By Kevin Mims

Looking for one of the nicest short hikes in Central Florida? At just under 2.5 miles the Holly Hammock Hiking Trail packs in lots of natural diversity in a short loop.

The trail is located at the Ross Prairie Trailhead near Ocala along the Cross Florida Greenway. If you are interested in a “do-it-all” destination this is it. There’s a campground (I’ve actually stayed at this spot for an entire month) access to the Florida National Scenic Trail equestrian trails and a top-notch network of mountain bike trails. All of this should keep you busy for a while.

The Holly Hammock Hiking Trail is especially wonderful during the holiday season when one of the largest concentrations of American Holly trees are full of colorful red berries. At other times of the year rare Greenfly orchids bloom on ancient oaks and fall wildflowers add a dash of color to the Longleaf pine sections of the trail.

Orchids along the Holly Hammock Hiking Trail.

Orchids along the Holly Hammock Hiking Trail.

- Kevin Mims

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