Resources.

Summary.

You can leave your name for a reservation prior to hiking, however if they call you while youre in the woods youll miss your turn. Offer yourself at least 2 hours to complete this hike.

The waters bubbling into Spring Garden Creek have been a centerpiece of history for centuries, and are the starting point for adventure at a park popular for its pancakes.

To get there, he “ascended a large river, passing through 2 little rivers and three lakes, whence we pertained to a great boiling spring which the Indians call Healing Waters.”.

The Old Spanish Sugar Mill and Griddle House is open 9-5 weekdays, 8-5 weekends (serving up until 4), closed Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Open 8 AM to sunset daily. Leashed family pets welcome along the routes.

For over half the hike, the trail slips along the edge of a swamp forest with waters that ebb and flow with the St. Johns River.

Dayflowers along the Wild Persimmon Trail.

Area: De Leon SpringsTrailhead: 29.136952, -81.361309 Address: 601 Ponce de Leon Blvd, De Leon SpringsFees: $4-6 per vehicleRestroom: Nearest one is at the swimming areaLand supervisor: Florida State ParksPhone: 386-985-4212.

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Developed and maintained by volunteers of the Florida Trail Association, the Wild Persimmon Trail gets you into the parks wildest corner.

Full information on this walking remain in 50 Hikes in Central Florida.

Was De Leon Springs the Eternal Youth? History relates that when he sailed to Florida in 1513, Ponce De Leon visited a spring.

Instructions

A stream crossing along the trail.
The loop portion of the hike starts after 1.4 miles at a bench. Continue directly ahead to remain on the floodplain side of the loop.

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The town of De Leon Springs is just north of DeLand on United States 17. From US 17 in De Leon Springs, turn west onto Ponce De Leon Boulevard. Follow it 0.8 mile. The entrance to De Leon Springs State Park is just after the railroad crossing
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Once youre past the ranger station, make the right to drive down to the little parking area behind the altering home at the swimming area. This is the closest location to the routes for hikers to park.

Simply past a bench at 1.9 miles, there are puddles across the walkway, the low area in the forest.

The forest reclaiming the previous pasture.

Habitats shift from overload to oak hammock and back once again as the canopy overhead rises with the height and age of the oaks and palms.

While we might find no current interpretive sales brochure for this walking, the markers from long ago continue. Marker 5 is at the beginning of a long stretch of bog boardwalks.

Returning to the floodplain forest, the trail reaches a bench at Marker 13 after 3 miles, completing the loop.

Deep shade and clouds of mosquitoes are typical the much deeper the trail continues into the floodplain.

Reaching Marker 10, the trail leaves the influence of the overload, switching the beauty of the hammock for uplands that were once farmed.

Former camping site along the trail.

A slow stream in the overload forest.

A side trail causes “Old Methuselah,” a bald cypress approximated to be nearly 500 years old, among the ancients of the forest.

Paths at De Leon Springs.

Returning along the bog boardwalks.

Where it is drier, fungis flourishes in the leaf litter and on decaying logs. The thick, arching limbs of live oaks break up the angular feel of the cabbage palm trunks.

Puddles in the footpath.

A grassy aisle through the young forest, the trail skirts around older live oaks and along vibrant stands of sweetgum.

The Wild Persimmon Trail is a rugged day walking.

Expect blue blazes as the understory opens. Past an “Exit” marker, there are the remnants of a former primitive camping site, including benches and a picnic table.

Getting to the trailhead for the Wild Persimmon Trail suggests walking in on the parks paved nature path, a throwback to its tourist attraction days.

Turn left to backtrack through the palm hammocks and over the bog bridges, reaching the trailhead for the Wild Persimmon Trail at 4 miles, and the parking area by 4.4 miles.

You reach the well-marked trailhead for the blue-blazed Wild Persimmon Trail after 0.3 mile. The dry start of the trail under the oaks is deceiving.

The grove of wild persimmons for which this path is named is just beyond the marker outdoors area. Their small orange fruits are extremely astringent, however sweeten as they ripen.

The base of Old Methusalah.

Trail Map.

As you walk through this oak hammock with its statuesque live oaks, you might spot a barred owl in the canopy. Planted azaleas bloom in the understory in spring.

A mile in, the path crosses a bridge over a picturesque stream with sand banks. The stream vanishes into the forest.

One end of the bog boardwalk.

The trail reaches a bench at 0.8 mile, with more boardwalks beyond as it goes into a hydric hammock thick with cabbage palms.

Marker 10 with wild persimmons ahead.

A panorama of oak and palm hammock covers around the path in every direction, even directly up.

Walking.

Bromeliads grow heavily on the oaks. Underfoot, the path is muddy as the path dances in and out of the hydric hammock.

Check out More!

See our video of the Wild Persimmon Trail.

Discover more about De Leon Springs State Park.

Nearby Adventures.

De Leon Springs State ParkWhile pancakes and De Leon Springs go hand-in-hand thanks to the popular Old Spanish Sugar Mill Restaurant, the natural beauty of De Leon Springs is the factor to check out.

Video.

Leashed family pets invite along the routes. The town of De Leon Springs is just north of DeLand on US 17. From United States 17 in De Leon Springs, turn west onto Ponce De Leon Boulevard. Follow it 0.8 mile. The entrance to De Leon Springs State Park is just after the railway crossing
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Park Map (PDF) Official Website.

See our images of the Wild Persimmon Trail.

Slideshow.

More worth exploring while youre in this area.