Silver Glen Springs Recreation Area

Brief History

Silver Glen Recreation Area is located about 6 miles north of SR-40 on SR-19 in The Ocala National Forest. The trailhead for the Yearling Trail is located across the street. According to Wikipedia, Silver Glen Springs is a first-magnitude spring. 65 million gallons of water is released through two spring vents. Silver Glen Recreation Area can be accessed by vehicle from SR-19 (as mentioned earlier) or by boat via Lake George. Silver Glen or “The Glen” as we will refer to it for the rest of this article is managed by the Forest Service and run by a private concessionaire.

Entry Via SR-19

The rec area opens at 8 am and closes between 5 pm-8 pm depending on the season. As you turn into The Glen from SR-19 you will come up to a gatehouse. There is an entry fee of $7 plus tax per person Monday-Friday and $10 plus tax per person Saturday and Sunday. The concessionaire sells a yearly pass that costs $70 plus tax and is good for a year from the date of purchase for the person purchasing the pass. Children under 5 years old are free. They also charge half price for anyone holding America The Beautiful senior park pass. After paying the entry fee you are issued a wristband that must be worn at all times and it is your receipt that you paid the admission price. Wristbands are checked in the day-use area because boaters try to come on the land and use the facilities for free. More on that in a little bit.

After leaving the gatehouse you head down the road to the parking area. There is a line of porta-potties in front of you, the store/spring entrances on your right, and the parking area on your left. The parking lot holds about 90 cars. Once the parking lot fills up the admissions stop and a line forms. During the weekends in the summer (especially on holidays) this could happen in as little as 45 minutes!!! There are about 10 porta-potties including a handicap-accessible one.

Entering The Spring/Day Use Area

Once in the parking lot, you head in the direction of the store. During our stay there the store was closed due to COVID-19. There are two paths down into the day-use area. One follows a boardwalk in front of the store and drops you down in the middle of the day-use area and one goes behind the store and zig-zags down into the day-use area at almost the same entry point as the other path. Behind the office, before you get to the path there are two small buildings that look like backyard sheds. These are changing rooms so you don’t have to change in the porta-potties.

The Lake George Trail

As you enter the zig-zag trail you will see a sign that indicates the beginning of the Lake George trail. It says it’s two miles round trip but we clocked it as closer to two and a half miles. The Lake George trail is a fairly easy trail to navigate and features some of Florida’s natural wildlife beauty, awesome views of the lake, and occasionally wildlife. When you reach the end there is a small wooden sign that tells you a little about the lake. There are benches along the way and at the end so you can sit and relax and just enjoy nature.

Back To Day Use

If you opt-out of the trail or take the path in front of the office building you will wind up in the center of the day-use area. Slightly to your left is the area that has the swimming area into the springs, picnic tables and BBQs, a volleyball court, and canoes for rent. The canoe rentals are handled at the gatehouse but the launch is near the back of the day-use area near the steps. The rentals are all-day rentals only. There are bear bin-style garbage bins throughout the park. The water is crystal clear and people love to snorkel and see the numerous different types of marine life. The water temperature is a constant 72 degrees year-round. There is no scuba diving allowed.

To The Right Side Of The Day-Use Area

If you come down the entry paths and go to your right you will find more picnic tables with BBQs, bear-bin garbage receptacles, and another hiking trail/nature walk called the Spring Boils trail. There is no access to the swimming area from this side but it tends to be a little less crowded than the other side. This would be a good time to mention that the weekdays are the absolute best time to visit as the weekends tend to get very busy and loud.

The Boaters

Boats
An Example Of How Many Boats Can Be Packed In On Any Given Summer Weekend

Since there is access to the spring from Lake George via the spring run the weekends tend to draw numerous boats. The boats are not allowed in the spring but are allowed up to a buoy line nearby. They access the day-use areas and try to use the day-use resources which is the reason the wristbands are issued. It is the only way to tell who has paid and who has come in by boat. The other problem with the boaters is they turn up their music extremely loud. Sometimes this music can be inappropriate for families with young children so you might want to take this into consideration if you are thinking about coming on the weekend. It would be helpful to the day-use employees if there was more policing being done on the weekend.

The Spring Boils Trail

The Spring Boils trail is at the end of the day-use area all the way to the right. It is a cool little out and back trail that is about a quarter-mile in and a quarter-mile back. At the end of the trail is a boardwalk section that leads to an overlook that features small boils. It also features black bear. Mostly in the months of November & December. You can see the boils and a black bear scurrying down a tree in front of me in the video below.

Random Information & Rules

There are no ground fires allowed in this park. There is also no camping. You are permitted to bring your own BBQs and tables. There are also no pets allowed. Silver Glen Springs Recreation Area is considered an archeological site so absolutely no digging or putting any kind of spikes into the ground is permitted. There are no glass bottles allowed in the day-use area and consuming any type of alcohol is prohibited. If you bring any kind of food in you may want to secure it in plastic tubs or coolers. There are numerous vultures/turkey vultures that swoop down and can devour your bag of Doritos in minutes…lol. They have even been known to grab a burger or two right off the grill!!!

Vulture
I Know There’s Food Around Here Somewhere

Pros

  • Absolutely Beautiful Scenery
  • Canoe Rentals
  • Swimming In Crystal Clear Water

Cons

  • Entry Fees A Little Steep
  • Loud Music On The Weekends & Holidays From Boaters And Jet Skis
  • During The Busy Season Entry Wait Times Into The Park Can Be 2-4 Hours
  • No Pets Allowed

Final Thoughts

We ran the Silver Glen Recreation Area for about 7 months so we lived onsite. It is one of the most beautiful places we have ever been to. When it’s not busy, you can set up a chair and relax and just enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. That being said we would never come on a summer weekend. If you are ever in the area and would like to be one with nature, we would recommend you come in the off-season during the week. Unless of course, you love the crowds and energy that happens on the weekends. If that’s you, make sure you are lined up at the gate at least half an hour before opening.

Check Out Our Slideshow Below Featuring 103 Photos Of “The Glen”

TAOW Silver Glen Springs

Or

Check Out Our YouTube Videos Below On “The Glen”

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