Ancient cypresses rise tall in the thick of the floodplain forest that parallels Salt Springs Run, tall enough to have provided shade when botanist William Bartram visited the springs in 1774. The 1.3 mile loop starts and ends at the edge of the campground, providing a gentle interpretive walk through typical Big Scrub habitats out to a boardwalk through the swamp. Don't miss this oasis of the ancients on your visit to the Salt Springs Recreation Area.
An easy walk for hikers of all ages and abilities, the Bear Swamp Trail is well-groomed and provides a boardwalk through the densest part of the ancient cypress swamp. The 1.3-mile loop includes interpretive information along the route.
Well-groomed natural surface path.
The trailhead is near the old restrooms by the tent camping area between the campground and the swimming area.
A small parking area is available within the campground, or park at the swimming area and walk back on the unpaved connector road to the campground to find the trailhead.
The trail may be seasonally flooded when Salt Springs Run overflows into the floodplain forest.
Take an early morning walk on the Bear Swamp Trail to encounter songbirds flitting from shrub to shrub. As you might guess from the name, this is prime bear habitat, so be sure to keep alert on your walk.
If you've never stood beneath an ancient cypress, you can do so along the boardwalk of the Bear Swamp Trail and marvel at how high it reaches to the sky. There is one touching the boardwalk with its girth and quite a few more ancient giants in this forest.
Most of Florida's massive cypresses were logged out over the past two centuries for use in construction and crates. Cypresses like these that remain typically have a flaw in them, such as a large cavity, that made them unsuitable for the loggers. Lucky for us!