O’ Leno State Park is located along the banks of the beautiful and historic Santa Fe River a small tributary of the large and famous Suwannee River in north Florida. Directly off of US 441 and six miles north of High Springs, Florida, O’ Leno State Park is an easy drive from most major cities in Florida and is centrally located in the northern half of the state.
O’ Leno State Park was one of Florida’s first state parks and was first developed in the early 1930’s by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a Great Depression era youth army, set with the task to develop our nations parks and outdoor recreation areas. Many of the CCC’s accomplishments still span the park, including many of the early cabins, rec/mess halls and other buildings. A suspension bridge still spans the river, built by the CCC over 70 years ago.
The river draws many canoe and kayak enthusiasts from around the state to O’ Leno State Park. Canoe rentals are available for a $3 per hour fee and $15 per day rental. Along this rocky and swift moving shallow river, the river actually flows underground at one point for over three miles into the nearby River Rise State Preserve. But don’t worry about falling into the underground sink with your canoe, its off limits from the water.
Hiking along the two scenic hiking trails can give you a good look at the underground sink in which the Santa Fe River flows into. The river trail is a short hike from the campground and offers natural rock formations and wildlife viewing like no other state park. The limestone trail passes through hardwood hammocks and limestone outcroppings that will make your head swim and your camera full of pictures. An additional 13 miles of well maintained and marked trails writhe through the park for ample hiking opportunities. Horse trails are also available.
A full facility campground complete with running water and electrical hookup will make an RV enthusiast happy. Primitive camping is also available to those who want a more woodsy camping experience within the park. With over 61 various campsites available, there’s plenty of room for individuals, couples and groups alike.
The historic CCC cabins are available in the park as group camping during May through August at $300 for the cabins, dining hall and recreation hall. During September 1 through May 1 the cabins can be rented individually for $25-$150, depending on the cabin. Check out O’ Leno State Park Official Website fro details on hours of operation and fees.