NOTE: Many of the recreation areas on Econfina Creek are currently closed due to hurricane damage. Call Northwest Florida Water Management District for specifics at (850) 539-5999.
Econfina Creek Recreation Area is an outdoor enthusiast’s perfect destination. Paddling, hiking, camping, horseback riding, fishing, and hunting within 41,363 acres of public land managed by Northwest Florida Water Management District and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The area is chock full of exceptional spaces for families to enjoy a day exploring.
One unique little nature trail is nestled high on a limestone ridge along Econfina Creek. The scenic hike offers gorgeous views of the creek below and surrounding hardwood forest. Located just north of State Road 20 in Washington County, the trail is located between two recreation area parks – Williford Spring, and Pitt and Sylvan Springs. Technically two trails, this hike is more of a loop, totaling approximately 1.5 miles, and meanders on uneven terrain along a bluff approximately 25 ft. above the creek. A variety of hardwoods, palms, and flowering vegetation provide a shady canopy along most the path. At the beginning and at the half way mark, there is a bonus to your trek as a dip in a cool, clear spring awaits you.
You can choose to park at either spring location; Williford which has two trailhead entrances or Pitt and Sylvan at the southern end. Both recreation areas offer restrooms, covered picnic areas, and steps into the springs.
The southern trailhead at Pitt and Sylvan recreation area is located at 6315 E. Highway 20, Youngstown, FL, with a parking area close the trail head off of Strickland Road. It is located 8 miles east of SR 79 or 7 miles east of U.S. Hwy. 231.
The trail is rated moderate and open from dawn to dusk.
About the spring recreation areas:
Pitt and Sylvan Spring: Latitude/Longitude: 30.432718, -85.546503
The water from Pitt Spring’s 11-foot-deep spring vent emerges from beneath a submerged limestone ledge into a 40-foot diameter pool and then flows through a 50-foot run to the creek. The 10-acre recreation area, offers boardwalk trail overlooks and a canoe/kayak launch. Swimmers can access the spring water by a stairway. Covered picnic pavilions and a composting restroom are available.
Sylvan Springs spring group is located near Pitt Spring and consists of several vents on the west side of the Creek. Pitt Spring is a day-use only site and is open from dawn to dusk.
Williford Spring: Latitude/Longitude: 30.439702, -85.547447
A spring vent emerges from beneath a submerged limestone ledge into a 40-foot diameter pool. Maximum depth measured at the vent is 12 feet but the conduit extends further and downward. There is a large surface boil. A number of ancillary vents are scattered along the west bank. This spring is located approximately one-half mile north of Pitt Spring. Williford Spring is a second magnitude spring that sends more than 16 million gallons of water per day into Econfina Creek, which feeds into Deer Point Lake and is the primary source of drinking water for Panama City and Bay county.