Friday, August 28, 2015

OHV Trails in the National Forests in Florida

Take a journey through unique Florida ecosystems

OHV Trails FloridaDiscover Florida's unique ecosystems by OHV (USFS)

What You’ll Find

Nearly 300 miles (482.8 km) of off-highway vehicle (OHV) trail for motorcycles, ATVs, UTVs or full-size vehicles. The National Forests in Florida offer OHV enthusiasts a multitude of adventures through ecosystems unique to this part of the country, like the Big Scrub and steeply rolling landscapes of longleaf pine and wiregrass along theLongleaf Trail.
The Apalachicola National Forest, just outside the state capital ofTallahassee, offers over 100 miles (160 km) of exploration in the hardwoods and pines of the Sandhills. Or discover the Ocala National Forest, just north of Orlando, with an expansive range of trails and experiences, from multi-day cruises around the forest to short afternoon spins.
Visitors wishing to ride and explore the Ocala and Apalachicola National Forests by OHV will need a National Forests in Florida OHV Trails Pass. The pass will be available for purchase on beginning September 1, 2015 at 10 a.m. ET.

Getting There

This extensive trail system offers many different access points. In the Apalachicola National Forest, you can park and access the trails at the Silver Lake OHV Trailhead or the Springhill Motorcycle Trailhead. The Ocala National Forest has seven different trailheads located on the north side of the forest, and accessed from the Delancy Loops OHV TrailheadDelancy West Campground and Trailhead, the Motorcycle Loops OHV Trailhead and the Rodman OHV Trailhead. For trails on the south side of the forest, park at the Big Scrub Campground or the Wandering Wiregrass OHV Trailhead.

Stay Here

For the full OHV experience in the Ocala National Forest, stay at Delancy West Campground or reserve a campsite at Big Scrub Campground. If you need full hookups, give Salt Springs Recreation Area a try. Juniper Springs and Alexander Springs are jewels as well, and are great for cooling down after a day of riding. If you need to stay near the southern end of the forest, Clearwater Lake might be just what you’re looking for.
The Apalachicola National Forest offers a more rustic camping experience, bringing you close to the unique sandhill, longleaf, and riverine ecosystems of “the Forgotten Coast.”

Make Sure You

Cool off in the Ocala National Forest’s springs. It’s easy to see why the springs are called “The Jewels of the Ocala.” The clear, azure waters of Florida's springs have long been a focus of daily life during the humid, hot months. Many Floridians have a lifetime of memories surrounding the springs. Millions of gallons of crystal clear water pour from the springs every day, providing fantastic swimming, snorkeling, and boating. Juniper Run, which flows from Juniper Springs to Lake George through Juniper Prairie Wilderness, has been ranked one of the best places in the United States to canoe and kayak in the National Forests.
If you’re interested in geology as well as OHV riding, visit Leon Sinks in the Apalachicola to see a showcase of sinkhole formations often found in the Karst geology of Florida. For a dose of local history, check out the Tallahassee Museum and the Museum of Florida History. To round out your visit to the area, be sure to take in St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. Founded in 1931, it is one of the oldest national wildlife refuges in the country.

Try This

Along with your helmet, pack a swimsuit! In the Ocala, explore the Centennial Trail and make a stop at Blue Sink for lunch and a swim. On the Apalachicola, the Silver Lake Recreation Area, which contains Silver Lake OHV trailhead, also offers picnic tables and a sandy swimming area on spring-fed Silver Lake.

Eat This

The “Forgotten Coast” of Apalachicola Bay is known for being the home of some of United States’ premier oysters. But it’s not just shells. Enjoy a wide range of fresh seafood in local establishments all along the Big Bend Scenic Byway.

Don’t Forget

These trails have a dual purpose – to provide an enjoyable recreation opportunity for visitors and to protect the fragile ecosystems that surround them. For this reason, it is very important for OHVs to stay on designated trails. All cross-country travel is prohibited. Don’t forget to download your maps for the Ocala and the Apalachicola!
The state of Florida requires all riders to possess a copy of a Florida OHV registration and identification while riding. If you’re from out of state, you need to have proof of ownership. For more information, please contact the Florida Forest Service.

Fees at Work

Your fees provide for the maintenance and upkeep of OHV trails and facilities, and your state licensing revenues help fund grants that improve facilities, build infrastructure and purchase equipment to keep the trails looking their best.

Get Started

The National Forests in Florida are proud to host two National Scenic Byways for experiencing this great state. Try Big Bend Scenic Byway to “explore undiscovered North Florida” and the Black Bear Scenic Byway for a tour of “Wild Florida.”
Follow the National Forests in Florida on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest news and events on the Ocala and Apalachicola!

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