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Juniper Springs Canoe Run - Ocala National Forest
Pictures, a video clip, and visitor info from the Juniper Springs Canoe Run in Ocala National Forest, Silver Springs, FL.

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Juniper Springs
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The Juniper Springs Canoe Run is by far one of the most popular attractions in the Ocala National Forest Park.

Every weekend, dozens of visitors in canoes or kayaks tackle the 4-5 hour long ride which winds about 7 miles on a lazy river passing through the scenic Juniper Prairie Wilderness.

Even experienced canoeing or kayaking enthusiasts will find that the Juniper Springs Canoe Run can be a challenging yet very rewarding experience.

Novice paddlers should get some experience first before having to negotiate this often narrow waterway with many turns, downed trees, branches, submerged logs, and sand bars.

To reach the Juniper Springs Recreational Area, set your GPS for 26701 E. Hwy 40, Silver Springs, FL 34488.

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Frog Eggs
It costs $5 plus tax per person for a day pass into Juniper Springs Recreational Area payable to the park ranger in the booth at the main entrance. The canoe rental fee is $33 for the day plus a refundable $20 deposit. You can pay with Visa or Mastercard credit cards or of course cash. The park staff prefers that the $20 deposit be paid in cash, but they are also able to place it on a credit card if you don't have the cash.
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Small Yellow Kayak
The canoe rental fee includes use of paddles, life jackets, a safety whistle, and also a van ride back from the pick up point to Juniper Springs. The first pick up time of the day is 1:30 PM and the last pick up of the day is 4:30 PM. If you miss the last pick up time, you'll forfeit your $20 deposit since the staff has to make another trip out to retrieve you and your canoe.
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Canoes must be launched by 12 noon at the latest to allow enough time to reach the pick up point 7 miles away by 4:30 PM. We arrived to the park at 11 AM, rented the canoe, carted it down to the launch area, returned the cart, got our paddles, and started paddling away at around 11:30 AM.
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It took us about 4 hours and 45 minutes to reach the pick up point at 4:15 PM. There is a small sign indicating the Juniper Springs pick up point that is located just past a bridge. I didn't get a chance to take a picture of the pick up point since my camera suffered some water damage near the end of the ride.
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If you plan on visiting the Ocala National Forest to experience the Juniper Springs Canoe Run, I'd highly recommend arriving as early as possible to allow yourself plenty of time to enjoy the scenery and navigate the many obstacles. The front gate of the Juniper Springs Recreational Area opens at 8 AM each morning. I definitely would have enjoyed having more time to take pictures of the wildlife and stop for water or snack breaks.
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Coolers are allowed on the Juniper Springs Canoe Run but the park rangers will check your cooler since alcoholic beverages and any type of disposable drink containers are not allowed. Be sure to bring some food and plenty of water in a reusable sports bottle or thermos for each person.
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Other items that you should or might want to bring include sun block, insect repellant, hats, plastic bags to keep your cell phones/cameras/wallets/keys dry, a waterproof camera if you have one, gloves for paddling, and a seat cushion. The park ranger recommended that we use our life vests as seat cushions, which was relatively comfortable but a football stadium seat cushion would have been better.
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Some of the wildlife that we saw during the Juniper Springs Canoe Run included great blue herons, a variety of fish, Florida cooter turtles, an American Alligator, a white-tailed deer, dragonflies, and butterflies.
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We saw the white tailed deer, a female or "doe", about 2.5 hours into the trip resting under the large stump of a downed tree. A half hour later, we spotted the medium sized American alligator basking on the bank of the river just 8-10 feet away from our canoe. See pictures of the alligator and the deer on Page 2.
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Downed Tree Across Path
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Log Floating In Water
During the 4.5 hour Juniper Springs Canoe Run, I captured a series of short video clips and later edited them together into one brief movie. To view the video, click on the blue link below. To download the file to your hard drive, right click on the link and choose "Save Target As" or "Save Link As". The clip runs about 4 minutes long, has a file size of 140 MB and is encoded in the Windows Media Video (WMV) format.

Juniper Springs Canoe Run Video Clip - Ocala National Forest

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White Tailed Deer Resting
To see the 2nd Page of pictures from our Juniper Springs Canoe Run experience, please click on the "Next" or "Last" buttons below.

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