August 17, 2013 · 9:00 AM
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Juniper Springs may be one of the clearest streams in Florida. The springhead is enclosed in a rock-and-concrete wall that provides a large swimming pool. Juniper Creek starts very narrow below rich canopied woodland. It then enters the gorgeous Juniper Prairie Wilderness, through which it flows until just above FL19 bridge. Juniper Springs is a 7 mile pristine spring run, with lots of twists and turns. First timers will be amazed with this paddle, crystal clear shallow water at launch. It's 7 miles of fun filled downstream paddle with its own little shoals near the end for that very brief .25 class whitewater experience! We can pullover at Sweetwater Springs for a cool dip before ending our trip at Juniper Wayside takeout. No disposable containers, including soda cans/bottles allowed on this run. Bring your drink in a reusable container. We will unload kayaks at Juniper Spgs, then drive vehicles to Juniper Wayside Park on SR-19 a few miles down the road and then all pile in a few vehicles back to Springs and start our adventure
Starting at the canoe ramp, the upper spring run is crystal-clear and less than one foot deep. A white sand bottom gives the appearance of paddling down a sandy, twisty and narrow roadway. Palmetto, palms, oak and cypress form almost a complete canopy over the small creek, which is much appreciated on hot summer days. About two miles downstream, the run enters Juniper Prairie Wilderness, a sanctuary for wildlife and those seeking to get far away from the urban world. The Florida Trail passes through here, offering a great place to hike, as well as paddle.
Further downstream the creek becomes wider and deeper while a matting of leaves cover the bottom. A nice picnic spot with small wooden dock is at the half-way mark. Near the takeout the creek widens again into a flood plain / Savannah complete with marsh grasses, alligators and many wading birds. The takeout is just beyond the SR 19 bridge on the right side of the creek. Juniper Creek continues for another 2.5 miles before emptying into Lake George.
Getting There: JUNIPER SPRINGS REC AREA
26701 EAST HWY 40
SILVER SPRINGS FL 34488
< DO NOT USE GPS. IT WILL TAKE YOU 7 MILES WEST OF THE PARK >
From I-75 take Hwy 40 East thru Ocala and Silver Springs approximately 36 miles to the Juniper Springs Recreation Area. From I-95 take the Ocala/Silver Springs Exit (Hwy 40) west for approximately 37 miles to the Juniper Springs Recreation Area. From the Intersection of Hwy 40 and Hwy 19 the campground is located 4 1/2 miles west on Hwy 40. The entrance is on the north side of Hwy 40. Phone Park for More Information: Information:[masked]