Florida Trail - Hopkins Prairie is a 12.8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Ocala, Florida that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.
11 Mile section of the Florida Trail that travels through the Juniper Wilderness Area. Very popular camping spot at Hidden Pond about half way through hike.
Went on July 8-9th, got a late start so we had to battle a lot of spiders at night. We didn't get in until after midnight. But going through the prairie was beautiful, and a group of A-10 Warthogs practicing at the naval bombing range was a nice way to start the trail. I wouldn't recommend hiking in the middle of the summer, going back when the weather is more favorable!!
Hiked this trail this past Saturday. We had great weather , was a great hike. Took a refreshing dip in Hidden Pond. The hand water well pump is not working at Hopkins Prairie. The campground at Hopkins Prairie was a lot better than I thought it would be.
This was a very good trail. My first solo. Since hidden pond is at the halfway mark, I recommend boiling your water here or it's roughly a 5 mile hike each way with minimal water (at least when I went in February)Hopkins Prarie has a beautiful sunset and sunrise. Not many ticks as long as you stay on the trail. Would recommend as an easy trail. Pump was turned off at Hopkins because of high amoeba as of 2-21-15. You should always boil it anyways, right? Met awesome people too!
I recently hiked from Hopkins Prairie to Hidden Pond, and I loved every second of it. This time of year is not really suitable for this kind of hike. There is shade on only about 15-20% of the trail, and with stifling temperatures and high humidity be prepared to sweat. Left from Hopkins Prairie (free parking) around 4PM and made it to Hidden Pond by 6:30-7:00. I was lucky enough to not have ANY visitors the entire time I was there. DO NOT SWIM IN HIDDEN POND THIS TIME OF YEAR. The water was extremely warm and could almost guarantee amoebas are a high threat. Boil all water from Hidden Pond. After 3 days at Hidden Pond I would recommend the hike to anyone. BRING 40 DEET!, it will save your sanity.
We had an overnight hike/camp of this area. It was a good hike, perfect temperature, but the wilderness has been burned and so there was not a lot of coverage from the sun. Also, having no trees or anything made the scenery lackluster. I probably won't be back, but I would recommend it for a one time hike. Stopping at hidden pond to camp halfway through was great. Although there were more people around than I like to see.