Ocala National Forest. Tel (352) 625-7470
Established in 1908, the Ocala National Forest is the oldest national forest in the eastern US. However, it can be a disappointing experience because of the intense human activity. Logging, tree planting, controlled burns, hunting and off-road vehicles are just some of the activities you may encounter.
Despite these distractions there are several canoe trips that are definitely worth taking.
One is the
Juniper Creek Canoe Run . For a small fee you can rent a canoe at Juniper Springs and paddle down the 11 km (7-mile) canoe trail formed by Juniper Springs and nearby Fern Hammock Springs. The trip takes about 4 hours and passes through some of the finest semi-tropical forest in the continental US. Avoid the weekends and peak summer months when the run becomes overcrowded.
Other worthwhile canoe trips in the Ocala National Forest area include
Alexander Spring Creek (352) 669-3522, and Silver Glen Springs (352) 685-2799. Once again, avoid weekends and holidays when both areas become seriously overcrowded.
For a whole day of canoeing, you can rent a canoe from one of several private outfitters just outside the forest and paddle the 30 km (19-mile) Ocklawaha River Run. Alligators and turtles abound and the outfitters will usually pick you up at the end of the trip and take you back to your car. This trip is best made in spring or fall.
More information on their web site
Ocala National Forest web site
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