Backpacking trip reports, photos, videos, gear reviews, trail maps, GPX files, and more!

Juniper Springs

Description:

Juniper Springs was the first spring I visited while living in Florida. It’s located about 30 minutes east of Ocala along SR-40, a few miles west of SR-19. The water in the spring is very cold, much colder than the other springs I’ve been to. One end is shallower, good for wading and small children, while the other end is much deeper. There is a concrete wall alongside the deep end that you can jump off. The water here is about 15 feet deep. The rest of the pool is around 8 feet deep on average. The entire pool is surrounded by concrete, including steps that lead down into the water.

The deep end of the pool has an dam that was used to power the old mill that is still standing here. It was used to generate electricity for the site when it was first built, in the 1930s I believe. After leaving the pool, the water forms Juniper Run which flows into Lake George about 10 miles away. There is a trail that follows the run for about a 1/4 mile before leading you to Fern Hammock Spring. The water in the section is very clear, and has sand boils visible in multiple locations. Sometimes the water has a reddish color that bleeds out of the trees, and mixes with the clear water. It’s very lush and tropical looking through here, and is definitely worth the walk.

Tannins stain the crystal clear water of Juniper Run

For me, the spring is just too cold to enjoy most of the time, although it’s nice to look at. Canoeing Juniper Run is a better option if you want to explore this area.

osprey aether 85l men's backpack

Canoeing down beautiful Juniper Run in the Ocala National Forest

osprey aether 5200 cu backpack

Day hike through the Juniper Prairie Wilderness

The Juniper Springs Recreation Area is also a good place to park if you want to hike in the Juniper Prairie Wilderness. Hiking to Hidden Pond is a great day hike, about 5 miles each way. There are other hiking opportunities here but I would say Hidden Pond is your best choice.

Fees:

Day Use

$5 per person
Overnight parking $12.72 per vehicle
Camping $21 per site

Canoe Rental

$33/day plus $20 deposit per canoe
$6 per person for rehaul of private canoe

Directions:

26701 EAST HWY 40 Silver Springs, Florida 34488

(352) 625-3147

View Larger Map

Official website: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/ocala/recarea/?recid=34064

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *