Monday, January 23, 2012
Spring Canyon State Park-Florida Mountains
Spring Canyon State Park is a day use area in the Florida Mountains a couple miles south of Rockhound State Park. It has picnic tables and shelters.There is a day use fee.It may have once had camping and it would be nice if it could once again, offering an alternative to Rockhound SP for smaller trailers,pop-ups and tent campers.It looks as if the area has been washed out by floods in the past: chunks of old black top and concrete used to be seen in the arroyos that run through the picnic area. In steep mountains such as these, this can still be a problem even in driest part of the state.Perhaps that's why there's been a minimum of investment here.
There are two "trails" that leave from the state park onto BLM land. One is in Lover's Leap Canyon. The other is in Spring Canyon.The one in Lover's Leap Canyon, the better of the two, starts out past the last of the picnic spots. We've hiked it a couple of times up to a saddle that overlooks to the other side of the Floridas and beyond to the Cedar Mountain Range.Total distance is about 1.5 miles. Elevation gain is 600 to 800 feet depending on where in the picnic area your hike commences. It is very steep and slippery the last 1/4 mile or so.We've lost the path both times we've walked here. Just keep going till you find it again. It stays close to the stream bed on one side or the other. There is enough moisture here for pinons, scrub oak and the occasional ash tree, but the real draw here is the many formations in the friable volcanic rock on display on the north side of the trail.
Lover's Leap Canyon is to your right(southwest) as you enter, Spring Canyon is straight ahead(south).Since it runs almost straight north, it retains even more moisture. There are some very large pinons along the way and the stream bottom is very dense with vegetation, which eventually blocked our progress after only a mile or of steep hiking.This trail is harder to follow with very rocky sections along the steep sides of the canyon.I looked and looked for some kind of continuation along those grassy hillsides but saw nothing.It could be there. I don't know. I do know that the bushwacking in the stream bottom was not at all practical or enjoyable,so we turned around.This experience with lightly used use trails repeats itself in other areas of the Floridas. It strikes me as strange that a very scenic mountain range with good sized town nearby has no official hiking trails. These two,the one in Windmill Canyon,plus a few old mine and ranch roads will have to suffice for the present.