Jennings State Forest was purchased through Florida's Conservation and Recreation Lands (CARL), Preservation 2000, and Save Our Rivers programs in cooperation with the St. Johns River Water Management District. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Florida Forest Service has management responsibility for Jennings State Forest.
The Florida Forest Service manages the forest for multiple uses. Multiple-use management balances conservation of natural resources with recreational use of the forest. Photo of wildlife viewing blind, Photo of mesic flatwoods.
Jennings State Forest can be found in northeastern Florida in the northern section of Clay County. The forest is approximately 10 miles southwest of Jacksonville and 5 miles southwest of Orange Park. The state forest has five drive-in entrances along its perimeter. Access to the eastern section of the forest is available from State Road 21 to County Road 220A, and access to the western section is available from U.S. 301 to County Road 218. The forest headquarters is situated on the north end of Long Horn Road, which adjoins State Road 218.
There are more than 15 different natural biological communities on Jennings State Forest, including sandhill, slope forest, flatwoods, seepage slope, dome swamp, blackwater stream and seepage stream. Fire is needed to maintain many of these communities. The Florida Forest Service uses prescribed fire to maintain habitat for the forest's unique plants and animals. Photo of bottomland forest.
The forest is home to an abundance of wildlife. Raccoon, otter, alligator and wading birds can be seen along North Fork Black Creek and other tributaries. White-tailed deer, wild turkey, hawks and songbirds can be found in the uplands.
Several ravines can be found in Jennings State Forest, representing the slow but never-ending process of erosion by the force of water. These ravines are located along seepage streams leading to North Fork Black Creek. The spring-fed streams are visible when canoeing between Powell Ford and Ellis Ford on North Fork Black Creek. Photo of ravine.
The forest is open during daylight hours for hiking, bicycling, canoeing, horseback riding and wildlife viewing. Overnight primitive camping areas are available by permit only. Please contact us to obtain a State Forest Use Permit, or use the iron ranger self-service stations.
The forest contains three hiking trails (Fire and Water, Dunn's Farm and North Fork Black Creek) that are included in the Florida Forest Service's Trailwalker Hiking Program.
- The North Fork Black Creek Trail is a 5-mile loop trail that offers a variety of ecosystems for the hiker to explore. Canoeing is available on North Fork and Black creeks, with several landings along the waterways.
- The Fire and Water Nature Trail is an informative 1.7-mile trail that will give you an insight into how fire and water affect the various forest communities. It's also a good place to learn about our restoration efforts.
Jennings State Forest is open to regulated hunting and fishing under the direction of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. We encourage non-hunting recreationists to check the Jennings Wildlife Management Area regulations and season dates before visiting Jennings State Forest.
Hunting requires a license and permit and is allowed only in designated Wildlife Management Areas during appropriate seasons. Fishing requires a license only.
In keeping with its mission to protect and manage Florida's forest resources, the Florida Forest Service has developed rules that apply to all state forest visitors. Find out more about state forest fees and guidelines.
*State Forest Use Permit Required