Devil’s Millhopper

Useful Information

Location: 4732 Millhopper Rd, Gainesville, FL 32653.
(29.706888, -82.394212)
Open: All year daily 8-sunset.
Guided walks with a ranger Sat 10.
Fee: Pedestrians USD 2, Car USD 4.
Classification: KarstDoline
Light: n/a
Dimension: Ø=160 m, VR=36 m.
Guided tours: self guided, L=800 m, St=132.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Devil’s Millhopper, Devil's Millhopper Geological State Park, 4732 Millhopper Rd, Gainesville, FL 32653, Tel: +1-352-955-2008. E-mail:
Guided walks reservation, Tel: +1-386-462-7905.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1930s first staircase built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
1976 designated a National Natural Landmark.


Devil’s Millhopper is a huge doline in the middle of a pine forest. A loop trail leads to the doline, and then a wooden staircase halfway down into the doline to a viewing platform. The trail is currently [2023] not fully open, as Deer Run bridge is closed for repairs, so at the moment it's an out-and-back trail. The region is called North Florida's sandy terrain and there are typically pine forests. But inside the doline the microclimate is different, and there are numerous small streams, which trickle down the steep slopes of the sinkhole. As a result there is always anough water, even in dry summers, and a miniature rain forest grows on the floor of the doline.

The small park is called a Geological State Park, because its most interesting feature is the karst. Th collapse doline or sinkhole formed by the collapse of a cave chamber below, which created a huge depression. As a result on the walls of the doline a series of 30 m of geologic strata are exposed, which is quite rare in the typical lowland of Florida. It starts on the top with a thin layer of soil and quartz sand. Below are the Hawthorn Group, a succession of dolostone, phosphatic sands and clay which were deposited during the Miocene Epoch (23-5.3 Ma). Below is the karstified upper Eocene Ocala Limestone, which was deposited in a warm, shallow marine environment more than 34 Ma ago. The Hawthorn Group with its clay layers is water-resistant and forms an aquiclude, a seal towards the surface, for the Floridan aquifer system below. The sinkhole is actually a sink, where the rain water of this area vanishes into the underground. All those sedimentary rocks are rich in fossils, shark teeth and other marine fossils.

There are several legends around this spectacular doline and its weird name. Early visitors found bones and fossils at the bottom of the sinkhole, and so they believed that animals and beasts went down to the bottom to meet the devil. Another legend tells that the devil kidnapped a Native American woman and then created the sinkhole to trap her rescuers.