Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway
Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway is packed with hidden treasures, that calls out to the discover side in all of us. Luring us out of the car to “touch the forest”, as local author Dana Ste. Clarie puts it. Unlike other scenic byways this byway will have you off the beaten path to help you see why the byway has been designated a national scenic byway.
The road leads you to a mosaic of natural sites and communities surrounding one of Florida’s most distinctive ecosystems, known as the Big Scrub. The Big Scrub is the largest continuous sand pine forest created from ancient sand dunes capped with vegetation adapted to a lack of water. Traversing eastern Marion County and parts of Lake, Putnam and Volusia counties, the 60-mile long corridor along SR 40 serves as the backbone for a network of scenic roads and interpretive trails.
The surrounding land includes the Ocala National Forest, Lake George State Forest, Heart Island Conservation Area and Tiger Bay State Forest. A main attraction of the area is the many springs glittering along the byway, as well as the proximity of waterways for travel and recreation. The Florida black bear is at its highest population density here; these ambassadors of the byway are often close to the road, so look out for them!