Located in Gainesville, you will find one of Florida’s most stunning National Natural Landmarks, containing a 120-foot-deep, 500-foot-wide, and 10,000-year-old limestone sinkhole known as “Devil’s Millhopper.”
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Fulfill your curiosity at this 71-acre park in North Florida, where you will approach a mysterious looking wooden stairway. Follow the 212 steps that lead you down to an observation deck and get up close and personal with a half-mile bowl-shaped cavity that sits amongst a miniature rain forest filled with towering live oaks.
In the midst of the stunning landscape surrounding you, the temperature will get cooler and you will hear sounds of small streams that trickle down through the crevices and create small waterfalls, stemming from one of the 12 springs that feed the pond at the bottom of the sinkhole.
State geologists claim that the Devil’s Milhopper is an ancient sinkhole that formed in two stages, the first developing over 10,000 years ago and the second about 1000 years ago. Researchers have even discovered fossil shark teeth, marine shells, and fossilized remains of extinct land animals inside the sinkhole. The legend has it that these animals entered the sinkhole on the way to meeting the devil. The appearance also reminded settlers of the hopper of a mill. Hence, the name Devil’s Millhopper.
The park packs a lot of punch for its size, holding three distinct ecological environments based on it’s unique exposure to the sun, creating a mesmerizing feast for the eyes. Here you’ll find lush vegetation with pine trees, broadleaf trees, and diverse flora and fauna.
In addition to the main attraction, there are a ton of activities and things to do in the area. Stroll around the half mile trail around the sinkhole, view the interpretive displays at the visitor center, bike along Milhopper Road, or have a picnic in the park.
The park is open from 9am-5pm Wednesday through Sunday and admission is $4 per vehicle. Instead of taking admission fees via a ranger station, Devil’s Millhopper contains an honor box for visitors to deposit their park fees.
More info here.