Ocala

Ocala is surrounded by more than 200 miles of hiking trails, including two large segments of the Florida Trail along the Cross Florida Greenway and through the Ocala National Forest.

Nearby: Belleview, Dunnellon, Gainesville, Inverness, Leesburg, Micanopy, Palatka, Salt Springs, Silver Springs, Williston

It is one of the most ideal jumping-off-points for hikers looking to enjoy a flurry of day hikes or a week or more worth of backpacking. The Santos Bike Trails are renowned throughout the state for their diversity and difficulty, and there are some of the best paddling runs in the region nearby on the Silver, Rainbow and Withlacoochee Rivers and at Juniper Springs.

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Trails and Parks in Ocala

  • Florida Trail, Baseline to Marshall Swamp Florida Trail, Baseline to Marshall Swamp - Along the Baseline Road to Marshall Swamp section of the Florida Trail in Ocala, enjoy a swath of true urban wilderness, a mile-wide corridor edged on both sides by subdivisions and strip malls.
  • Cross Florida Greenway Florida Trail, Cross Florida Greenway - A prime destination for backpacking and day hiking near Ocala, the Florida Trail, Cross Florida Greenway stretches 30 miles between Dunnellon and Silver Springs.
  • Florida Trail, Land Bridge to Santos Florida Trail, Land Bridge TH to Santos - Between the Land Bridge Trailhead and Santos, the 7-mile linear section of the Florida Trail winds its way around horse farms to meander through stands of oaks and pines.
  • Florida Trail, Ocala section Florida Trail, Ocala - 73.4 miles. The birthplace of the Florida Trail, the Ocala section is Florida’s top backpacking destination, showcasing the world’s largest sand pine scrub forest and some of Florida’s largest springs in the Ocala National Forest. Despite its scorched earth, the Juniper Prairie Wilderness remains a popular destination for hikers. Beauty spots like Hopkins Prairie and Riverside Island above Lake Delancy should not be missed.
  • Florida Trail, Ocala National Forest Florida Trail, Ocala National Forest - The top destination for backpackers in Florida is the Florida Trail, Ocala National Forest. This 70-mile section is the oldest section of the trail, easy to follow.
  • Florida Trail, Pruitt Florida Trail, Pruitt - Switchbacks, scrambles, and a smattering of history - the Pruitt section of the Florida Trail along the Cross Florida Greenway is one of Central Florida's more fascinating hiking destinations.
  • Florida Trail, Pruitt to Ross Prairie Florida Trail, Pruitt to Ross Prairie - Scrambling up and over the historic diggings of the failed Cross Florida Barge Canal, the Florida Trail between Pruitt trailhead and Ross Prairie tunnels through dense hardwoods
  • Florida Trail, Ross Prairie to SW 49th Ave Florida Trail, Ross Prairie to SW 49th Ave - Along this stretch of the Florida Trail through sandhills and scrub, you'll scramble over more historic diggings and see fern-draped limestone boulders scattered through the forest
  • Florida Trail, Santos to Baseline Florida Trail, Santos to Baseline - A 4.5-mile section of the Florida Trail between Belleview and Silver Springs Shores, the Santos to Baseline section on the Cross Florida Greenway is a linear woodland in suburbia.
  • Florida Trail, SW 49th Ave to Land Bridge Trailhead Florida Trail, SW 49th to Land Bridge TH - Enjoy rough and rugged terrain topped with a fluffy pine forest on this segment of the Florida Trail on the Cross Florida Greenway, which includes the Land Bridge over I-75.
  • FT Citrus Florida Trail, Western Corridor - 231.1 miles. An alternate route for thru-hikers to the Orlando and most of the Ocala sections, the Western Corridor provides excellent hiking opportunities within easy reach of residents of the Tampa Bay area, offering numerous backpacking loops. It traverses the Green Swamp in addition to vast sections of Withlacoochee State Forest and the entire Cross Florida Greenway.
  • Ross Prairie State Forest Holly Hammock Hiking Trail - A 2.4 mile loop showing off the habitat diversity of Ross Prairie State Forest, this easy hike provides scenic panoramas across the prairie on a mostly shaded trail.
  • Johnson Pond Trail Johnson Pond Trail - One of the best places in Florida to walk through a rosemary scrub on a hiking trail, the Johnson Pond Trail is part of Withlacoochee State Forest near Citrus Springs
  • Marshall Swamp Trail Marshall Swamp Trail - On this 5.6-mile round-trip hike, follow the Florida Trail on a linear journey through the giant trees of Marshall Swamp without getting your feet wet.
  • Oxbow Trail Oxbow Trail - With two loops along an oxbow in the Withlacoochee River, the Oxbow Trail is the northernmost trail in Withlacoochee State Forest and a scenic short walk.
  • Rainbow Springs Sandhill Trail Rainbow Springs Sandhill Trail - The Sandhill Trail at Rainbow Springs State Park leads hikers into rolling terrain punctuated with ravines created by mining and restored by nature, and offers a new perspective on the Rainbow River
  • Rainbow Springs Rainbow Springs State Park - A place of beauty that morphed from phosphate pits to botanical attraction over the course of a century, Rainbow Springs State Park cradles one of Florida's most beautiful first-magnitude springs and the river it creates in a wrap of shady forests and gardens.
  • Ross Prairie Loop Ross Prairie Loop - A 3.5-mile loop using blue-blazed connectors and the Florida Trail to circle Ross Prairie, the Ross Prairie Loop shows off the beauty of this prairie on the Cross Florida Greenway.
  • Santos Trails Santos Trails - With 30 miles of twisting, winding off-road bicycle trails that dip into old limestone pits, the Santos Trails, south of Ocala, are a mecca for cyclists who enjoy riding through the woods.
  • Along the Azalea Trail headed towards the Labyrinth Sholom Park - Meditative walking: that's what's expected at Sholom Park, a private sanctuary in Ocala that opens its gates daily for the public to enjoy meandering trails through its well-manicured 45 acres.
  • Silver River Connector Silver River Connector - Built to showcase the Cross Florida Greenway, the Silver River Connector is a 3-mile round-trip from the Ocklawaha Visitor Center to Ray Wayside Park.
  • Silver Springs Conservation Area Silver Springs Conservation Area - Silver Springs Conservation Area protects upland habitats crucial to recharge of Silver Springs. Two stacked loop trails (with a cross-trail on the upper loop) provide several options for hiking.
  • Swamp along the River Trails Silver Springs River Trails - With more than 4 miles of hiking in two trails, the River Trails of Silver Springs State Park are the park's most popular walks, as they lead you to views along the Silver River.
  • Sandhill Trail Silver Springs Sandhill Nature Trail - At Silver River State Park, the Sandhill Nature Trail (which can also be reached from the Sinkhole Trail) is a 1.7-mile loop through a longleaf and wiregrass sandhill habitat.
  • Sinkhole Trail Silver Springs Sinkhole Trail - On the 2.5-mile Sinkhole Trail, take a hike around a giant sinkhole and explore the uplands above the Silver River at Silver River State Park.
  • Glass-bottomed boats at Silver Springs Silver Springs State Park - Silver Springs - one of the world's largest and deepest springs - pours out more than 550 million gallons every day. Silver Springs State Park protects not just the spring but the river's six mile floodplain as well.

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