I think most Floridians have seen a video or heard of The Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring. A couple of years ago, a spree of promotion videos captivated the imagination of any of us that did not already know about this spring. If you’ve seen any of those videos or pictures like me, you probably wonder what it’s like to visit. Most specifically, you probably want to know what the experience is like. Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring is a privately-owned scuba diving training center that you can also snorkel to experience.
Devil’s Den Spring Location
It is located north of Ocala and south of Gainesville in Williston’s small town. The Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring is in the middle of rural Florida. And while this might be off the beaten track for most, if you are interested in caves or diving, this is an area to check out. This area is also home to the Blue Grotto Dive Resort, another cave system you can explore.
- Address: 5390 NE 180 Ave, Williston, FL 32696.
- Phone: (352) 528-3344
- Email: [email protected]
Getting to The Devil’s Den in Florida
Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring is located at 5390 NE 180 Ave, Williston, FL 32696. Add the address to your GPS, and off you go.
You have the address set long before you get into rural areas because there are plenty of places around here with no Wi-FI.
Best Time to Visit Devil’s Den
There’s no such thing as a “best time” per se. The Devil’s Den it’s popular year-round and does not have a low season. It gets packed with snorkelers in the summer, and it is very popular for SCUBA divers during the winter. It’s also a great place for couples to snorkel or SCUBA in!
About the Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring
The Devil’s Den is essentially an underground cave spring that has an opening exposing it and providing light. This is formed by a karst window created from the dissolution of soluble rocks.
The original opening at the surface appeared to be a sinkhole. Before 1990, visitors had to squeeze through a small hole to reach the spring waters. Once the cave became open to the public in the mid-1990s, the opening was enlarged to create a more accessible access point. Predominantly a dive center, the company that owns it offers scuba diving and snorkeling experiences.
How Did The Devil’s Den Florida Form?
It took millions of years for Devil’s Den to form. Soft limestone rock, also known as karst, was dissolved by slightly acidic groundwater. Karst limestone is a soft rock containing ancient shells, plants, and animal remains. The organic material, such as shells, skeletons, and feces, was compressed under heavy pressure, resulting in limestone. The area is all that’s left from millions of years ago when Florida was a giant coral reef submerged under warm, shallow waters. Karst limestone is stunning, with holes poking through it, sometimes filled with water. There are pinhole-sized holes and huge caverns. Also, in Florida, there are substantial cave networks beneath the ground.
Reservations & Getting In
Devils Den is open for business, but they are enforcing social distancing. Once upon a time, it was first to come first in. Diving and snorkeling are now only available by reservation. Each participant must register individually. Guests must abide by the 6-foot social distancing guideline.
Devil’s Den Hours of Operation
Devil’s Den is open year-round, 364 days a year. It is not open on Christmas Day.
- Monday – Thursday: 9 am to 5 pm
- Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 8 am to 5 pm
The last water entry is at 4 pm, 1 hour before closing time, and the main gate closes at 5 pm.
Entering Devil’s Den Florida
Something is encapsulating and mysterious about this spring. Perhaps it’s the name or the fact that it’s essentially an underwater cave. Either way, even if it does not have an enticing title, you know it will be an experience once you see the entrance. Unlike others, if you’re into Instagram, always searching for the epic shot or a photographer, this place was made for you!
You enter via a concrete staircase that leads you to the top of the metal stairs that descend you onto the platform at the bottom. Entering the concrete steps is eerie. You don’t know what to expect even though you’ve seen the photos, making your heart race. Then, when you visit the spring, it’s as if you’ve personally discovered an oasis—reminded that you did not by the group of people gathered on the entrance platform.
Down the metal stairs to the entrance platform, and immediately you are awoken by the temperature of the water. The underground river is a constant 72 degrees. Even on a hot summer’s day in Florida, it is chilly at first feel. We opted to snorkel because we are not certified divers. And, even if we were not sure, I would dive here simply because I am a tad claustrophobic, and the depths here would be too much for me. Add to this; you can only see so far before you need a flashlight. This freaked me out.
Depth Of The Devil’s Den Florida
The cave reaches depths of 54 feet, and the surface is 120 feet wide. I must admit that it’s smaller than I anticipated. Or, maybe a better way to describe this is I assumed (you know what assumptions are) that we would be able to snorkel under into spots of the cave. This is not the case; you will float on the surface and swim in a circle if you snorkel. If you dive, you will be able to explore what’s hidden beneath. Four underwater passages extend from the pool under the opening, from 5 feet to 90 feet under the water’s surface. The passages contained animal and human remains dating back to approximately 7,500 BC. Don’t worry; you will not run into remains; they were removed.
How Large Is The Devil’s Den?
The surface diameter is 120 ft. It is the shape of an upside-down mushroom.