Juniper Springs Recreation Area in the Ocala National Forest is one of the oldest and well-known national forest recreation areas in the eastern states. Here you’ll find two spectacular groups of springs: Juniper Springs and Fern Hammock Springs. Juniper Springs, with a discharge of 11 cubic feet of water per second, is home to the American eel, which swims up the St. Johns River from the sea to the springs as part of its life cycle. Juniper Springs was one of showcase projects developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s. The CCC built the picturesque Millhouse and watermill adjacent to Juniper Springs and added the cement walkway and access to the Springs pool area. Originally, the watermill generated electricity to power the adjacent campground. No longer used to generate power, the millhouse now contains interpretive displays.
Walk down the nature trail from Juniper Springs to discover the lovely, peaceful Fern Hammock Springs, a group of colorful springs with a discharge of 12.5 cubic feet per second. At Fern Hammock Springs, nicknamed “The Aquarium,” spring boils look like underwater dust storms; hypnotic gray images flickering across a milky turquoise base.
Together, Juniper Springs and Fern Hammock Springs are the headwaters of Juniper Run, which meanders for nearly 11 miles to empty into Lake George, part of the St. Johns River, and is a very popular paddling/canoe run.
Juniper Springs Recreation Area is located in the Ocala National Forest along SR 40 between the communities of Mill Dam and Astor, west of SR 19.