Juniper Springs - Ocala National Forest, Florida
Clear blue water, historic features and remarkable
scenery make Juniper Springs one of America's
premier national forest recreation areas.
Juniper Springs, Florida
One the country's oldest
national forest recreation
areas, Juniper Springs is in
the Ocala National Forest.
Swimming, Scenery, History
Developed by the CCC in
1934 - 1935, Juniper Springs
is both a scenic and historic
Nature trails and boardwalks
wind through the forest at
Juniper Springs - Ocala National Forest, Florida
The CCC & Juniper Springs
|Copyright 2011, 2013 & 2014 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
Last Updated: March 26, 2014
Millhouse at Juniper Springs
The historic millhouse was
built in 1935-1936 by the CCC
to provide electric power for
the recreation area.
Ocala National Forest
In addition to swimming and
beautiful scenery, Juniper
Springs offers picnicking,
camping and canoe stream.
Juniper Springs is a place unlike any other in
the United States. Located in the Ocala
National Forest, the springs offer a unique
combination of scenic beauty, ecological
significance and historical importance.
Juniper Springs is made up of not just one,
but scores of small natural springs. There
are large vents in the main spring pool, but
dozens of sand boils, which literally look like
boiling sand, can be seen in the spring run.
These are small springs, where water rises
up to create one of the most beautiful creeks
in the world.
Combined with nearby Fern Hammock
Springs, Juniper produces a daily flow of
around 13 million gallons of water. The two
spring groups feed Juniper Springs Run, one
of the finest canoe and kayak streams in
The semi-tropical setting of Juniper Springs
gives it unique beauty. Palmettos mix with
oaks in the area around the spring pool,
creating an oasis in the "Big Scrub" of the
Ocala National Forest.
When the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC)
began work to develop the forest for public
use, Juniper Springs became a focal point of
its efforts. Workers built picnic facilities, trails,
campgrounds and other amenities to open
the area for the enjoyment of the people
during the darkest days of the Great
The historic millhouse at the main spring is
perhaps the most unique CCC-built structure
in the country.
Because Juniper Springs was then miles
from the nearest source of electricity, the
CCC conceived the idea of generating its
own power. The result of this plan was the
Built in 1935-1936, the millhouse used the
water flowing from Juniper Springs to turn an
undershot waterwheel that powered a
generator The generator, in turn, created
enough electricity to meet the needs of the
entire recreation area. It was a unique early
experiment in green energy.
The millhouse no longer generates power,
but has been beautifully preserved and now
houses interpretive displays that explain the
significance of the CCC and its work at
A platform at the entrance to the millhouse is
a great place to look down through the clear
water to see the main vents of the springs.
A series of walking trails lead from the main
spring pool into the wilderness area that
surrounds Juniper Springs Run. Perhaps the
prettiest is the barrier-free interpretive trail
that leads from the millhouse to a series of
overlooks along the creek.
Signs along the boardwalk that follows the
stream explain the plant and animal life seen
in the area, as well as the unique nature of
the creek itself.
One overlook, for example, provides a nice
view of the undershot waterwheel while
another details a historic stone bridge.
Another section of the boardwalk gives
visitors a chance to closely inspect some of
the sand boils that feed Juniper Springs Run.
Several of these are easily visible within just
feet of the path, which can be used by people
of all abilities.
Another overlook offers an outstanding view
of the crystal clear stream as it flows away
into the Juniper Prairie Wilderness Area, one
of the most pristine natural areas in the
country. The creek is so narrow here that it is
hard to imagine it is one of the most popular
canoe and kayak runs in Florida, yet a steady
stream of outdoor enthusiasts can be seen
paddling their way down it.
The trail eventually makes its way to Fern
Hammock Springs, the second spring group
in the park. The water flowing from it widens
the spring run as it winds into the wilderness.
Among the unique plants that can be seen
along the interpretive trail is the Coonti fern. A
member of the extremely rare cycad family,
the Coonti is one of the world's most
primitive seed producing plants. The stem is
poisonous, but the Seminole and other
historical Indian peoples of Florida knew how
to safely grind it into flour.
Juniper Springs is east of Ocala and Silver
Springs on State Road 40. To reach the park,
simply drive east on SR 40 until you see the
entrance on your left. The springs are 28
miles from I-75 at Ocala.
The entry fee is $5 per person and both
picnic facilities and campsites are available.
Canoe rentals are available and swimming
is allowed in the main spring pool
Please click here for more information or to
make campsite reservations.
Video of Juniper Springs Run
Florida Springs & Waterfalls