The Ocklawaha Prairie Restoration Area has changed a great deal in the past few years. The Saint Johns River Management District has added a white blaze loop called Upland Trail. And it’s a no miss! For that reason, I have completely updated this page as of May 21, 2021 to reflect this fun little 4.4 mile loop.
You will find an ample parking area SE 137th Ave Road in Marion County. I have a Google Map below to help. But while it’s easy to find, I suggest driving slowly on that earthen road. While it is well-maintained, golf ball sized cobblestone can do real harm to your tires. So take it slow and enjoy your day.
The trail biking is also very good, with woods and small hills leading to Old Celery Farm Road, the bulk of Levee Trail. This trail road offers hard earth, no motor vehicle access, and great views of the Ocklawaha prairie. No doubt, the Saint Johns River Management District is doing good work here, restoring wetlands to a previous state.
Hiking the White Blaze Loop
Picnic and Camping
At 4.4 miles and plenty to stop and see, the white blaze loop offers a fun few hours. There’s a rustic camping area too so you can pitch a tent and spend the night. It offers a picnic table, and a fire pit with a grill over it. At about about midway through the hike and near the Ocklawaha River, you’ll find it a nice stop for a rest and a snack.
About a quarter to a third of the trail is heavily wooded. The rest winds through open fields of pine with plenty of sun exposure. So you might consider hiking in cooler months or in the morning. That said, the trail thus far is very well-maintained and quite wide. At no point did I wade through grass and worry about chiggers. Otherwise, wildlife is abundant. On a casual visit, I identified many wildflowers along with deer, pileated woodpeckers, and other birds.
Horseback riders will plenty of space to park a trailer and a separate trail for riding.