LOCATION: (lat. 28°01'15.0" N., long. 82°27'05.0" W.)
Sulphur Springs is located in Hillsborough County, between Florida & Nebraska Avenues, just South of the dog track along the Hillsborough River in Tampa.
The spring, which has a very strong flow, has been walled up to form a swimming pool with a spillway that leads to the river. It was a popular swimming hole until the rising nitrate/coliform levels forced health officials to close it to the public.
Although the property has been posted for years, a few
diver's were granted permission to survey in 1994 and mapped over 4000
ft of passage. The cave opening has been widened a bit to allow easier
access for divers with scooters. Connections to a couple of sinks to the
North have also been established, but as far as I know, the entrances are
impassable. For years the city of Tampa funneled stormwater runoff into
numerous sinkholes in the area. Over time, the water quality in the spring
has gradually deteriorated to the point that it is almost unsafe to dive.
The pollutants from the runoff have caused the entire circumference of
the cave to become lined with a thick coating of algal
detritus which tends to be dislodged by the divers exhaust, thus reducing visibility.
Load up on your vitamin supplements before you dive this one.
Aerial view of the spring and it's run to the Hillsborough River
The spring in it's heyday, with huge slide - 1920
The spring in it's heyday, huge slide and several diving platforms - 1920
The toboggan, long before Busch Gardens Adventure Island - 1922
A view of the spillway and beach - 1939
Streetmap overlay of the cave system
2003 Video footage of spring dive