Bear Swamp Trail


Bear Swamp Trail

Bear Swamp Trail

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Bear Swamp Trail ancient cypresses

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.

Bear Swamp Trail entrance Bear Swamp Trail entrance Rusty lyonia (lyonia ferruginea) Rusty lyonia (lyonia ferruginea) Bear Swamp Trail

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Dawn to dusk
Area Amenities: Interpretive Site
Fees Included in admission to Salt Springs Recreation Area
Usage: Light-Medium
Closest Towns: Salt Springs
Information Center: Download a map of the Bear Swamp Trail (PDF)

General Information


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.



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Nature Viewing

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Viewing Plants

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! 

Viewing Wildlife

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.


Interpretive Site
Areas & Activities
Snorkelers at Alexander Springs

Springs of the Ocala

Otter fishing in a prairie pond

Animals of the Ocala