Springs Outing – Juniper Run Paddle w/ Tom Morris
The Florida Springs Institute is planning a canoe/kayak trip down the Juniper Springs run on July 21, 2019. Located in the heart of the Ocala National Forest in the Juniper Springs Recreation Area, Juniper Springs is a group of several small to mid-sized springs, which include the namesake Juniper Springs and 20 or so smaller springs that make up the adjacent Fern Hammock Springs group. The combined flow from these springs averages about 30 cubic feet per second, which by comparison, is close to the flow of Ginnie Springs.
The Fern Springs group is the largest concentration of sand boil springs in the state. These exquisite springs are rather uncommon and need a narrow set of conditions to exist, including a basin full of sand and just the right amount of groundwater flow from below. If the flow is too high the sand gradually washes out resulting in the more common rocky basins. The sand boils are mesmerizing; the individual boils pulse in and out, outlined by delicate rings of finely ground organic matter.
The Juniper run flows for over ten miles to the St. John’s river at Lake George. We will paddle the first seven miles through the Juniper Springs Wilderness Area and get out at the Hwy 19 landing. The run is narrow and curvy at first and is a test of boating skills. The upper run is shady and flows through very nice hydric hammock forest. Farther downstream the run becomes wider and braids through marshy habitat. Many folks consider this to be among the prettiest spring runs in the state.
Juniper is a very popular destination and within striking distance of Daytona, Orlando and Ocala, so an early start is mandatory. Boat rental and shuttle services are available.
Some of the group is planning on camping at Juniper the night before. The campsites are nice and include shady sites in a hardwood forest setting and more sunny sites up in the sand pine scrub. Securing reservations is advisable.
IMPORTANT: Participants must register in advance and either 1. bring their own kayak or 2. rent from Juniper Run concessionaire. This is peak season to be at the springs so we will be getting an early start. Watercraft reservations are not guaranteed, participants are responsible for making their own reservation. Click here to find out more about rates and contact the park for your rental. Again, the Florida Springs Institute is not responsible for reserving your watercraft for this outing. If you have any questions please contact our Springs Outing coordinator, Tessa Skiles, at TSkiles@floridaspringsinstitute.org.