Ocala National Forest: Silver Glen Springs, Springs Boil Trail to Jody's Spring, and Lake George Trail, Eustis, Florida
Silver Glen Springs is an oasis in the middle of Ocala National Forest, Florida's "big scrub". One of the forest's most scenic springs, Silver Glen Springs features strikingly transparent aquamarine waters that form a vivid contrast with the lush, tropical vegetation found along the shoreline. Not only is the spring a wonderful place to cool off on a scorching summer day, but it's also a natural aquarium, often housing hundreds of fish and even other species like the Atlantic stingray. A couple of nature trails branch out from the Silver Glen Springs Recreation Area. The Springs Boil Trail leads to a secondary spring called Jody's Spring, known for its many unique sand boils, nestled in the deep shade of a tropical hammock. The Lake George Trail meanders through uplands near Silver Glen Springs Run for a mile before reaching the shoreline of Lake George, Florida's second largest freshwater lake, so massive that it almost seems to be a sea. This hike occurred on Tuesday, August 28th, 2018. My plan was to hike both the Springs Boil Trail and Lake George Trail after exploring Silver Glen Springs.
The Ocala National Forest is home to the endangered sand scrub pine habitat. In the Ocala is the largest unbroken tract of this habitat in the world. This long but beautiful hike on the Florida Trail showcases the beauty of the sand scrub pine habitat and the vast prairies that surround it. On this excursion, you will also see Hidden Pond, a small pond in the middle of the prairie land, and you will see the Long Cemetery, a small, old cemetery located on the historic Yearling Trail. This hike occurred on Sunday, July 5th, 2015. My plan was to hike the Florida Trail from the trailhead on Florida State Route 40 to the junction with the Yearling Trail 10 miles later. From there, I would take the Yearling Trail to the Long Cemetery. I would return the same way.
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