Springs Fever: A Field & Recreation Guide to 500 Florida Springs.
3rd Edition by Joe Follman and Richard Buchanan

Lily Springs

Gilchrist County

Summary of Features

  • Scale -2nd magnitude
  • Scenery -fine
  • How Pristine? -hut, small dock, small beach, camp area around spring and run, some erosion
  • Swimming -fair-good
  • Protection -fine
  • Crowds -small
  • Access  -very good, boat only
  • Facilities -fair
  • Safety -very good
  • Scuba  -no
  • Cost -free


¾ mile downstream from Poe Springs and ½ mile upstream of Rum Island Springs on the Gilchrist (south) side of the river. A large sign on a tree at the mouth of the spring run says, "Lily Springs." Directions to ramp at Poe Springs: From High Springs, drive south on US 41/27about one mile. Turn west (right) onto State Road 340 (Poe Springs Road) and proceed about 2.5 miles to entrance to Poe Springs (County) Park. Park Address: 28800 NW 182nd Avenue, High Springs, FL 32643 (352) 548-1210. Web link: www.alachuacounty.us/Depts/pcl/Pages/Details.aspx?park=Poe%20Springs%20ParkDirections to ramp at Rum Island (address: 1447 SW Rum Island Terrace, Fort White, FL 32038): From High Springs, drive NW on US 27/SR20 about 4 miles. Turn left (west) onto State Road 138 and drive about two miles to turnoff to the left (south) at sign for Rum Island. Follow dirt road about 1.5 miles to river and ramp.

Link to additional directions, description, and a map

Spring Description

Lily is a compact spring complex of 5-7 springs, depending on how they are counted.  The springs lie at the head of a winding and canopied 175-foot run that is 20-30 feet wide and 3-8 feet deep.  The spring pool is oval and about 100 by 50 feet.  The springs lie throughout the pool.  One is under a cypress tree on the SE end of the pool, forming a fissure beneath the south bank with several vents.  Several of the vents are likely connected to a single flow source due to their proximity to each other.  Another limestone opening is just in front of the private wooden dock in the center of the pool.  Two more vents are beyond the dock in the basin, including one near a small shore area at the west end of the pool.  In times of normal water levels, depths in the pool range from from 4-10 feet. Banks about the pool are a few feet above the water.  The water is clear, and boils are evident. Fish, crawfish, and turtles are evident in the spring and spring pool. The water over the vents can be blue or green depending on conditions.


Local Springiana

Lily for many years was home to Ed the Hermit, also called "Naked Ed." Beginning in 1984, he served as caretaker of the spring. He built the wood and palmetto hut, which had 200 square feet of interior space, by hand. He lived in the hut for much of the year nd, covered only in a loincloth and heavy beard. The hut had no electricity or running water.

Ed responded to courteous visitors in kind, engaging in conversation and inviting them to dive from his dock and inspect his abode. Signs tacked onto trees in the run, including "Man is the most dangerous animal," and "Unattended children will be fed to alligators," suggested an interest in conservation and add to the ambiance of the place.

Ed's hut sat on stilts about 6 feet or so above the ground, facing toward the spring. The sides and roof were thatched with palm fronds. In front was a porch from which Ed could survey his spring and the canoeists who paddled in. Ed related that the spring area was trashed when he moved in, but he had transformed it into something out of Swiss Family Robinson.

In a 1999 visit, RB observed a pile of large animal bones by a tree near the porch. A nearby skull looked too big to be human and was perhaps from a gorilla or other large ape. As a polite visitor, he did not ask too many questions.

Personal Impressions

RB felt somewhat envious of Ed and his little paradise. It also occurred to RB that in spite of Ed's being a "hermit," he might actually talk to more people than most of us.

Nearby Springs

Other Nearby Natural Features