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Recreation

The natural beauty of Fern Hammock Springs

A part of the fabric of everyday life for thousands of people who live in communities inside and around its boundaries, the Ocala National Forest is a significant public resource for residents and visitors alike.

Deer hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, horseback riding, and canoeing are all traditional uses that continue to this day, along with more modern additions such as OHV trails.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

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Recreation Conditions Report

 Area Name Status Area Conditions
Alexander Run Open to Visitor
Alexander Springs Open to Visitor
Big Bass Campground Closed to Visitor Big Bass Campground  is open during the fall and winter months.
Big Scrub Campground Open to Visitor
Buck Lake Group Use Area Open to Visitor For group reservations only.
Clearwater Lake Recreation Area Open to Visitor
Doe Lake Recreation Area Open to Visitor For group reservations only.
Farles Prairie Recreation Area Open to Visitor
Florida Trail Open to Visitor Prepare for extreme heat, afternoon thunderstorms, and insects.
Fore Lake Recreation Area Open to Visitor
Fort Gates Ferry Open to Visitor Closed Tuesdays. Operates 7-5:30 all other days.
Hopkins Prairie Campground Closed to Visitor Closed Jun 2 - Sep 30
Juniper Run Open to Visitor
Juniper Springs Open to Visitor
Lake Delancy East Closed to Visitor Closed Jun 2 - Sep 30
Lake Delancy West Open to Visitor
Lake Dorr Recreation Area Open to Visitor The swimming area is too overgrown for use due to low lake levels.  No tent or soft sided campers camping due to recurring bear activity.
Lake Eaton Campground Closed to Visitor Campground closed until October 1.
Lake Eaton Sinkhole Trail Open to Visitor Contractors are replacing the staircase and boardwalk around the sinkhole rim this summer, which may result in full or partial trail closures.
Lake Eaton Trail Open to Visitor Recontruction of boardwalks along the trail may mean partial or intermittent closures during the summer months.
Lake Shore Group Campground Open to Visitor For group reservations only.
Mill Dam Recreation Area Open to Visitor Accessible restroom and sink are out of order in ladies room.
Ocala Adventure Trail Open to Visitor
Ocala North OHV Trail System Open to Visitor
Ocala Shooting Range Open to Visitor The range is usually closed on Wednesdays for repairs.
Ocklawaha Visitor Center Closed to Visitor Closed until further notice.
Pittman Visitor Center Open to Visitor
River Forest Group Camp Open to Visitor Open for reservations.
Rodman Recreation Area   
Salt Springs Open to Visitor
Salt Springs Campground Open to Visitor
Salt Springs Marina Open to Visitor
Salt Springs Visitor Center Closed to Visitor Closed until further notice.
Shanty Pond Campground Closed to Visitor No tent or soft sided campers camping due to recurring bear activity.  Closed Apr 16-Oct 14.
Silver Glen Springs Open to Visitor
St. Francis Trail Open to Visitor
Wandering Wiregrass Trail Open to Visitor
Wildcat Lake Open to Visitor
Yearling Trail Open to Visitor Expect full sun on the first/last mile of trail.

Spotlights

Alexander Springs

Enjoying a summer's day at Alexander Springs

There are only 27 first-magnitude springs in Florida, and Alexander Springs is by far one of the easiest for visitors to enjoy. A broad and naturally gently sloped spring pool becomes a natural water park when visitors come to picnic, swim, and play. The water is a constant 72°F and extraordinarily clear. Ripples play across the sand bottom as small fish dart about.  Surrounded by a floodplain forest of maples, sweetgum, and cabbage palms,  this recreation area feels almost tropical.

Salt Springs

Swimming at Salt Springs

Salt Springs Recreation Area is one of the recreational jewels of the Ocala National Forest. The recreation area is located in the lush, semi-tropical setting of central Florida. Within the recreation area is a natural spring rising from vertical fissures (cracks) from deep within the earth. The presence of potassium, magnesium and sodium salts give the waters in the spring a slight salinity. Hence the name Salt Springs.

Juniper Springs

Swimming at Juniper Springs

Showcasing sparkling springs in a subtropical setting, Juniper Springs is one of the oldest and best known recreation areas on the East Coast. Located between Ocala and Ormond Beach along SR 40, this complex of swimming and picnic area, campground, and trails was constructed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The setting is unlike any other found in the United States, with hundreds of tiny bubbling springs and massive springs gushing out of crevices in the earth beneath a dense canopy of palms and oaks, an oasis within the heart of the desert-like Big Scrub.

Silver Glen Springs

Silver Glen Springs basin

As the sun shines, rainbows play across the bottom of the crystal-clear spring basin at Silver Glen Springs, a beautiful spot along the edge of the Big Scrub of the Ocala National Forest, with a spring run that pours out into Lake George, the largest of the St. Johns River Chain of Lakes, north of Astor.  Both a popular day use recreation area and an important archaeological site, Silver Glen Springs showcases the delicate balance necessary between enjoyment of the outdoors and preservation of irreplaceable resources.

Ocala North OHV Trail System

OHV rider in Ocala National Forest

The Ocala North OHV Trail System offers 125 miles of trail which includes a 14 mile motorcycle-only trail; 35 miles of trail usable by motorcycles, all terrain vehicles (ATVs), and utility vehicles (UTVs) less than 50 inches wide; and 76 miles classified as "mixed use," which means OHVs share the trail with licensed vehicles.