United States » Morrison Springs

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Rated 2.5/5 stars (811 ratings)

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

Morrison Spring is approximately 4.9 miles southeast of Ponce de Leon. From I-10 just south of Ponce de Leon, travel 3.7 miles south on SR 81. Turn east (left) on SR 181 and travel 1.7 miles. Turn south (right) on SR 181 A. Travel 0.5 miles then turn east (left) into the park.

Description - Morrison Spring occupies a large, bowl-shaped depression and forms a circular spring pool with a diameter of 300 ft. The vent is near the center of the pool at a depth of 46 ft. The bottom is sand except near the vent where limestone is exposed. The water is light blue and slightly turbid with a prominent boil on the pool surface. However, cave divers report that the water is crystal clear in the cavern and cave system. There is abundant aquatic vegetation and very little algae. The spring run is 150 ft wide and slow-moving. It flows approximately 0.7 miles southeastward into the murky Choctawhatchee River. When the river is in flood stage, river water reportedly backs up into the spring pool. On the south side of the spring run, approximately 300 ft downstream from the pool, high ground meets the run’s shore and rises steeply to 15 ft above the water. The spring and its run are within the western lowland floodplain of the Choctawhatchee River, in a dense gum and cypress forest. A house and picnic pavilion are east of the spring pool, and a cleared swath leads from the pavilion down to the water’s edge. Rosenau et al. (1977) report that there are 3 cavities at the bottom of the spring pool. One of those cavities reaches an eventual depth of 300 ft.

Utilization - The spring is a private park operated primarily for swimming and scuba diving.
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Latitude: 30.657528
Longitude: -85.9046
Coordinate System:
Maximum Depth: 50'
 Cave Diving
 Cavern Diving
 Open Water Diving
Date Submitter Visbility Remarks
2/4/2023 Dave W. 0 Completely flooded out from the Choctawhatchee
11/5/2022 Joe W. 100 Choctawhatchee is sitting at about 2’, giving Morrison’s flow free-reign over the run. Visibility in the basin and cavern is as perfect as it gets. Inch high sand boils are numerous on the cavern floor, and a disturbance had created a large (10’ wide, 5’ high) sand cloud as sand fell toward the restriction on the near side of the boulder, got blasted back out, and then cycled to sustain the cloud, obscuring the restriction from 85’ to ~90’. I’m not aware if this is a common occurrence at Morrison, or if the disturbance was the result of earlier dives. Freshwater eels are numerous. Few swimmers were present, and when I exited the water ~17:30cst, everyone had left.
9/9/2019 Mark R. Janson 100 Hit it on a Monday morning. Viz was incredible even in the basin. Crystal clear all the way into the surrounding cypress trees. Flow was moderate. Easy entry into cavern.
9/2/2019 Kole Kindschuh 100 Gin clear in the cavern. Flow was up at the entrance, but down in the cavern. Eels were out and swimming around the entire cavern- usually they're a little more shy. OW group mucking up the basin, but not any worse than the hundreds of swimmers.
4/13/2019 Joseph 50-70 Swimmers kick up sediment but the closer you get to the entrance, the flow of water keeps the visibility pretty clean and clear.
11/4/2018 ghost95 50-70' Nice day at Morrison. I had the spring to myself. Flow was strong at the entrance to the lower cavern but manageable without having to drag yourself through the opening. VIZ in the basin was probably 40'-50' but cleared in the lower cavern. 70' on the lower. Side note: A group of asshats has brought another picnic table down to the upper cavern. Not sure why they keep doing this. Wish the park would use the cameras they have all over and find out who is doing this and do whatever they can do to stop it.
9/24/2018 Tim perfect! After being closed for some time, the spring opened just a few days before we arrived from Missouri. My 13-year-old son just certified and I was looking forward to getting him in the spring. We got lucky. The conditions were great. Visibility was pristine. We made two dives and were the only divers there. Having a new diver as a partner, I did not dive the cavern this trip.
6/18/2018 Mark R. Janson 0 Spring still blown out due to high tannic water flooding. Looks like it may take a few more weeks for levels to drop. No sign of a boil at the surface.
5/13/2016 Vince Ferris 100 Water level down to bottom of ramp steps. Great visibility. Strong flow at lower cavern entrance.
12/13/2015 Vince Ferris 30-100 Basin 30ft vis down to opening of lower cavern. 100ft vis to the bottom.
