Water from Stone - Rock Springs

July 01, 2018  •  36 Comments

Rock Springs Main VentRock Springs Main Vent

Rock Springs - Main eVent. Where the magic begins.

Tucked away in an off-the-beaten-trail corner of Orange County is a gorgeous Florida gem called Rock Springs.  Not that it is a sleepy place... the locals know and love it well, with hundreds of tubers floating the run on any pretty weekend. The springhead lies in Kelly Park, a beautifully-kept  county park with camping and many other amenities.  A dramatic rock wall - pierced by two caves from which cool crystaline water gushes - stands at the heart of the Park.  John Moran made a spectacular photo on Rock Springs Run last year, and raved about the beauty of the area. So I was inspired and psyched. He and I spent two lovely days here in May, intent on making one of our signature collaborative nightscapes.  While at the Park we hiked the trails, swam in the springfed  natural pools, and watched the wildlife. We spent most of one day paddling on Rock Springs Run downstream from the park, putting in at Kings Landing. The spring run meanders through lush classic Florida habitat, and eventually spills into the Wekiwa River.  Words describing its beauty are inadequate, so let me entice you with a selection of juicy photos... ending with our nightscape, Water from Stone.

Rock Springs Panorama 38Rock Springs Panorama 38

Rock Springs Panorama. A pretty spectacular spring bowl. (I used artistic license to digitally remove the red and white buoyed line from mid-frame.)


Summer Delight. Pretty beautiful way to stay cool!

Upper Rock Springs RunUpper Rock Springs Run

Upper Rock Springs Run. Late afternoon, the last of the tubers has floated around the bend.

Upper Rock Springs Run 2Upper Rock Springs Run 2

Upper Rock Springs Run 2. With early morning sunburst, a quiet peaceful scene.

Limpkin with SnailLimpkin with Snail

Limpkin with Apple Snail. We sat quietly watching a nearby pair of limpkins rustling up their favorite escargot.


Rock Springs BridgeRock Springs Bridge

Rock Springs Bridge. 

Emerald CutEmerald Cut

Down the Run. Yes, this is a real place.

John Moran, hard at work. (Best job ever!)

Paddlers on the Run 2Paddlers on the Run 2

Paddlers on the Run.  A steady stream of paddlers passed to and fro in the dappled light.

Palm Perch. Getting a little higher perspective.

Swallowtails TwoSwallowtails Two

Swallowtail Delight.  We came upon a buttonbush in a cloud of flitting yellow (Eastern Swallowtail) butterflies drawn in by the sweet-nectared flowers.

Coral Bean BlossomsCoral Bean Blossoms

Coral Bean Blossoms.

Creekside Nap.  Hammocks make the perfect portable bed in Florida.

Drinking the Hemlock 2Drinking the Hemlock 2

Drinking the Hemlock. Deadly to us, but I guess not to the honeybees.

Bee on Hemlock Pano12Bee on Hemlock Pano12 Shining a flashlight from beneath, the bee is brought into the limelight.

Emerald Cut 2Emerald Cut 2

Emerald Cut.  A pair of treed isles center stream...

Paddlers on the RunPaddlers on the Run

... transform the run into a gentle obstacle course.

Eastern Swallowtail on ButtonbushEastern Swallowtail on Buttonbush

Eastern Swallowtail

Limpkin PortraitLimpkin Portrait

Limpkin Portrait

Palm FanPalm Fan

Palm Fan. Art is all around us.

John and I spent a good part of one evening at the springhead.  We had a long pole rigged to handle any of several different lighting attachments - video lights, flash, underwater lights - with which we lit the scene, making over 200 exposures of the exact same composition, but with different lighting in each.  Then, with great patience and effort in the digital darkroom, the files were carefully layered and finessed into this final art piece...

Water from StoneWater from Stone Water from Stone - Rock Springs

This was my first visit to Kelly Park's Rock Springs, despite having lived and traveled in Florida my whole life.  What a treat!  And so great to know that our state still holds hidden treasures and fountains of youth, even for old explorers like me. Hope you enjoyed the visit to Rock Springs as well.  I'd love to hear your reactions in comments below, and please share the link widely. 


tom morris(non-registered)
Hi David. Nice stuff as usual. The cave interesting as well as pretty. Wide and low and very shallow at 19 feet deep for a long way. Dissolved oxygen very low, but the place still harbors cave animals, most notably Procambarus acherontis, the Orlando Cave Crayfish. It was the first cave adapted crayfish discovered in Florida. In 1895 it was found in a "rivulet" at the bottom of a 42 foot deep hand dug well, not too far away near Lake Brantley. It is only known from six or so sites and three of them are wells.
Gail Alexander(non-registered)
Hi David, Are you available to come give a presentation at Westminster Oaks in October? We could help with funds too. Please call me at 850-878-1136 or email me.
Just came upon this jewel of a blog. This gem is definitely on my Florida bucket list! Thanks, David and John, for sharing this with all of us!
Pamela Rene Huston(non-registered)
Lived in Florida the majority of my Life

I never knew of the Springs thank you for educating me on this Fountain of Youth Springs..
Keith S. Coker(non-registered)
Love seeing your pictures and adventures. Simply beautiful.
No comments posted.

January February March April May June (1) July August September October November December (2)
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September October November December