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  • Writer's pictureBrian Childress

Juniper Springs - Ocala, Florida

Juniper Springs (referred to locally as "the Springs"), located in the Ocala National Foresteast of Ocala, Florida, is a natural spring that forms the headwaters of Juniper Creek that winds its way to Lake George in the Saint Johns River.

The springs, set in a subtropical forest, are in an oval-shaped pool with limestonecavespresent on the bottom along with areas of sandand aquatic grasses. The pool is approximately 135 ft long and 80 ft wide and surrounded by a basin of rock and concrete. Next to the pool is an old Civilian Conservation Corps mill house with a waterwheel that used to generate electricity from the spring’s flow for the campsite. Because the Juniper Springs spring-shed is largely within Ocala National Forest, the water isn’t affected by fertilizer and septic tanks, as are many of Florida's springs and rivers.

Wildlife includes alligators, deer, raccoon, turtles, bobcats, otters, heron, and innumerable spiders.

Juniper Springs Recreation Area--which encompasses the spring, Juniper Creek, and adjoining camping and trails--is a popular recreation spot for swimming, canoeing, kayaking, camping, and hiking. Swimming is particularly popular as the water is 72 degrees, 365 days a year. The Juniper Springs canoe run is a nationally recognized attraction. The run takes between three and five hours to complete, from starting point near the Juniper Springs pool to an exit point off State Road 19 on the way to Lake George. Reserve America has named Juniper one of the top 25 canoe runs in the U.S. and between 30-35 canoes and kayaks are on the water every day with a record of 100.

The Millhouse and waterwheel built by the CCC in 1935.

Coversations/Things we learned:

This is a great location for hiking, kayaking, swimming, and/or just having a picnic. When we visited, we saw a black bear hanging out in a tree and other wildlife in the park. This would be a great day-trip and one we would go out of our way to visit. This is a very nice and clean state park.

Contact Information:

109 West Silver Springs Boulevard

Ocala, Florida 34475

Phone: (352) 438-2800




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