4/20/2015 Vince Ferris flood stage Flood stage. Unknown conditions but probably very poor.
3/29/2015 Vince ferris 5-100 The basin is murky with 5 ft viz. At 50 ft of depth the viz becomes unlimited as you enter the lower cavern. Flow from vent strong with huge slick on the surface. From 90 feet a very slight hint of daylight. Strongly suggest using a line.
3/29/2015 Vince ferris 5-100 The basin is murky with 5 ft viz. At 50 ft of depth the viz becomes unlimited as you enter the lower cavern. Flow from vent strong with huge slick on the surface. From 90 feet a very slight hint of daylight. Strongly suggest using a line.
12/31/2013 Stud Closed The park is closed. The water level is up to the stairs.
7/5/2013 Vince unknown At flood stage.
6/8/2013 vince Closed Closed due to RN fecal matter. Next test on Monday.
5/7/2013 Chris Clark F***ked Holy WTF... This is the worst I have seen the basin in quite a while. The hydrilla is the worst I have ever seen in this basin, but that just might be an illusion of sort due to the <2 ft vis. I actually had a hard time finding the log and I literally have 100-150 dives in this system. Vis cleared up to 15-20ish near the reaper sign and there was literally no visible ambient light once you hit 25-30 ffw. I did not check out the cavern because of the training level of the guy I was diving with. Let's just say that we probably could not have picked a worse day for him to attempt his first "non-training" dive. Needless to say his next dive will be better, because it is pretty hard to get much worse than this dive.
8/26/2012 Brandon 50ft Slightly dirty above the cavern area. Cleared up at about 10ft to great vis. THe system is pumping.
6/4/2012 Oliver 30m My buddy and I headed over to Morrison Springs this morning for a day of diving in the sun. So this is my first report, with hopefully more to come after our upcoming basic cave training. The visibility in the basin is fantastic, we would guess at least 30 yards, if not more. The temperature in the lower cavern was 69 degrees and with a powerful light you would pretty much be able to shine right across from one side to the other, well virtually at least. There was some flow, which we did notice, but once we figured out a plan (low and left hand entry worked for us), it was no problem at all. The amount of eels and other fish in the cavern is amazing, so we had a real good time and plenty of fun.
5/13/2012 vince ferris 100 Best basin and cavern conditions I have seen all year. 100 ft or better.
2/25/2012 Justin 5' Tannic water up to the steps. Settled for Vortex instead. Would like to plan a dive down to the caverns which are likely clear.
1/27/2012 David Frisk 5'-100' Visibility in the basin until you dropped down into the cavern was very poor.. 5'max..
12/31/2011 Justin 20-40' Warm, tannic water was coming out of a vent in the spring across from the upper cavern. Not the best visibility on the dive, but pretty clear (maybe up to ˜40') away from the dark water. The lower cavern and inside the upper cavern cavern were better. All of the water in and around the basin is green.
10/29/2011 Richand Dinon 50-100 Basin is very clear before being stirred by ow kids. Crystal clear in the cavern. Flow is normal to up
2/21/2011 Vince Ferris 50 top half 100 lower half Basin had 50 ft viz and 100ft inside cavern down to 93ft depth.
11/14/2010 T-PUC 50-90' Scuba babies kicked up a bit, but once below 35 feet, vis cleared to 90'
10/1/2010 Mathew Bull 100' Waters low, basin is crystal, cavern is crystal, lots of life out at night.
8/20/2010 WJefferis 100 The water was air clear despite the recent rains we have been getting.
7/16/2010 Mathew Bull 40-100' Little milky in the basin from runoff after several downpours, cavern was crystal clear.
6/26/2010 Dhammer80 30-50 Cavern was beautiful as always, Classes were slippin sliding down the cone into the Entrance causing Vis to fall off but everyone has to learn sometime. Great dive as always
5/20/2010 Louis 60 Cavern was clear, but basin was green with limited vis. Flow is up.
4/24/2010 Mathew Bull 60'-100' Basin looks good, cavern looks great.
4/18/2010 Mathew Bull 100' Basin would have been clear with 100' vis had we beaten the crowds onsite, cavern was excellent as usual.
3/28/2010 Vince Ferris 5-100 Basin reamins tannic with heavy particulates at around 5 foot viz. Just beyong the log at about 30 feet the visibility becomes unlimited. Flows from the lower cavern is very strong. A small slick can be seen on the surface from the spring flow. Beware of monofilament line stretched all over the place from months of fishermen and no divers.
