Silver Glen Springs is 9 miles northwest of Astor. To reach it drive north 6 miles from SR-40 on SR-19; turn east onto a paved road and continue 0.3 mile to the spring.
Access is also by boat from Lake George.
The spring pool is located in Marion County with the spring run entering into Lake County about 500 feet east of the pool. Lake George is about 3,000 feet downstream (east) from the pool.
Lat. 29°14'43" N, Long. 81°38'37" W
Silver Glen Springs is a 1st magnitude spring. It has a semicircular pool bounded by semitropical forest at the base of the sand hills of the Ocala National Forest to the west. Two main spring openings create a large pool about 250 feet across. The force of the flow from the openings causes a strong boil at the water surface in the north-central part of the pool. The pool bottom around the spring is covered in eel grass. While the general spring pool is 5-7 feet deep, the bottom funnels down to the limestone openings about 20 feet deep. Water flows strongly up and out of the vents, "blowing" snail shells, sand, and fish that congregate near the openings. Striped bass and tilapia may be seen in the spring in large numbers, paying little heed to swimmers and divers. The water is blue and very clear except when stirred up by swimmers. Modified banks, a fence, and concrete walls frame the spring into a rough square. An underwater cave system at Silver Glen Springs has been mapped by divers.
One spring, called the "Natural Well," is in the SW corner of the overall pool. It is a cylindrical shaft, 15 feet in diameter, 40 feet deep. Water flowing from the Natural Well creates a visible slick at the surface and is very clear and blue. The second and larger spring is about 60 feet from shore in the left center of the pool. Water flows from cavern openings. Other flow is from numerous sand boils in the bottom of the spring run several hundred feet downstream from the head of the springs. A small stream also feeds the spring run from the southwest and has numerous small spring boils in its bed.
The pool forms a wide run that flows about 0.5 miles to Lake George, one of the chain of lakes along the St. Johns River. The water flows eastward to Lake George down a run 200 or more feet wide. The spring run is heavily used and has suffered damage from the boat traffic and recreational use.
The spring is the site of pre-Columbian Native American habitation, evidenced by several large shell mounds on the land around the spring. These mounds are believed to have been built or accumulated by Indians that once lived in the area. Numerous Indian remains and artifacts have been found associated with the mounds near the springs.
A report by the Florida Springs Task Force (Florida’s Springs: Strategies for Protection and Restoration, 2000), notes that Silver Glen Springs has maintained very good water quality and a relatively constant discharge since the 1930s. The main factors in this spring’s remaining relatively clean and pristine are that that nearly all of its watershed area is in the Ocala National Forest and protected from development and water extraction. Restricted access and foot traffic have reduced erosion. Controls on motorboat use near the spring are designed to reduce impacts of introduced aquatic vegetation, spills, litter, and threats to fauna.
Silver Glen Springs was a private recreational area open to the public for a fee until 1989, when it was purchased by the St Johns River Water Management District. The District then re-sold it to the federal government in 1990 for incorporation into the Ocala National Forest as the Silver Glen Springs Recreation Area. The recreation area is used for swimming, snorkeling, picnicking, fishing, and boating. Rest room facilities are available. It is very popular and can be very crowded on summer weekends with the run filled with boats. Boats are prohibited in the pool area. The water flows into Lake George which is part of the St. Johns River.
Ocala National Forest Visitor Center
10863 E. Highway 40
Silver Springs, FL 34488
See the US Forest Service Page