Not only does this Wilderness cover more ground than any other in Ocala National Forest, it also contains the most diverse ecosystems. An eight-mile stretch of the north-south Florida National Scenic Trail runs through here, providing access to prairies, pine flatwoods, a marsh, even a subtropical jungle of palms, swamp hardwoods, and saw grass near Juniper Springs. Shallow lakes rimmed by oak and pond pine dot the prairies, which in turn are bordered by scrubby sand pine. Remnants of old logging roads likewise delve into the Wilderness. From Juniper Springs Recreation Area Campground, canoeists can enjoy seven miles of easy paddling down a sparkling clear, shallow creek. On the way to a takeout on Highway 19, you might spot alligators, snakes, deer, and numerous wading birds. Canoes are the only craft allowed on Juniper Creek. Rentals are available, and a commercial operator offers haul-backs to the starting point. Cost for canoe and haul-back runs about $20 to $25. Canoe reservations are recommended; phone (904) 625-2808. As with most national forestland, primitive camping is permitted almost everywhere.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the Juniper Prairie Wilderness.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.