Ocala National Forest is a playground for naturalists,
campers, fishermen, hikers and off-road enthusiasts. Covering
383,000 square acres, it contains a 100 miles of horse trails,
67 miles of scenic hiking trails and dozens of crystal clear
spring-fed lakes and ponds.
Sections of the Ocala National Forest are open to off-road
vehicles. This is one of the best motorcycle / ATV areas in
the state. There are hundreds of miles of trails within the
designated areas. The U.S. Forestry Service - a segment of
the U.S. Department of Agriculture - controls activities
within the forest. Unlicensed Vehicles are not permitted on
improved roads and a spark arrestor is required.
Some areas are off-limits in order to protect endangered
species. Information on which areas are off-limits can be
obtained from forest rangers, who will gladly give you a map
showing these areas.
One of the most popular family visitation sites in the Forest
is Juniper Springs National Park. Juniper Springs is the site
of an old mill where you can swim in a natural spring. The
seven-mile canoe run from Juniper Springs is one of the best
canoeing opportunities in central Florida. The canopied creek
winds through dense, primeval forests that seem untouched by
man — on weekdays, anyway. Come early in the morning and
you’ll paddle through dappled light that filters through the
trees down into crystalline water.
The forest is dotted with crystal clear spring-fed lakes, most
of which offer fishing in these pristine waters. Picnic areas
are numerous and the many forest trails are a nature lovers