United States » Hart Springs - Little Hart

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Rated 2.6/5 stars (274 ratings)

Overview Location & Specifics Conditions Resources Nearby Systems  
Portions of the following information were taken from Florida Geological Survey Bulletin 66.

Diving is open at Hart Springs but there are different conditions for each entrance. No guide is needed for Little Hart but a guide IS required to enter the cave via Black Lagoon. Click here for information on contacting guides for this site. In addition, the guides are all volunteers, guides are not allowed to charge for services and don't expect anyone to tip them. However, I wouldn't feel bad at least making sure they had a good meal or deco beverage after the dive.

Hart Springs is located within a county recreation area 6.5 miles northwest of Fanning Springs. After crossing over the Suwannee River on US 98/27A heading east, turn north (left) on SR 26 and drive approximately 1.4 miles to the town of Wilcox. In Wilcox, SR 26 makes a 90 degree bend to the east (right). At this bend continue north (straight) onto CR 232. Drive 4.1 miles and turn west (left) on CR 344. Travel 1.6 miles, then turn north (right) into the recreation area.

Description The head of Hart Springs Run has three merging spring runs. In April 2002, the only significantly flowing spring in this system was at the head of the middle channel and was the one sampled for water quality. The middle spring pool measures 51 ft north to south and 45 ft east to west. The depth of the pool measured over the vent was 19.9 ft. The water was clear and greenish. In the center of the spring pool, a prominent boil is produced on the surface by spring discharge. The vent is a vertical limestone fissure with 15 ft high walls. The spring pool has a nearly rectangular shape and is enclosed by a 4 ft high metal retaining wall. The metal wall extends several hundred feet southward and forms the perimeter of the entire southernmost spring and its run. The bottom is sand in the swimming area where the three spring channels merge. The northern run was not flowing, but the southernmost spring had slight flow with no boil on its surface. Exotic aquatic vegetation is abundant in the spring pool. Algae are abundant in the pool and the run. Other aquatic plants occur on the edges of the pool. From the swimming area at the confluence of the spring runs, Hart Springs Run flows northwest approximately 850 ft into the Suwannee River from the east. The springs are situated within the forested river floodplain. A 0.3 mile long wooden boardwalk follows along the north side of the spring run and the east side of the river, and footbridges cross over both the northernmost and main spring runs. An underwater cave system occurs at Hart Springs.

