In winter, shades of red and yellow and purple sweep across the floodplain forest. In the spring, the trees cloak themselves in vibrant new green leaves.
This is a place to savor the forest, an ancient landscape where cypress trees once dominated. As you walk the Florida Trail through Marshall Swamp, clues to those giants – and their ultimate fate – are everywhere.
Full details on this hike, including a trail map, are in our full-color guidebook Florida Trail Hikes. You’ll also find this and many of the other segments of the Cross Florida Greenway in our book Five Star Trails Gainesville & Ocala.
Disclosure: As authors and affiliates, we receive earnings when you buy these through our links. This helps us provide public information on this website.
Guthook Guides GPS-driven map-based guide to the Florida National Scenic Trail with thousands of waypoints from The Florida Trail Guide. Works offline. For iPhone and Android.
Length: 3.0 miles linear
Trailhead: 29.1623, -82.0321
Fees / Permits: Free
Restroom: Portable toilet at south end, restrooms at north end
Land Manager: Cross Florida Greenway
Open 8 AM until sunset daily. While leashed pets are welcome, this is one of the more likely places on the Cross Florida Greenway to encounter alligators. You may want to leave your dog safely at home.
Cyclists and hikers share the trail. There are several benches for rest stops, but expect uneven terrain with puddles.
From the intersection of CR 464 (Maricamp Rd) and CR 35 (Baseline Rd), drive east on CR 464 for a half mile and turn left onto SE 64th Ave Rd. Follow it for 2.1 miles. The SE 64th Ave Rd trailhead is on the left just before the road dead-ends.
The Marshall Swamp trailhead is prominently signposted along Sharpes Ferry Rd, 2.6 miles east of CR 35 in Silver Springs.
The Marshall Swamp section of the Florida Trail starts just past a blue-blazed connector trail coming in from the nearest trailhead, SE 64 Ave Rd. It’s a quarter mile walk from the trailhead to meet the orange blazes.
The Marshall Swamp sign signals the beginning of a very different hike than the walk up here from Baseline. No longer high and dry, it drops down to the edge of the floodplain, shaded by hickories and oaks.
After a short tunnel under the trees, there is a break in the forest. A social trail leads to the right to the end of SE 64th Ave Rd. The trailhead is a quarter mile south of here. If you’re hiking out and back, you can use this as a shortcut, walking past several houses, on your return trip.
Passing one of the very old footprint signs, the trail makes a sharp left after it goes by two side trails leading to the community adjoining the forest. The tunnel effect becomes more pronounced, particularly when you join the tramway that crosses the heart of the swamp.
At the picnic table after 0.9 mile, turn left off the tramway to start a walk in the woods. The next mile of trail zigzags along the edge of the deeper swamp, using boardwalks to cross places that remain wet most of the time, and touches the property boundary in places.
Throughout this portion of the trail, the trees tower well overhead, forming a high canopy. Where the forest floor isn’t damp – and even in some places where it is – it’s a riot of ferns and lichens swarming over rotting logs.
When you reach the loop trail junction and observation deck on the pond, you’ve walked 2.5 miles. Take the side trip to the pond to look for wildlife. Keep with the orange blazes to cross a long boardwalk over the outflow of the pond.
Rising up into a forest with an open understory and a lot of loblolly pines and oaks casting shade across the trail, you pass the other end of the loop trail coming in. After 3 miles, trail’s end is at the Marshall Swamp trailhead kiosk.
NORTHBOUND: Silver Springs State Park
SOUTHBOUND: Baseline to Marshall Swamp
Our slides from hiking through Marshall Swamp
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Part of the Florida State Forests Trailwalker program, the Bear-N-Oak Trail at Indian Lake State Forest is a 1.6-mile loop that provides a fascinating look at habitat diversity centered on Indian Lake, a major karst feature in the Ocala Limestone
2.7 miles. A walk in an urban forest, the Baseline section of the Florida Trail showcases restored sandhill habitat
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 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.
Official Map (PDF) Official Website