Juniper Springs Recreation Area in the Ocala National Forest is one of the oldest and best known recreation areas on the East Coast.
The complex of swimming area, picnic grounds, campground and trails was constructed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
The focal point is Juniper Springs, with its hundreds of tiny bubbling springs and larger spring vents discharging millions of gallons of clear fresh water each day. A limestone wall around the spring has multiple access points for swimmers. Picnic tables and benches are found uphill of the spring, under the trees. The Old Millhouse with a spillway separates the spring pool from Juniper Creek.
Juniper Creek flows through Juniper Prairie Wilderness Area before meeting Lake George. Multiple small springs are found along this creek. Canoeing a 7 mile journey of Juniper Creek through the wilderness area is a popular activity year-round.
A 1 mile hiking trail leads from Juniper Spring to Fern Hammock Spring, a major spring contributing to Juniper Creek. Fern Hammock Spring consists of 20 or more sand boils scattered throughout the shallow spring pool, in a nearly pristine setting of dense native forest. No swimming is allowed in this spring.
The Juniper Springs Recreation Area is open both for day use and for camping. Juniper Springs Recreation Area is also an access point for the Florida Trail/Florida National Scenic Trail in the Ocala National Forest.
At a Glance:
Activities: Swimming, kayaking/ canoeing, hiking, wildlife viewing, picnic areas
Entrance Fee: Yes
Scuba Diving: No
Onsite Camping: Yes
Dogs Allowed: Yes on leash, not allowed in day use area.
Type of Park: US Forest Service/Ocala National Forest
Address and Contact Information:
26701 East Highway 40
Silver Springs, Fl 34488
Phone: (352) 625-3147
Location: Marion County Lat. 29° 11’ 01.34” N., Long. 81° 42’ 44.68” W.