Hiking in Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park

Touted as an adventurer’s paradise, and honoring the late world-class explorer, diver and photographer Wes Skiles, Peacock Springs State Park seemed like a perfect summer adventure opportunity to explore the spring run and hike the excellent 1.2 mile hiking trail.

After a breath-taking swim and some snorkeling in the spring’s headwaters, I decided to warm up a bit and walk the trail to take in some of the old growth forest scenery and various windows into the underwater cave system below.

The main spring at Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park.

The hiking trail begins at the head spring area, and winds through the forest recreating the journey that would be made underwater if you were scuba diving in the underground cave network.

Along the way there are many small spring pools and sinkholes to provide a glimpse into the underwater world below.

A window into the underwater caves of Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park.

There are interpretive signs and kiosks along the way that explain what you are standing on, and what divers below may be going through as they embark on their journey through the underwater cave network.

The periodic views into the underwater world are often matched by the views above and around you, giving one the opportunity to be truly immersed in towering trees and vibrant greens so commonly found in the wooded summer landscapes of North Florida.

The hiking trail in Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park features pristine old growth forest.
A leopard frog floats on the surface in one of the many spring pools of Wes Skiles Peacock Springs State Park.

Even though the trail is only 1.2 miles long, I found myself taking my time and stopping frequently to enjoy the tranquility of the forest, listen to the birds and just soak it all in. I only wish this particular park was closer to my home so I could hike it more often.