Utilization - The spring is within a county recreation area that provides full facilities.
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Latitude: 29.67574
Longitude: -82.9517
Coordinate System:
Maximum Depth: 80'
 Cave Diving
 Cavern Diving
 Open Water Diving
Date Submitter Visbility Remarks
5/7/2022 Jessica B 80 Blowing like a firehose, unable to get into Little Hart despite using pull rope. From what we could see of the passage, amazing viz.
8/11/2018 Thomas E Hundley Jr 70 50 Ft in the front where the pull rope was clearing to 70 ft around `00 plus
8/18/2017 Gene 70 ft. - Dove Little Hart today with Sean and Tracy with picture perfect conditions. Flow's down and we easily swam up to Black Lagoon and back with a stage taking time to check out some turtle remains and even a gator's. Nice dive with great dive buddies.
6/25/2017 Elisha Gibson 50 Nice dive at Little Hart. We were able to swim about 400 feet past Black Lagoon (85s and a stage). Viz improved to probably 100 feet past Black Lagoon. Flow was strong in the beginning, but not very strong for this system as we didn't get blown out of the cave at the end. Saw some turtle skeletons. All in all, a great dive!
8/10/2016 Sandy Koster 60-80 ft. What a magnificent cave system! It truly is a photographer's and videographer's dream system. Today we entered Little Hart, and turned after 1400 foot penetration. Entering the cavern zone was no big deal, however the flow was rather significant in the first part of the cave. The rope tow, as this skier calls it, was a delightful bonus. We had 60-80 foot vis, with some particulate in the water.
9/27/2015 drz 80' good blowing like a firehose at main spring... jack mad it to where line was w/in arm's reach, but entry was not possible while running a reel at same time... maybe some other day. p.s. i got stung by a wasp.
12/20/2014 Jill Heinerth (via CDF) 100' Conditions are excellent at Hart Springs Black Lagoon right now. The flow has eased and quite manageable and the vis is quite decent. We did not dive in the main spring today but did Black Lagoon. On Nov.1, the main spring flow was nearly undiveable, but I imagine it is fine now.
1/18/2014 MacLeod 50' First dive at Little Hart. According to my guide, the flow is down--but still comparable to Little River for the first 150-200'. Visibility was easily 50' or more.
6/30/2013 James Kleineinz 50' What a beautiful Cave the flow was not bad and very manageable. Only a very light pull and glide needed. The water was clear but milky in some spots with very high percolation. It remained that way all the way from Little Hart to Black Lagoon
1/26/2013 ltowles 60 Flow was hopping, though as I understand it, still not at maximum.
5/12/2012 Riana 100' Flow is down, can swim entire chimney and hallway of Little Hart, went past mid point and then rode the small amount of flow out. Had large debris particulate in water but clear otherwise and saw the most blind crawfish I have ever seen in LH.
5/12/2012 Riana 100' Flow is down, can swim entire chimney and hallway of Little Hart, went past mid point and then rode the small amount of flow out. Had large debris particulate in water but clear otherwise and saw the most blind crawfish I have ever seen in LH.
5/5/2012 Walter Pickel 50-60 Little Hart remains one of my favorite dives in Florida. It had been reported that Little Hart had stopped flowing the day prior to us diving but I can assure you, it was flowing when we dove it. The flow is positive, and viz was good with cloudy water.
3/3/2012 Capel English 60' We dove Little Hart on Saturday morning. The flow in the first 300' was medium compared to what I understand it usually is. (This was my first dive in Little Hart.) After the first 300' the cave opens up and the flow was almost negligible. We were shooting video and going real slow. Turned at the 700' arrow and made a nice easy exit. We had a 38 minute dive, max depth of 73', water temp 72 deg and no deco. The cave is very pristine and does not look like it gets very much traffic. If you ever wanted to dive Little Hart, now is the time because the flow is way down.
11/6/2011 Jerry 60 Water is lower than I have ever seen it. It is also blue; something I haven't seen in years. Ripping flow between Little and Big Hart. Lots of life; now is the time to dive it!
8/27/2011 Walter Pickel 60' It is pretty obvious that this side of Hart Springs hasn't had much traffic lately. Visibility was good overall but hazy in places. Flow is lower than usual. It seems that the excavations at Big Hart have reduced the flow at Little Hart. I hope Little Hart doesn't fill back in.
4/29/2011 Marc 50 Entered at LH. Flow was up, we averaged 40' per minute to 1100' past the BL. Averaged about 100' per minute back.
2/2/2011 Rich 50 Gorgeous dive, flow's up a little bit, but easily manageable. It was my friends first dive in the system so we just played around between LH and BL.... :)
12/2/2010 Taija & Jukka 25 meter Flow at the Little Hart entrance and at first 300ft was quite strong. Viz was very good, just some big flakes coming with the flow. No alligator at the Black Lagoon.
10/10/2010 James Garrett 40ft Flow is ripping, water seems to be less clear than when I dove there earlier this year. We went from Little Hart to Black Lagoon and back.
7/21/2010 jerry 70 Rich Courtney and I placed an NACD Stop sign in Little Hart cavern this afternoon. Vis is pretty good; water is flirting with "blue" flow isn't bad. Great dive!
7/5/2010 Walter Pickel 50 Great dive from Little Hart, up passed Black Lagoon and up and around to the New Ocala Junction Room. River is up another foot from last week and the flow is down just a little. Conditions are perfect for a Little Hart entrance right now.
6/30/2010 Jerry ~60 Cave is getting better everyday. Flow is up in the first 400 ft; vis is improving; maybe a hint of blue. Far less particulate in the water. Good dive.
6/27/2010 Walter Pickel 40-50 Good dive from Little Hart to BLack Lagoon. Flow seems down but that stands to reason since the water level is up about 6'.
6/9/2010 Jerry 50-60 River is still dropping; flow from Little Hart to Big Hart is picking up. The vis is still improving.
6/6/2010 Jerry 50 River is dropping so the flow is up; not unmanageable though. Vis is improving.
