Trail Tuesday: Kayaking Juniper Run in the Ocala National Forest

Paddling Juniper Run in the Ocala National Forest.

Happy Trail Tuesday, friends! The weather is perfect for a morning kayak trip, and I've got just the place for you to explore – Juniper Run in the Ocala National Forest.

If you haven't paddled Juniper Run before, this is the real deal. It's one of my favorite places to paddle in the state, with gin-clear water and incredible scenery that makes you feel like you've traveled back in time. The upper portion of the run is narrow, with twists and turns, and gradually widens as you make your way downstream. 

Juniper run is about seven miles in length. You'll launch from Juniper Springs Recreation Area – make sure to factor in some time after your paddle trip to swim and explore the nature trails. Don't miss walking out to Fern Hammock Springs, one of the most beautiful springs in Florida. If you don't have your own boat, you can rent canoes at Juniper Springs. If you are bringing your own canoe or kayak, a shuttle service is provided back to the parking area for a small fee. 

Juniper Springs Recreation Area opens at 8 a.m., and I'd recommend you get there as early as possible. You'll be one of the first boats on the run (it's generally not too crowded, though) and can get off the water before noon. For more information and directions, check out www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/ocala

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