Wilderness Areas

Ponds in the Juniper Prairie WildernessThe Ocala National Forest contains four Congressionally-designated wilderness areas which are places where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, protected and managed to preserve their natural conditions.  Here, the ecosystems are governed by natural processes, providing people with a place where the environment tests their skills and the mosquitoes try their souls.

  • Alexander Springs Wilderness (area is unavailable)
  • Billies Bay Wilderness (area is unavailable)
  • Juniper Prairie Wilderness (area is unavailable)
  • Little Lake George Wilderness (area is unavailable)

Hiking and canoeing are the primary ways to visit these areas, all of which predominantly contain a swampy interior of bays, gums, maple and cypress with a perimeter of longleaf and slash pine flatwoods.  These four areas present a range of wilderness experiences suiting both novice and skilled outdoor enthusiasts.

Otter fishing in a prairie pondWhile the remoteness of these swamps provides excellent opportunities for solitude, they also offer high probabilities of encounters with resident bears, alligators, wild boars and other denizens of the forest.

Visitors are reminded not only to practice Leave No Trace ethics while in the wilderness, but are also cautioned to Be Bear Aware.  Wilderness is a special place, full of adventure and the unexpected; a world with few guarantees but much to explore!