Juniper Springs - Flat Water Paddling

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About an hour north or Orlando and located in the Ocala National Forest, this gem is a fantastic place for an eventful day of paddling. With entrance fees of only $5.30 per person, this is certainly a bargain and a great choice for enjoying the day outdoors.

Written by

Jenn Velie


0.0 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

61.4 miles


3 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

1 hours

A half day.


All Seasons

Dog Friendly


Fees Permits


$5.30 entrance fee



While Florida is home to hundreds of natural springs, Juniper Springs is unique as it is extremely remote. One of the very interesting features of this spring is the depth, which ranges from 6”-18” for the first couple miles, just enough room for your boat to glide through the water. Many native creatures call this park home, as you float down the run keep your eyes peeled for wild turkeys, woodpeckers, alligators, and turtles just to name a few. A unique feature to this run are the small rapids about half way through your trip. You can hear the water rumbling over the rocks as you near.

What Makes It Great

The everyday noises such as cars, trucks and sirens vanish. The, quiet tranquility is broken by squawks of a Little Blue Heron or the melody of songbirds. If your trip started early in the morning you may be fortunate enough to even see or hear small mammals nestling in the brush searching for a meal. You can’t help but know that you are surrounded by thousands of acres of wilderness known as the Ocala National Forest. Maneuvering down the narrow twisting run, you experience a number of ecosystems. 

Guide your boat through a canopy of palmetto palms, oak and cypress. Further downstream the run gets deeper and the white sandy bottom becomes covered in decaying leaves. As the landscape evolves to a flood plain there will be an abundance of marsh grass and muddy banks, which bare alligator tracks. You never know what you may see around the next bend. This is truly an unforgettable experience and one that is unique to central Florida. 

Who is Going to Love It

This paddle is not for the beginner, because of the tight turns and shallow waters it is recommended that you have some paddling experience before making the 7-mile journey down the river. This is a very remote area, so I would also recommend that you are comfortable in a primitive setting with the possibility of not having cell phone service. If you are a novice paddler the park does offer instruction on Saturday mornings.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

Upon entering the park, be sure to get parking and unloading directions from the attendant. Whether you are renting or have brought your own vessel, make sure you stop at the concession to arrange a shuttle, as this is a one-way paddle. If your party happens to have two vehicles you can leave one at the takeout, Juniper Wayside Park on SR 19. Make sure to give yourself enough time to set up the shuttle at the concession and launch prior to noon. 

The park will not allow individuals to launch their boats or rentals after noon. The launch site is tucked away at the end of a 1/8th of a mile long boardwalk, so grab a kayak/canoe cart provided by the park and portage your boat to start your journey. You will know your adventure has come to an end when you reach the bridge, your take-out will be just past the bridge on the right. Note that NO disposable items are allowed (plastic water bottles, glass bottles, cans, zip lock bags, etc.) on the water. Make sure you bring water but have it in a reusable bottle. With these rules in place, it minimizes trash that litters see the river.

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Juniper Springs

26701 Florida 40
Silver Springs, FL, 34488
29.176414, -81.824806

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