Location and Hiking Trail Maps with Nature Viewing Information and Photos
Near Ocala, Florida
Entry Fee: None
I met a friendly guy from St. Johns River Water Management District on the trail who said this land who said that SJRWMD was working to slow the flow of water from Sawmill Creek into the Silver River. The idea is to keep the river clearer while also preserving water to (potentially) pump back into a local, Marion County aquifer.
He also said this land was recently owned by Rayonier, a timber company. This would account for the hard roads, and with miles of trails this is a place you might rather bike than hike. In fact, following the White Blaze Loop, I was struck by how searing white the trail appeared in the sun.
I have also mapped below the Red Blaze Trail Loop - over 11 miles starting at a white blaze entrance with way points marked at AllTrails.
Entrance is easy with plenty of parking either from either County Road 315 or from 326, and while the White Blaze Loop offers 6 miles of great hiking or biking from either end of the conservation area, there are many miles left to see.
In early morning hours I have spotted many deer and also a boar, so use sensible caution. The trails are ideal for either hiking or off-road biking. I did both and could hardly believe I was the only person there on a Sunday. If you want a great outdoor opportunity not far from town, this is ideal.
While banana spiders are the bane of Florida hikers at most stops, here the Orb Spider (Arrowhead variety, Verrucosa arenata - picture below) is what might hang its web across a narrow trail.