Stretching from the Big Cypress Swamp to Pensacola Beach, the Florida Trail includes our own National Scenic Trail in Florida. It is Florida’s best destination for long day hikes and backpacking trips, and offers an amazing variety of landscapes along nearly 1,500 miles of trail. Best enjoyed in the winter months, it will surprise you with trailside waterfalls, rugged ravines, vast open prairies, lush hammocks of ancient oaks, and a few swamp slogs that get more press than the rest of the trail.
While most hikers enjoy short trips along the trail, some of us hike it section by section while others take on a thru-hike of 1,100 miles in one winter season.
We’ve recently completed The Florida Trail Guide, Sandy’s sixth book covering the Florida Trail in its entirety. Information in this section of the website comes from her research for those books and more recent hikes and services research that we’ve both done along segments of the Florida Trail.
The Florida Trail Association is the volunteer organization that builds and maintains the Florida Trail throughout the state. There are 18 local chapters, all of which hold meetings and group hikes as well as active trailwork outings. If you are hiking the Florida Trail, do become a member of this organization (we are!) and, if your time allows, jump in and volunteer to lead hikes or work on the trail. It’s a lot of fun! In addition, long distance hikers MUST be members to hike on certain private lands that the trail crosses.
For hiking the Florida Trail, we certainly suggest you grab a copy of our guidebook, The Florida Trail Guide, for planning your hike. But more importantly for on-the-ground navigation, The Florida Trail Data Book and the most current Florida Trail thru-trail maps are a must. Some sections of the trail you can navigate using only data, but in many others, understanding how the trail follows the landscape (by using a good detailed map) is crucial. Both the Data Book and maps can be obtained through the Florida Trail Association.
The USDA Forest Service provides trail data via ArcGIS online. The data can be viewed in their browser or via an ArcGIS smartphone app. This information is discontinuous, as they do not include portions of the Florida Trail that are not certified National Scenic Trail.
The Florida Trail Association also provides trail data via ArcGIS online. This includes ALL of the Florida Trail plus the loop and side trails that make up the Florida Trail System.
The following books will help with trip planning for certain segments of the Florida Trail.
- Details on hiking the Florida Trail, section by section
- Hikes along the Florida Trail (alphabetical order)
- See all Florida Trail hikes on this website on a map
- Learn more about the Florida Trail Association
- Learn more about The Florida Trail Guide
- Florida Trail logistics for thru-hikers by Misti Little
- GPS tracks of the Florida Trail from the USFS
Florida Trail Sections
Long distance hikers on the Florida Trail typically hike south to north, starting in the Big Cypress Swamp and ending at Pensacola. There are several decision points along the way as to the route. A thru-hike following the basic route that most hikers take is 1,100 miles from Oasis Visitor Center in Big Cypress National Preserve to Fort Pickens at Gulf Islands National Seashore. Several alternate routes are available.
|[CONNECTOR] Eastern Continental Trail||188.2||Key West||Loop Rd|
|Big Cypress||37.6||Oasis Visitor Center||Big Cypress Reservation gate|
|Seminole||49.8||Big Cypress Reservation gate||John Stretch Park|
|Okeechobee West||56.5||John Stretch Park||SR 78/Okeetantie|
|[ALTERNATE] Okeechobee East||57.4||John Stretch Park||SR 78/Okeetantie|
|[CONNECTOR] Ocean-to-Lake||61.5||Port Mayaca||Hobe Sound Beach|
|Kissimmee||104.7||SR 78/Okeetantie||Canoe Creek Rd|
|Orlando||146.9||Canoe Creek Rd||Clearwater Lake|
|Ocala||73.4||Clearwater Lake||Buckman Lock|
|[ALTERNATE] Western Corridor||231.1||Canoe Creek Rd||Kerr Island|
|Northeast Florida||114.7||Buckman Lock||Osceola NF/Deep Creek|
|Suwannee||82.2||Osceola NF/Deep Creek||CR 255/Dowling Park|
|Big Bend||120.0||CR 255/Dowling Park||US 319/Sopchoppy|
|Apalachicola||78.6||US 319/Sopchoppy||Apalachicola River|
|Central Panhandle||100.6||Apalachicola River||US 331/DeFuniak|
|Eglin||100.5||US 331/DeFuniak||East Bay|
|Seashore||33.2||East Bay||Fort Pickens|
|[ALTERNATE] Blackwater||43.1||Harold||Alabama State Line|
How to hike the Florida Trail, section by section
Official Documents (PDF files)
- 1986 Comprehensive Plan for the Florida National Scenic Trail
- 2012 Proposed Management Plan for the Florida National Scenic Trail
- 2012 5-Year Strategic Plan for the Florida National Scenic Trail
- 2012 State of the Trail Report