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Hike one mile, one-way to reach the observation platform. Great bird viewing area!

A quiet and leisurely stroll on the Salt Springs Trail provides the opportunity to observe a wide variety of plants and animals. Healthy populations of black bears live in the national forest, but they are shy and rarely seen. Alligators are a common sight in the run and Lake George. Eagles and osprey are often seen along the run, or at their nests. Salt Springs Run provides habitat for many species of wading birds. Those most likely to be seen are the limpkin, little blue heron, snowy egret, American egret, tri-colored heron, and great blue heron.

The trail is approximately two miles in length round-trip from the parking lot and winds through a diversity of habitat, including sand pine / scrub, hardwood hammocks, pond pine and slash pine flatwoods, bayheads and cypress. The trail is barrier-free to the mobility-impaired, but has no ramp at the observation platform.

The Ocala National Forest's geological history has a profound effect on what you will see. Past periods of the earth's warming and cooling caused oceans to rise and fall. During a warm period, what is now Florida was under the ocean and vast deposits of skeletal material occurred. These deposits created what is now Florida's limestone base, which is close to a mile thick in some areas. The oldest known limestone in the state is the Ocala limestone that was formed almost 58 million years ago.

Great upheavals in the earth lifted Florida's limestone base and subsequent rains have eroded it. Today, the Floridian aquifer - the source of drinking water - is found in this eroded limestone base.

Directions: From Salt Springs, FL, Travel southeast along State Highway 19. The trail and observation tower are slightly southeast of the intersection of FL 19 and County Route 314.

Elevation: 5 - 10 feet

Elevation Gain: Minimal

Difficulty: Easy

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Ocala National Forest, Florida

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The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

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