Explore the most popular Bird Watching trails in Ocala National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

on St. Francis Trail

bugs
muddy
7 days ago

Trail was very wet after recent rain and about half way through... I ended up turning around because I was unsure which way to go. Could have been me, but I just did not feel comfortable proceeding because I did not know which way to go. I would love to go back and try again though because the portion I did walk was great. PS - Bring your mosquito repellant!!!

hiking
blowdown
muddy
8 days ago

A bit muddy, to be expected after a big rain. Pretty well marked. Only got off trail once. Will definitely come back when it dries up a little.

Great trail! Due to recent rain the trail was wet, but nothing more than a few inches deep. Missed a turn and ended up on a dirt road for part of the hike instead of the trail, but all in all was decently marked. There were hunters in the area, so wear bright orange if you can right now (just to be on the safe side because it’s hunting season). Didn’t see any animals, but would definitely hike this again.

hiking
1 month ago

Decent trail. I recommend starting early and not after any rain. Parts of the trail were under water and other areas unclear. But it was scenic. Saw one rattle snake on the trail and a lot of fresh bear poop. Had our grey hound with us and we carried her over the log bridge. Otherwise it was dog friendly.

lots of spiders

walking
1 month ago

There was a guy sitting at the trail head. He had a truck with expired tags. I did not feel comfortable. So walked a little bit turned around and left. There’s always another trail

hiking
bugs
over grown
4 months ago

hiking
bugs
5 months ago

Great hike. Hiked May 27, 94 degrees at 1pm. First half is shaded by old oaks, a couple small streams but mostly dry today. Saw 2 non-venomous snakes, tracks of other wildlife. You then arrive by the river, nice place to relax and have a light lunch. Saw a deer and her new fawn here. 3 dirt bikes drove by but were pretty courteous. The next 1.5 miles is in pine, pretty exposed to sun and heat (to day was 94 degrees when we finished). Immediately after pine area, we found wild blueberries and had a snack. Ticks were a definite issue, all of us had a dozen on us or more, bug spray didn't help with that. Some spots weren't marked particularly well, but where the trail devides if you go 50 or so feet and don't see a blaze, you probably went the wrong way. Blazes were white over red when we went. We spent 4 hours on the hike to do the full loop, this included time at the river to eat and relax and a couple other short stops. I will definitely do this hike again. Really an easy hike except for the middle section with high temp/humidity/extreme UV today.

hiking
5 months ago

Overall a less traveled path. We got stopped by a bear and decided to hear back!

hiking
6 months ago

What a great trail! I will definitely come back. But next time I will bring long pants as I found 14 ticks throughout the trial crawling on my legs. However, my hike buddy did not get any ticks, which is ironic. Is Florida, and that's how it goes in the summer. But overall, I have no complaints. This hike is for all level hikers. Nothing extreme.

Hot and Dry trail during May and there were too many tics to count along the way. The only redeeming part was the springs too cool off in after the day.

hiking
bugs
6 months ago

My wife and I sarted at the Alexander Springs entrance gate, took the blue blazed trail to the FT, then went West on the FT, we took the FT to SR19 & back. The first bit is all under dense tree cover. The rest of the trail opens up into pine scrub, with a few hills. The trail is all very sandy, soft and dry, exposed to the heat and sun. The sand is manageable, especially if you slow your pace a bit and tread careful, the heat and sun ... it's FL it's as bad as always in mid May. We did the 8.5 miles with 2 liters of water each, but there are no water sources so make sure to camel up at Alexander Springs. Our biggest challenge was the ticks. Never have we ever been attacked by so many ticks in one day. They were crawling all over us, up our trekking poles, legs, in our shoes, under our shirts, everywhere..if we stood still they would just start climbing up from the ground... it was craziness. If you hike this trail in May, be prepared for the ticks and make sure you sunblock and bring at least 2 liters of water per person, 3 might be safer.

hiking
bugs
6 months ago

Shaded and well marked. The views from both overlooks are beautiful. we did not encounter wildlife. My friends did pick up a lot of red deer ticks. I on the other hand did not. We believe this had to do with the clothing I wore. The were compressions style yoga pants and a Columbian outdoors dry fit long sleeve zipper hoodie. The hoodie was thin mostly used for spf purposes.

hiking
6 months ago

Very enjoyable hike. Lots of wood walkways to break up the trail and very nicely shaded in most spots. Marked well and just a couple of tricky spots. Nice midway break along the St. John's River. Lots of bugs but they left me alone mostly.

hiking
7 months ago

Great 7.5 mile hike. Vast ecosystem. Lots of tree cover on the trail. Trail was dry, well marked, and in good condition.

running
8 months ago

Lots of shade. Nicely marked and maintained.

nice trail! unmarked at a couple places where you have to travel down forest roads to get back on the trail, but they're short sections and you shouldn't have trouble finding your way. lots of nice camping spots under shade hammocks and on the banks along the river. will definitely hike again and next time set up camp and enjoy the atmosphere.

hiking
9 months ago

Views were okay, not much difference throughout the whole walk. Gun shots were heard for awhile. Trail is nicely marked with almost no obstacles and we seen a few deer.

hiking
10 months ago

Loved doing this with our dog but we didn’t see much wildlife and the trail was market but in my opinion poorly. It definitely wore me out and was a good time will be back!

hiking
10 months ago

Beautiful trail !! I enjoyed the beautiful scenery .

hiking
10 months ago

Wonderful place with a clearly marked trail! Well worth the sweat equity ~ Thank you!

hiking
10 months ago

Awesome trail, one of my favorites so far. As the last review stated, some areas of the trail are a little flooded but not impassable. Makes it more fun even. The boardwalks are super cool and there’s even an awesome log bridge that goes across a creek that I really enjoyed. I went Saturday (1/5/19) and wasn’t aware that the Ocala hunting season extended about a week into January. Since it was the last couple days we heard lots of non-strategic and rapid gun fire a little too close for comfort to the trail, and even crossed paths with at least 10 hunters in orange vests carrying rifles. They were all very friendly and I was able to make them aware from a good distance that we were coming through simply by yelling “What’s up guys” from a hundred yards or so. Was not an issue what so ever and won’t be after 1/6/19 until Ocala’s hunting season begins again next (whenever that is, check). Blazes aren’t perfect like other trails so I used the AllTrails location feature to make sure I was headed the right direction when blazes seemed far and few between. Wasn’t a major issue either. One of my favorite hikes so far for sure, so despite the hunters and occasional directional confusion I still give it 5 stars.

walking
10 months ago

great trail. was introduced to this trail by a few new friends today. the persistent rains had flooded several sections but these were not impassable, just got your feet wet. lots of leaves made the board walks slick. Many signs of the local bear population. Stopped by the river and cooked eggs and bacon, oatmeal and coffee. We will add this trail to our list of return hikes.

Nice and very long hike.

This is a very pretty trail through scrub, pine flatwood, sand hill, and oak hammock habitats. It's an enjoyable hike, though the experience was a little marred by the fact that Golden Silk Orbweaver webs were literally everywhere. I had to remove about 100 of them (not exaggerating) as I walked the trail. I also found a total of 11 ticks on me by the time I made it back to the car. On the plus side, once I arrived back at Alexander Springs, I could just jump in the water to cool off.

16 miles out and back from pats island trailhead to juniper springs. Pretty thick for 75 percent of the trail then opens up around the ponds before going back into the thick scrub. No signs of bears, couple of deer, turkeys and quail. If you go early and are the first one on the trail bring a stick to clear the hundreds of spider webs.

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