Devil’s Millhopper is a natural landmark in Gainesville, FL that features a giant sinkhole with a number of tiny waterfalls that feed into the small lake at the bottom. It’s a beautiful hike down an enormous staircase, and an exhausting trek back up, but it’s well worth it.
I had no idea this was here, and I was thrilled to discover it for a few reasons — mainly because I was sure that Florida was flat as a board all the way from Jacksonville down to Miami. To be fair, there were also a couple hills on the drive to Gainesville (which was almost as exciting to see, being a transplant from Charlotte, NC), but changes in elevation around here are scarce to say the least. Walking down to the bottom of the sinkhole and looking back up to the top, you’d swear you were in the mountains.
There’s also a good bit of history to discover here and there, with little engraved plaques on the stairway that tell you things like how the Devil’s Millhopper got its name, how old the sinkhole is, and why there are moss-covered but clearly man-made planks of wood lying about.
Apart from the main attraction, there’s a short half-mile nature loop that encircles the top of the sinkhole. This was a great cooldown after our 6.5 mile hike at Levy Loop (and all of those stairs), and I really can’t get over exactly how much it felt like being in the mountains. The closest actual mountains to us are in Helen, GA, about six hours away, but it’s good to know we can come down to Gainesville and visit Florida’s inverse mountain.