National Hiking Day, also known as “Take A Hike Day”, is celebrated on November 17. This day celebrates nature and the miles of open land ready to be explored. But why is this a celebrated day? For starters, there are more than 60,000 miles of trails across the nation. Additionally, hiking allows you to reconnect with nature, unplug and exercise, perfect for the upcoming holiday season.
We asked the professionals from the Marion County Parks and Recreation Department to share their favorite hiking trails near Ocala. Here’s what they had to say:
- Baseline Road Trailhead offers both paved trails that are dog and bike-friendly while providing access to the unpaved Cross Florida Greenway and Marshall Swamp Trailhead (also unpaved).
- Cross Florida Greenway West, while not specifically part of a County Park System, came highly recommended by Department Director Jim and Operations Supervisor Charles.
- Carney Island Recreation and Conservation Area has a small unpaved trail system with plenty of opportunities to see deer, turkey and a variety of other wildlife. The park entry fee is $7 per vehicle per day.
- Blue Run of Dunnellon Park (also known as “The Tuber’s Exit”) is another great paved option that would be considered multi-use as it is dog and bike-friendly. Interesting fact, this trail system also connects to the Cross Florida Greenway!
- Silver Springs Conservation Area protects upland habitats crucial to the recharge of Silver Springs. Offering two stacked loop trails (with a cross-trail on the upper loop) this area provides several options for hiking.
For a full listing of local parks click here.
So how do you observe National Hiking Day?
1. Take a hike
Get out there, grab a friend and enjoy our scenic trails. Once you start you’ll want to keep exploring.
2. Share your experiences
See something unique? Take photos and share your hiking experiences on social media! Add hashtags like #NationalTrailsDay and #TakeAHike to inspire others to go out in the great outdoors. Tag us online so we can be inspired and give you a shout out. Facebook: @ocalastyle Instagram @ocalastylemagazine