Rose and McCormick sinks and Rose creek are in dry valley known as the Ichetucknee Trace–running north and east of Ichetucknee Springs. This valley marks the route of a major underground conduit supplying Ichetucknee springs with its clear water. Ichetucknee Springs State Park protects the springs and much of the Ichetucknee River that flows from them; however, limerock mining, development and other land uses near the sinks and in the Trace had exposed the conduit and groundwater that flows to the springs to potential pollutants. Around 1999, the State of Florida set about acquiring nine project sites to help protect the trace and the underlying conduit and improve and preserve Ichetucknee Springs. Preserving the quality and quantity of Ichetucknee’s water was deemed essential. A secondary benefit to the nearly 2800 acre project will be a public park and fishing area. This major project is not complete and there is plenty of management left but these few sentences provide tremendous insight to the connectedness of surface features and the quality of our drinking water’s source: the aquifer. Florida Forever 5-year Plan was used for most of this information and was a reassuring look into how Florida is strategically working to conserve land and resources for its residents and visitors. Surveying, mapping and exploring this pristine waterway’s source is one of KUR’s projects and with good conditions the team is working to collect and share data. Look for updates as our efforts progress.Portions of the following information were taken from the Dyal and Black Sinks Dye Trace Report conducted in 2003.

Rose Creek flows from east to west, terminating at Rose Creek Swallet in Columbia City. Rose Creek Swallet and Sink lie below the southwest front of the Cody Escarpment. This geologic feature is where Rose Creek, an intermittent stream draining a portion of the Northern Highlands south of Lake City, disappears into a cave in the underlying limestone. Rose Creek Sink and Swallet are approximately 3.25 miles south-southwest of Black Sink, and approximately 2.5 miles south of Dyal Sink.


The Rose Creek Cave System includes two surface expressions: Rose Creek Sink and Rose Creek Swallet. The Rose Creek Cave System is located in Columbia City, on the northeast corner of the intersection of Highways 47 and 240.

Rose Creek Swallet is circular, approximately 10 feet in diameter, and lies roughly 200 feet northeast of Rose Creek Sink. The swallet is nearly 50 feet deep with vertical walls, and is currently the furthest upstream point in the cave system. Rose Creek Swallet is the surface termination point of Rose Creek and during normal flow captures the entire flow of Rose Creek. During periods of flooding, both Rose Creek Swallet and Sink capture the flow of Rose Creek, with the larger sink receiving the overflow.

Rose Creek Sink is roughly circular and approximately 75 feet in diameter. This sink gradually deepens from the north-end to the south-end where it attains a maximum depth of 20 feet. Several groundwater vents are located in the western sink wall and supply water to Rose Creek Sink at a depth of 15 feet. Rose Creek Sink is the easiest and safest entry point to gain access to the cave. The cave entrance is located along the southeast wall of the Sink; is 26 feet high and 66 feet wide.


Rose Creek Swallet and Sink are connected via a small tunnel named the Swallet Tunnel. The Swallet Tunnel connects to the main cave system approximately 70 feet southeast of the main cave entrance. The Swallet Tunnel is a horizontal, phreatic passage, roughly 10 feet in diameter, over three hundred feet long, and averages 50 feet deep. The Swallet Tunnel is largely free of sediments due to the high water velocities that regularly flow through it. The upstream section nearest the Swallet contains significant amounts of visible bacteria. The Swallet Tunnel is littered with organic debris such as tree limbs to leaves, and manmade trash and debris.


Facts of Ichetucknee Park Sites

  • Max Depth: 143 feet
  • Surveyed Passage: about 16500 And Growing

Image Gallery

Have A Question?

Scroll to Top