The Florida Trail


Hiking in Florida is a little known and underrated outdoor recreation opportunity. The development and evolution of the master path of the state, the Florida National Scenic Trail, is bringing attention to the quality hiking found throughout this southern land. A long hiking season is ideal for walking during times when weather can be unpleasant elsewhere.

There is more to the landscape than appears at first glance. Most would describe the terrain here as flat. However, in Florida small changes in elevation make big differences. A few feet can result in wildly different habitats, as surely as thousands of feet change habitats in the Rocky Mountains. A small hill in Florida may harbor pine woods, then a nearly imperceptible depression leads to a lush subtropical swamp.

Water is a major element of most Florida hiking experiences, whether it is walking through a subtropical swamp, hiking alongside a spring-fed pond, or crossing a blackwater creek. Building the Florida Trail has been a long and massive undertaking, with much work left to be done. To do the entire FT requires much road walking at the present time. From the FT I have gleaned three complete foot-trail-only sections that traverse federal lands in the state and make for great multinight experiences in the real, natural Florida.


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