About the Forest

The Ocala National Forest is located in north-central Florida between the Ocklawaha and St. Johns Rivers. Encompassing approximately 387,000 acres, it is the southernmost forest in the continental United States and protects the world's largest contiguous sand pine scrub forest. Despite its high, dry, central scrub ridges, the Ocala National Forest is rich in water resources with more than 600 lakes, rivers and springs.

Four major natural springs of crystal clear water can be enjoyed at the popular recreation areas of Juniper Springs, Salt Springs, Alexander Springs and Silver Glen Springs.

The forest hosts a variety of recreation, scenic and historic areas. The recreation activities are as diverse as the environment, from canoeing in wilderness waterways to swimming in crystal clear constant 72° springs. Visitors can enjoy year-round camping, picnicking, fishing, birding, hiking, bicycling, horseback riding and four-wheeling on designated jeep and ATV trail systems.


Florida Black Bear Festival

Florida Black Bear Festival

The Florida Black Bear Festival is held every year in Umatilla, Florida, the gateway to the Ocala National Forest.

Wilderness Areas

Juniper Prairie Wilderness

“A wilderness…is hereby recognized as an area where earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” (The Wilderness Act of 1964)

The Ocala National Forest offers four wilderness areas: Alexander Springs Wilderness (7,700 acres), Billies Bay Wilderness (3,120 acres), Juniper Prairie Wilderness (13, 260 acres) and Little Lake George Wilderness (2,500 acres).