I learned of Cherokee Sink Hiking Trail while preparing for a return visit to Wakulla Springs south of Tallahassee. My morning plans consisted of a river boat ride on the Wakulla River followed by a couple of hours of hiking before continuing south to Crystal River. Cherokee Sink fit the bill perfectly by being a short hike with a scenic destination.
Access to Cherokee Sink Trail is off of Hwy 61 about 1.3 miles southwest of the main entrance of Wakulla Springs State Park. We turned right at the small Cherokee Sink sign onto an unpaved road and drove a short distance to the parking area.
The trail itself was an easy trek over flat terrain down an old forest road lined by hardwood trees. Deer and other small animal tracks were abundant along the 1 mile trail. The weather was mild for late November, and I was glad for that, having hiked many a trail during hotter temperatures.
After about 20 minutes of peaceful walking we arrived at our destination, a large sinkhole lake about 250′ wide glistening in the afternoon sun. Three wooden boardwalks dotted the rocky perimeter to viewing platforms overlooking the lake, and we moved onto the closest one to take in the view of this amazing 80′ deep karst window into the Florida aquifer.
Where most people might just see a swimming hole, Cherokee Sink is more than that. Florida is composed primarily of porous limestone, which over time becomes pockmarked with voids and passages, sometimes creating caverns. Cherokee Sink used to be one of these caverns until its roof collapsed into itself creating the sinkhole lake that exists today. The water that you see today is rainwater runoff that mixed with the water table far below.
We took the time to walk around most of the lake, and to my surprise I found what appeared to be ripe Pond Apples on the ground along the trail. Further along the trail we arrived at the site of the historic Causseaux Cemetery. The grave markers are long gone, but a sign tells about the family that lived there, including Stephen Causseaux, a Confederate Soldier.
After exploring the overlooks, we headed back to the parking area. Our brief visit to Cherokee Sink was well worth the effort – it’s not every day that one gets to peer into a karst window. Don’t pass it by due to the short hike. It’s easy to add more hiking mileage in by adding the trails at Wakulla Springs to round out a full day of hiking.