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Juniper Creek - Kayak Trip / Canoe Trip

Report Type: Destination Report
Nearest City: Ocala, FL
Difficulty: Easy
Submitted by: Rich Miller

Description:

Juniper creek is one of the clearest streams in Florida. The run starts within a few feet of the springhead at a custom paddlecraft launch site. Carry carts are available for the 1/8th mile portage from the parking lot. The park gate opens at 8am.the first 2 miles are very narrow over sand bars and only a few inches deep in places, just enough to float a boat.

After halfway landing the creek broadens into grassy flats and palm hammocks. The creek speeds up to a faster pace as you cross the last long flat approaching the take out. Alligators are always seen on this stream and may be used to humans, possibly being dangerous, so keep your distance. Otters, deer, raccoons and all types of birds including osprey, wading birds and the rare snail kite are usually seen.

The take out is on the east side of the Sr19 Bridge on the right-hand side. Rental canoes are available from the Juniper Springs Recreation Area concession. The shuttle is included in the price. This paddle is one of the most beautiful in Florida and a welcome winter visitor escape from the usual attractions.

Accommodations:

Halfway landing is the popular lunch spot with a dock and picnic tables.

Fees:

Appox. $3.25 per car to enter the park

Directions:

Take s.r.40 east from Ocala to the Juniper Springs Recreation Area. The entrance is 4 miles west of s.r.19.

Launches:

Put-in is at Juniper Springs Park, a 5 minute carry is necessary to get to a beautiful launch, just 100ft. from the springhead, the only takeout is at Juniper Wayside Park 4 miles north of s.r.40 on s.r.19.

Contact:

U.S Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Region
P.O. Box 1050
Tallahassee, FL 32302

Resources:

A great trip description is in A Canoeing and Kayaking Guide to the Streams of Florida by Elizabeth F. Carter & John L. Pearce


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