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Exploring Silver Springs
Florida’s original tourist destination, Silver Springs is both one of the world’s largest springs.
It is also the name of the community that grew up around it in the 1800s when steamboats followed the snaking curves of the Ocklawaha River up the Silver River to dock at these immense springs.
Now adjoining the city of Ocala, Silver Springs is the western gateway to the Ocala National Forest and the Cross Florida Greenway.
The Western Corridor of the Florida Trail threads through both, providing a linear backpacking route both northeast and southwest of the community.
Established in 1908 as the first National Forest east of the Mississippi, the Ocala National Forest is a mecca for hikers and campers, and the birthplace of the Florida Trail
Stretching 90 miles from the St. Johns River near Palatka to the Gulf of Mexico, the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway is a mile-wide recreational corridor with hiking, biking, and equestrian trails as well as paddling and boating access.
43.8 miles. A prime destination for backpacking and day hiking south of Ocala, the Florida Trail follows the Cross Florida Greenway through woodlands between the Withlacoochee and Ocklawaha Rivers
To see the springs themselves, a visit to Silver Springs State Park provides hiking, paddling, ecotours, and camping along with just relaxing on a deck above the spring basin.