LOCATION: 13851 Hwy 19N Salt Springs, FL 32134 Park: 352-685-2048 LENGTH: see individual trails TYPE: Loops/In and Out RANKING: Easy ACCESS: 8 am - 6 pm USAGE: Moderate FEES: $6 Parking Fee unless camping. Some hikes are free MAPS: on kiosk SURFACE: Compact soil with tree roots. sometimes sandy FEATURES: Lake, springs, canoe rental & fishing COMMENTS: Great family park PET FRIENDLY: Yes
The Ocala National Forest covers more than 650 square miles and is the second largest National Forest in Florida. The forest was established in 1908 and lies between the Ocklawaha and St. John's Rivers. It contains over 600 natural lakes, ponds and rivers, as well as central highlands, coastal lowlands, swamps and springs. It is noted for its Sand Pine scrub ecosystem and contains a high proportion of Florida's scrub habitat.
We camped in Salt Springs Recreation in February 2015 and loved being in the forest. The 1 1/2 mile Bear Swamp Trail is within Salt Springs Recreation and has several entry points. The trail is both sandy and compact soil with tree roots. The boardwalk is nice over the swampy areas. Be on the look out for bears and a resident alligator.
The entry to Salt Springs Observation Trail is on Hwy 19 just outside of the Recreation Park. There is an entry from the highway for vehicles and a parking area. It is a 2 mile hike in and out with a gorgeous view of the Salt Springs Run that flows 5 miles to Lake George. Look out for eagles, osprey, White Tail Deer and an alligator living at the end of the trail.
DIRECTIONS to Salt Springs Recreation: From junction of Hwy 19 and CR-314 drive north 1 mile on Hwy 19. Park is on the right.