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Be sure to take plenty of drinking water along this lengthy pond route. Sunscreen and bug spray are also advisable.

The Otter Lake Loop Trail is an eight-mile hike around the circumference of Otter Lake. This is a wonderful remote area nestled between the town of Panacea and Ochlockonee River State Park, which incidentally, has overnight camping. The lake hike offers sights of vary birds ranging from osprey to songbirds to wading birds and waterfowl. The forest is a mixture of longleaf pine and oak. Wildlife sightings include gopher tortoises, raccoon, white-tailed deer, bobcat and the tiny green frog and green anole lizard. This trail may be combined with the Ridge Trail offering a 12-mile hike. Ridge Trail is blazed in yellow and Otter Lake Loop is blazed in blue. They share a trailhead.

Directions: From Tallahassee, FL, Travel U.S. High 363 south to U.S. Highway 98. Turn right and follow to the town of Panacea, approximately 15 - 20 miles. Turn right onto County Road 372A. This is easy to miss. Look for Otter Creek Recreation signs. The trail begins inside the rec site.

Elevation: 5 - 10 feet

Elevation Gain: Minimal

Difficulty: Moderate

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St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, Florida

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The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

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