The Santa Fe River is a 75-mile (121 km) river in northern Florida. The watershed of the river is approximately 1,380 square miles (3,574 km2) and spreads across southern Columbia, southern Suwannee, western Bradford, far southern Baker, Union, northern and eastern Gilchrist, and northern Alachua counties. The headwaters of the river are Lake Santa Fe, near Keystone Heights. The Santa Fe River is usually a slow-flowing river. This slow speed, combined with the abundant leaf-drop from nearby trees, especially Bald Cypress, leads to a very dark-brown river.
The Santa Fe River is unusual in that it completely disappears underground and then reappears 3 miles (4.8 km) downstream. The river drops into a large sinkhole in O'Leno State Park and reappears in the adjacent River Rise Preserve State Park. A map of the watershed clearly shows the gap in the river where it flows underground. Springs like Gilchrist Blue, Ginnie, Hornsby, Lily, Poe, and Rum Island springs are located at the banks of the river, mostly downstream of the river's reappearance above ground level.
The water temperature near the numerous springs is always around 72 °F (22 °C). The area is sparsely populated compared to the rest of Florida, there have been sightings of animals like the black bear, bobcat, the rare Florida panther and due to the near-constant water temperatures along many portions of the river, manatees. As with many rivers in Florida, plant and animal fossil remnants are plentiful along the Santa Fe. 
The tributaries of the Santa Fe include the New River, Olustee Creek, and Ichetucknee River, another spring-fed river. The Santa Fe empties into the Suwannee River near Branford, Florida.
The river derives its name from a Franciscan mission named Santa Fé de Toloca formerly located near the river.
- ^ Florida State Map Collection. Geology.com
- ^ Lake Santa Fe. Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
- ^ Figure 6 - Map of Santa Fe River Suwannee River Watershed. United States Environmental Protection Agency.
- ^ Florida Department of Environmental Protection. "Santa Fe Springs". Florida's Springs. Retrieved on 2012-11-16.
- ^ a b Canoe Trips. UF Canoe & Rafting Club.
- ^ Gilchrist County, The natural place to live
- ^ Fossiliferous. E.R.Matheau-Raven.
- ^ COLLECTING FOSSIL PLANTS IN FLORIDA. Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida.
- ^ Diets, habitat preferences, and niche differentiation of Cenozoic sirenians from Florida: evidence from stable isotopes MacFadden, Bruce J; Higgins, Pennilyn; Clementz, Mark T; Jones, Douglas S. Paleobiology, Spring 2004.
- ^ Suwannee River Watershed. National Showcase Watersheds, United States Environmental Protection Agency.
- ^ Simpson, J. Clarence (1956). In Mark F. Boyd. Florida Place-Names of Indian Derivation. Tallahassee, Florida: Florida Geological Survey.
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Coordinates: 29°49′05″N 82°11′00″W / 29.8180136°N 82.1833239°W