about the trail as it is literally just a straight path with a couple of slight turns in it.
There isn’t a ton of scenery along the trail, it’s typical Florida woods, but the view at the end is worth it.
And on the first hike here, I am fairly certain (after looking it up now to make sure) that I saw the tail of a bluetail mole skink zipping into a tree!
We saw a few people on horses there the first time and a couple of other hikers and bikers both times.
Once you get to the river rise you’ll see more cypress trees along the shore.
There is a trail on the left as you get to the clearing and another on the right near where you can go down to the river.
We spent some time hanging out at the end, enjoying the view and taking pictures before heading back.
The first time we went, even though I knew what we were going to see, it took me a few minutes to actually realize that were standing on top of the river underground.
And this isn’t like, a small river opening up to something bigger, it’s a full size river just.. appearing. I love it.
Overall, the trail itself isn’t exactly thrilling but it is a nice woodsy walk with a cool view at the end that you probably can’t see too many other places.
AllTrails says it take 54 minutes on average but I feel like two hours would be more accurate unless you walk really fast and don’t stop.
If you’re looking for some hiking in High Springs, this is a great choice.
Where is the Santa Fe River Rise in High Springs?
There are three entrances to River Rise State Park but I’m only sharing the one for the River Rise Yellow Trail here.
This entrance is just outside of downtown High Springs on Highway 41. These are also horse trails so there will be signs about that but they’re for hiking, too.
You’ll turn down the road I have in the map below and follow that to the gate and parking area on the left.
Just follow the road behind the gate until you get to the river 1.5 miles later.
How long is the hike to the River Rise in High Springs?
AllTrails says the River Rise Yellow Trail (the trail to the river rise itself) is three miles round-trip. It feels like four but it’s only three.
Is the hike to the River Rise in High Springs hard?
Nope! Somehow there are 52 feet of elevation gain but I’m not sure where those are. It’s just a flat, seemingly never-ending Florida hike.
Depending on the time of year you do this, the worst part would be the heat. And maybe bugs or ticks. But mostly the heat.
Is the River Rise trail in High Springs worth it?
Yes! While the trail itself isn’t the most remarkable, it’s pretty typical Florida woods, it’s cool seeing the river just appear.
Like, you’re standing on top of where the river is coming from. I didn’t even realize that when we got to it, it took me a few minutes to notice that the river just.. starts.
I will say, I would absolutely not do this in the summer because of the heat. Even the end of March was getting pretty hot.
River Rise State Park hours
River Rise Preserve State Park is open every day from 8 AM to sunset.
Are River Rise State Park and O’Leno State Park the same thing?
Nope! But they are right next to each other. Sometimes they are referred to as “O’Leno and River Rise State Park” which makes it confusing.
On all the maps they show both O’Leno and River Rise which was also very confusing when we first saw it.
The river sink is in O’Leno and the river rise is in, well, River Rise next door.
What River is in River Rise State Park?
The Santa Fe River is in River Rise State Park. It goes underground in O’Leno State Park and three miles later comes back up in River Rise State Park.
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Have you hiked to the Santa Fe River Rise in High Springs? What did you think of it? Do you want to see it?