Salt Springs Wildlife Observation Trail

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

The 1.9-mile loop Salt Springs Trail is an excellent place to familiarize yourself with the common native trees and shrubs of the Big Scrub, including sand live oak, Chapman oak, myrtle oak, Southern magnolia and saw palmetto. Interpretive information at the kiosk and along the trail aids in your understanding of the flora of this unique landscape. While the trail includes some sharp climbs and a long boardwalk, it's a good walk for families with a big payoff at the end - an observation deck for birdwatching.

When the spring run is high, the trail tends to flood ankle-deep or more along a stretch in the pine woods close to the boardwalk. The boardwalk is slippery when wet.

Salt Springs Recreation Area

This trail is part of the Salt Springs Recreation Area, which is one the recreational jewels of the Ocala National Forest, with a spectacular natural mineral spring that gives the area its name. Plenty of outdoor activities keep campers and day-use visitors busy, including swimming in the springs, fishing, snorkeling, hiking and boating. In the early 1900s, many people came to the spring, believing it had medicinal healing powers. Today's visitors will find Salt Springs gushes forth 52 million gallon of water daily at a constant 74° Fahrenheit.


  • An unimproved boat launch is located at the end of the campground closest to Salt Springs Run. It is directly across the run from the Salt Springs Marina. Follow the signs.


  • The campground is the largest in the Ocala National Forest and the only one with full hookups for RVs. The facility offers spacious campsites for RVs and trailers, as well as a designated tent-only area, which is a short walk from the parking area. Sites are nicely shaded and well away from the busy day-use area. 


  • Salt Springs Run is a relaxing place to fish, with small coves along the cypress-lined shoreline.


  • Swimmers enjoy the clear waters of Salt Springs Run nearest its source at Salt Springs. You'll often see a cluster of boats just past the floats marking the recreation area, with families frolicking in the shallows.

This site is operated by American Land & Leisure.

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Dawn to dusk
Fees Free
Closest Towns: Salt Springs has a gas station, grocery store, several restaurants, bait and tackle shops, a post office, laundromat and visitor center. The trailhead is just south of the town of Salt Springs along US 19. Watch for it on the left side of the highway past the curve.

General Information

General Notes:

Amenities at Recreation Area

  • Accessible walkways to swimming basin
  • Bathhouse
  • Boat ramp: An unimproved boat launch is located at the end of the campground closest to Salt Springs Run. It is directly across the run from the Salt Springs Marina. Follow the signs.
  • Campsites: 106 standard electric and 54 tent-only primitive campsites in the campground
  • Canoe rentals: Available at the Salt Springs Marina on a first come, first served basis. Personal flotation devices and paddles are provided with all rentals.
  • Drinking water 
  • Flush toilets
  • Interpretive site
  • Parking

Licenses and Passes


  • Boating in the National Forests in Florida is regulated by the state of Florida. Please visit our boating web page before you grab your personal floatation device and head out onto the water.  


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



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