8/24/2009 Vince Ferris 3-75' River intrusion limits surface visibility to only several feet., however at approximately 8 ft the water begins to clear. Visibility in the upper cavern about 50ft, lower cavern about 75ft. Flow moderate to low.
8/24/2009 Vince Ferris 3-75' River intrusion limits surface visibility to only several feet., however at approximately 8 ft the water begins to clear. Visibility in the upper cavern about 50ft, lower cavern about 75ft. Flow moderate to low.
8/20/2009 Mathew Bull 40-100' Little tannic on the surface, but once you drop down 5', you're in clear spring water with excellent visibility. Vis continues to get better the closer to the spring depression you get.
8/14/2009 Mathew Bull 40-100' Basins a bit green, but clear, turns blue near the spring depression. Cavern is crystal clear. Flow is down.
7/17/2009 Mathew Bull 30-100' Tannic intrusion in the basin, but the spring water boiled up and was visible in the middle as a blue spot in the midst of a brown basin. Once you descend 10' or so, you break into clearish(30') green water, with blue water expelling directly over the spring depression. Water here and in the caverns was 100'.
6/21/2009 Mathew Bull 30-100' Basin was a bit green, but cleared once in the main depression and the cavern was as spotless as always. Get there early or late to avoid the crowds. Don't expect to use the "Scuba Center" Dive platform as the swimmers seemed to have claimed it. Its easier to wade in at the beach anyway.
6/14/2009 David Todd 50 Afternoon we dove Morrison, lots of other divers were there, river was still over the spring with one clear hole leading in. 10' of tannic water then awesome vis 50 Saw two of the biggest eels I have ever seen. We made two dives.
5/10/2009 Michael Meyer clear river was up at 9' and swamp was flooded. Water tannic above the the basin. Barely to see where the basin was. Vis got better going further down to 5'-10' where the cypress tree is and cavern entrance clearly visible. Inside perfect vis as always. Outflow was moderate to strong. Lots of locals out there that swim and hang out in the park. Park turned out to be very nice since reopening.
3/12/2009 Mathew Bull 70-80' and crystal clear in the cavern Conditions are great at Morrison right now. Waters high enough to swim the run and check out the outskirts of the basin and its low enough that the river has backed out of the spring run.
3/6/2009 Shirley Kasser Great in the cave An FSU UCSI (Underwater Crime Scene Investigations) team was just finishing up some training and the basin was very low viz. However, once in the cave, the visibility was spanking clear. This was my first time here, and I am impressed. Very nice cave with lots of personality!
2/26/2009 Mathew Bull 25-100' Park opened back up on this Thursday. We made it onsite that night around 7:30PM and had the place to ourselves. Gate was open and park lights were on. New boardwalks and dive entry platform in place. New pavillions, rinse stations, showers, bathrooms, and paved parking. New boat launch is located up the run just a 100 yards down from the spring basin. Visibility in the basin was 25-30' and the cavern visibility was wall to wall. Glad this dive is available again, one of the best cavern dives in Florida!
10/19/2008 Mathew Bull 80' Park construction seems complete, but apparently they are lacking certain permits and remain closed. Expect to see a floating dock, large boardwalks, large pavillion, ect next time you are out - its not the somewhat pristine spring it used to be, its now a full out park. The new boat launch is open and we used it as our entry(150-200m down from the spring). Flow is up and visibility is great.
6/17/2008 War Eagle n/a I spoke with Walto Co. Parks & Recreation today. Originally the park was slated to open end of June. They said it looks more like end of August time frame.
3/20/2008 Dominik N/A Checked it out, but park still closed because of construction. The water was rather high and the visibility didn't look too good.
2/17/2008 Mathew Bull 1-2' Didn't dive, just went to check on progress over there. Morrison Springs is currently closed as the park is being built. River is high and has intruded into the basin, lots of particulate and tannic water. I visited on the 17th, and since then the water has risen substantially, I wouldn't be suprised if the flow has reversed.
11/17/2007 Mathew Bull 80-100' Water levels are still low, basin is clear, run is clear but very shallow.
11/4/2007 Mathew Bull 80' in basin, pristine cavern Water levels are low, and visibility is up. The run is hard to swim due to waterlevels but everything around the basin and cavern areas are great. Traffic is way down with the cold snap, I didn't see any locals hanging around although a couple launched boats.
10/1/2007 Bob Overstreet 100 Flow was decent, so we used it for line running practice 2 days in a row. Cavern is unlimited viz. Vents were flowing pretty healthy.... a bit surprising since so many other systems' flows are way down.
7/10/2007 NikDiveLocker 100 Exelent place for Free Diving. Rebreasing above platform, then go down folowing cabele to cave entrance, under log, up to another site of basin. Time under vater 1min. If anyone wants to free-dive with me, I am there every second Saturday. Nik
5/12/2007 Mathew Bull 100 The place is becoming the preffered training grounds for OW students it seems. Hot air temps, seemed like everyone(divers/swimmers alike) wanted to get to Morrison. Get there early or late to avoid crowds.
3/17/2007 Mathew Bull 100 Get there early unless you enjoy dodging students. The run is deep enough to enjoy without your belly in the silt.
2/17/2007 Eric Lieberman 2 foot in open water.. cavern clear Tanic water covered morrison, dropping the water temp to 58 degrees in some parts of the spring.. cavern entrance raised to the 62 range without entering the cavern. Bones have been washed into morrison spring and litter all parts of it. The waterline is 3 feet higher then usual reaching almost up to the bench areas.
12/30/2006 Jim Hunter 100 River has backed up into the spring basin (typical for this time of year) and you had about three feet of vis until you hit the entrance to the cavern. Cavern is clear as usual with a healthy outflow. Given the rain we have had since then I seriously doubt it has gotten any better.
9/23/2006 Perrone Ford 80 Viz in the basin was nice. A few classes in the water. It appears the world has discovered this place. Hopefully things will slow down as the temps get colder. It appears that the opening in the lower cavern was filled in by someone, but some debris has already been pulled out. Lower cavern was clear as always. Upper cavern had some interesting developments, but sidemount would be necessary to pursue properly. Beware as the upper cavern floor is very silty and there isn't a lot of flow.
8/8/2006 rainmaker 80 - 100 ft. Viz in the basin was excellent. My brother and I were there mid-week and were the only divers, though there were some snorkelers and swimmers around. Water level appeared to be quite low.
4/21/2006 Stud 100 Crystal clear water...even in the basin. We had the whole place to ourselves too! Phenomenal conditions!!!
12/15/2005 Mathew Bull 3-4' estimated Didn't dive it, just stopped by on the way to Cypress. Water levels are way up and tannic water fills the basin. I would suspect that tannic water intrudes all the way to the cavern entrance before clearing up past the restriction.
11/16/2005 Genesis 60-100, gin-clear Water is way down, log visible from shore along with the platform. Cavern gin-clear as usual. Get there before people mudpuppy it and the run is gorgeous as well.
11/6/2005 Mathew Bull 80' Visibility was around 80' while we were there, probably better if you get in before classes start rooting around on the bottom. Cavern is gin clear.
10/15/2005 Mathew Bull 100 Got there a bit later than usual and there was already people in the water, I wouldn't be surprised if there was 100' of visibility or more before we entered the water.
10/2/2005 Mathew Bull 100 Flow still seems to be up, caverns spotless, the run is pretty clear at least a few hundred yards down. The basin had about 50' of visibility, probably a bit more before it was kicked up.
9/17/2005 Mathew Bull 50-60' after the locals cleared out The basin visibility was limited by our lights only, we dove late dusk and into the night. Cavern was gin clear as always and the flow seems to be up a bit. Vis reports were lower earlier in the day, but seemed to be because of all the traffic through the spring itself.
9/11/2005 jviehe 50 Was somewhat clear around basin, perfectly clear in cavern.
8/28/2005 Mathew Bull 100' The basin still looks tannic from the surface, but once you drop down past 3-4' it clears to 30-40' around the basin and 10-15' in the spring run at least 200' downstream. The cavern is gin clear with a strong positive flow.
8/14/2005 Mathew Bull 100' Water level is high and the first 10' of water consisted of tannic water. The immediate area around the basin was clear with a greenish tint and blue directly over the cavern entrance. From the platform, you could see midway down the cypress tree across the basin. The cavern was gin clear as always with positive flow. There weren't too many other divers onsite and the gate at the head of dive site was closed so we had to walk down to the water. Sometime during the dive, the gate was unlocked and opened.
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