Featured HIKING TRAILS
West of Fort Myers, the semi-tropical island of Cayo Casto has 6 miles of shell rock hiking trails through pine forest past beautiful beaches and mangrove swamps. The Cayo Costa State Park is only accessed via private boat or ferry boat. There is a ferry boat service offered twice a day.
North of West Palm Beach, the 11,500 acre Jonathan Dickinson State Park has 14 miles of hiking trails through slash pine, scrub oak and palmetto. The 9.4 mile East Loop is very popular with local hikers to spot the resident gopher tortoise, deer, armadillo, wild pigs and alligators.
Situated 20 miles east of Sarasota, the 29,000 acre Myakka River State Park has a 45 mile trail network surrounding the Myakka River and Lake. A bulk of the trail system is the 39 mile Myakka Trail, which passes through dry grass/palmetto praires, palm islands and shaddy Oak hammocks.
Northwest of Tallahassee and Bristol, the Torreya State Park is on high bluffs overlooking the Apalachicola River and has lush biodiversity. There is a great 15 mile trail for exploring the park that starts from the Gregory House that traverses steep bluffs and ravines while encircling the park.
Just south of Tallahasse, the 7.5 mile Munson Hills Loop is a challenging trek over dunes and through towering longleaf pine forest. The rolling hills have shady valleys of oak, cherry and other hardwoods. Watch out for deer, fox squirrels and the protected gopher tortoise which burrow in the sand near the trails.
East of Ocala, this 67-mile section of the 1,300-mile Florida National Scenic Trail system is a subtropical showcase of hardwood hammocks, cypress swamps, and cabbage-palm thickets that can be hiked in four to five days. In the stretch through the Ocala National Forest, you may encounter both alligators and black bears so keep alert.
Southeast of Ocala and west of Pasiley, the Paisley Woods Trail is a 22 mile loop through sandy pine forest past live oak domes and grassy prairies. This yellow-blazed route passes through deer and bear habitat. While popular with hikers, it is predominantly used by mountain bikers.
Southeast of Tampa and Frostproof in Polk County, the Arbuckle Tract Trail (aka Reedy Creek Trail) is great for overnight and day hikes along ridge above Reedy Creek, Lake Arbuckle shore, and through rosemary, pine, and scrub oak on ancient sand dunes. This is also a 20 mile section of the Florida Trail.
South of Brandon, the 4,900 acre Boyette Park has about 12 miles of trail shared by hikers and bikers winding past the dozen lakes. There are plenty of side trails to explore through the upland scrub brush and woods.
South of Naples, the 6,400 acre Collier-Seminole State Park has 5 miles of mosquito and fly infested trails. While hiking, make sure to keep an eye out for panthers and bears.
East of Tampa and Brandon, the 6,000 acre Alafia River State Park has miles of trails also shared with mountain bikers and equestrians. As the property was all once phosphate mines and has since been reclaimed, it now offers terrain not usually seen in Florida.
Southwest of Jacksonville and Orange Park, the Evans Loop Trail is a 16 mile hiking route in the 24,000 acre Jennings State Forest. Also, there is the 5 mile North Fork Black Creek Loop Trail.
West of Tallahassee, the Fort Braden Tract 11 miles of hiking trails through the 17,000 acre Lake Talquin State Forest. The orange blazed trail system consists of 3 hiking loops (3-5 miles each).
Southwest of Ocala near Dunnellon in the Goethe State Forest, the Black Prong Trails are open to hiking. This extensive old-growth forest has one of the largest red-cockaded woodpecker populations on state lands in Florida.
West of Daytona Beach and Deland, the St Francis Trail is an 8.5 mile route through riverine swamp and bayhead swamp to open flatwoods and oak hammock. Hikers can experience hiking along an old logging railroad bed or exploring an old levee, built to flood an area for rice cultivation.
Southwest of Tallahassee and Carrabelle in Franklin County, the High Bluff Coastal Hiking Trail is a 2 hour hike. The orange-blazed route passes through coastal scrub habitat on an old sand dune, and through flatwoods habitat with palmettos and longleaf pine.