5/14/2010 Jerry 40 River is up so the flow is down; vis is between 40 and 50 ft. Water is still 68 deg. Had a good dive. VERY SADDENED to see that Little Hart has only been open to unguided diving a week and some goober has already been knee walking the bottom around 900 ft.
5/1/2010 Gene Page 30 John Spann and I did a dive at Little Hart yesterday (April 30th) and apparently we were only the second group to go through since the new rules allowing non-guided dives from Little Hart for Abe Davis/Silver Wakulla divers with DAN insurance. We got a conditions report from the previous group that had been through a few days earlier and we found the current, at least for the first 300 to 400 feet to be absolutely ripping but it calms down after you make the turn. We swam up to 900 feet, turned and floated back, checking out the jump (at the turn) where the line went into a large clump of sand. We also ran a reel at another off-shoot passage a short distance. Overall the vis was in the 30's with a lot of particulate in the system as the cave clears out the debris after being flooded. (It reminded me of a mixture of Gator Hole in the Santa Fe River and Little River after a flood.) Fun dive and it's only going to get better as it clears. Water temp was in the high 60's.
9/11/2009 Jerry 50' On my second dive at Hart today I I checked Little Hart. There were quite a few tree limbs tangled in the line in the first 400 ft. These have been removed. Every thing is fine for opening on Oct. 1.
3/11/2009 Rich 50' to 60' Wow, Jerry was kind enough to take me on my first dive into Little Hart. Having been in the system from Black Lagoon many times, I was expecting the same sort of thing but it was like a completely different system and it rocked! We easily made it up to the Black Lagoon and a little beyond. Flow was low, vis was good, what more could you ask for.... :) Thanks again to Jerry for introducing me to a spectacular part of this system!
2/16/2009 Jerry 35-40 Recent rains degraded the vis quite a bit and caused a lot of particulate in the cave. The flow has not increased and the cave is still easily swam. Still a great dive---CLOSES March 31 for the summer. Jerry
2/1/2009 Walter Pickel 50' Flow was up making getting to the big room under Big Hart that much more fun. Viz was hazy and full of the normal large particulate. We turned just past Black Lagoon. We opted for Little Hart as there is a juvenile alligator (4') making its home in Black Lagoon right now.
1/26/2009 Jerry 50 Flow was down a bit from last week; the first 400 ft was swimmable. Flow dropped nicely after Big Hart; water was nice and clear. Good dive.
1/17/2009 Walter Pickel 50' The flow is up substantially since my dives there in November. Visibility has a tendency to deteriorate when the flow at Hart goes up. Viz was a dusty 50' with heavy particulate.
12/28/2008 Phil 60 First dive at that magnificent cave! Thanks to our guide Kelly Jessup who really enjoy to dive there so it is easy to make him talk about that cave. This site is really pristine. Thanks again Kelly.
12/27/2008 Claudia Milz excellent Thanks Kelly; flow was down, deco in entrance very comfortable, visibility excellent, almost bluish. Water level at top of first step.
11/27/2008 Barbara Dwyer 50-60 River level decreased from several weeks ago, flow seemed increased (or was it my poorly fitted suit)? Easier after 400' as Walter notes. Many thanks to Jerry for a fine dive at this unique cave.
11/16/2008 Walter Pickel 30-50 Flow seemed to be up for the first 400'. Additionally, there seemed to be more particulate in the water.
11/3/2008 Barbara Dwyer 70 Great dive with Cindy and Scott--my first into Little Hart. There was a good brisk boil but manageable---after 300' the cave opens up and swimming is easier. Such a lovely system. Now I want to go back, see more, and perhaps see some of the side passages. Be gentle with this cave, people, she is fragile and unscarred. Let's keep her pristine. Barbara/San Francisco
11/2/2008 Walter Pickel 40'-50' Wonderful dive Jerry...Beautiful system with several different morphologies. Flow is positive and manageable. Viz was good with heavy particulate. Water is still green.
10/21/2008 Jerry 50' River level has returned to current levels after a brief rain induced rise; flow did not rebound to pre-rise level. I could actually swim against it. Visibility has continued to improve.
10/18/2008 Jerry 50 Another guide orientation dive---Last weeks rain has brought the river up at least a foot and made th flow tolerable; vis has improved greatly. Another great dive.
10/15/2008 Jerry 50?? The river is still going down; the flow may be going down. Wishful thinking?? THe vis is improving it may be out to 50 ft. Managed to go from Little Hart to the Black Lagoon on thirds today---great dive!
10/9/2008 Jerry 40 to 50 River has dropped another foot or so; vis is slowly improving. Unfortunately the dropping river means the flow is still going up.
10/3/2008 Jerry 40 River has dropped about a foot from the last report; flow is screaming for the first 400 ft. The cave opens up from there and the flow subsides some. Vis is improving.
9/27/2008 Jerry 35 Went in Little Hart to check the lines and turn some arrows around. All arrows had pointed to Black Lagoon; with Little Hart opening Oct 1 that had to change. The line is in good shape. The passage from Little Hart to Big Hart has screaming flow. The cave looks virgin. Currently there is a lot of particulate in the water but that will clear. Excellent dive!
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Description Type Date Author Remarks
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Sslect Search Radius:
System Depth Cave Cavern OW Last Report Distance (mi)
 Overview Information Available for Hart Springs - Black Lagoon  Hart Springs - Black Lagoon 80 True False False 1/14/2023 0.2
 Overview Information Available for Rock Bluff Spring  Rock Bluff Spring 65 True False False 5/10/2015 8.7
 Overview Information Available for Fanning Springs  Fanning Springs False False True 6/12/2011 6.3
 Overview Information Available for Otter Springs  Otter Springs 55 True False False 1/17/2011 2.2
 Overview Information Available for Sun Springs  Sun Springs True False False 11/14/2009 2.3
 Overview Information Available for Little Otter Springs  Little Otter Springs True False False 2.7