Photo Credit: @kevingiese
Grab a mask and snorkel some of the most clear and stunning water in the state. As the sun shines, rainbows play across the bottom of the crystal-clear spring basin at Silver Glen Springs. This beautiful spot along the edge of the Big Scrub in the Ocala National Forest offers a spring run that pours out into Lake George, the largest of the St. Johns River Chain of Lakes.
Both a popular day use recreation area and an important archaeological site, Silver Glen Springs showcases the delicate balance between enjoyment of the outdoors and preservation of irreplaceable resources.
Silver Glen Springs is an Outstanding Florida Spring and a first-magnitude spring with a large, semicircular pool that measures 200 feet from north to south and 175 feet from east to west. Most of the strong flow emerges from two cavern openings in the rock at the bottom of the pool, with large boils at the water’s surface over the vents. The vertical cave opening called the Natural Well in the southwestern edge of the pool is about 12 to 15 feet in diameter and 40 feet deep. The vent in the east part of the pool is a conical depression about 18 feet deep. Most of the spring pool has sand and limestone on the pool bottom, with areas of aquatic grasses. Large fresh and saltwater fish are common in the pool and around the vents. Additional flow is from sand boils in the bottom of the spring run downstream from the head of the springs. Water from the springs flows eastward down a run about 200 feet wide for 0.75 mile to Lake George.
According to the USDA website, the spring is designated as critical habitat for the manatee, and the spring and run have the potential to serve as a major manatee refuge. However, manatee use has been limited due to a high degree of human activity and damage to aquatic vegetation.
The spring is part of the USDA Forest Service’s Silver Glen Springs Recreation Area. The recreation area is used for swimming, snorkeling, picnicking, fishing and boating. Boating is not allowed in the spring pool, but the spring run is a popular spot for recreational boaters. Canoe rentals are available onsite. Diving and scuba diving are not allowed, but snorkeling is permitted. The park features two trails, the Spring Boils Trail and the Lake George Trail, and is an important archeological site. Canoe rentals are available, as well as toilets, drinking water and picnic tables. The admission fee for day-use is only $6 per person.
Items we recommend bringing include a water proof/water resistant pouches for phone and other important items, a water proof speaker, water shoes, and a cooler with refreshments. Florida’s aquifer and spring systems are a precious resource so please explore responsibly, leave only footprints, and don’t trash where you splash!
Policies and fees are subject to change. For more information on the Ocala National Forest pet policy please call the Lake George District Ranger Office at 352-625-2520.
Photo Credit: @MDCM_Photography
Photo Credit: @tenacious_tom13
Photo Credit: @shangerdanger
Photo Credit: @springwaterdarling
Photo Credit: @zanemoulton
Photo Credit: @thegypseadreamers
Photo Credit: @mermaidaerialprincess
TRAIL MAPS + DIRECTIONS
Silver Glen Springs is located 6 miles north of SR 40 along SR 19 along the eastern edge of the Ocala National Forest. The recreation area entrance is directly across from the Yearling Trail trailhead and lies north of the Juniper Wayside area.
From Interstate 75 in Ocala or Interstate 95 in Ormond Beach, follow SR 40 into the Ocala National Forest to its intersection with SR 19 at traffic light east of Juniper Springs and west of Astor Park. Drive north on SR 19 for 6 miles to the recreation area entrance on the right.