Stretching 1,400 miles from Pensacola to Big Cypress, the Florida Trail is our own National Scenic Trail in Florida. Sandra had the honor of writing the first mass-market guidebook to the Florida Trail in 2003, The Florida Trail: The Official Hiking Guide, and subsequently compiled and edited three editions of Florida Trail Companion Guide for Long Distance Hikers.
Information in this section of the website comes from her research for those books and more recent hikes that we’ve both done along segments of the Florida Trail. We have canvassed trail services in person and are actively hiking portions of the Florida Trail this season to ensure our information for the new guidebook, The Florida Trail Guide, will be up-to-date. It will be released in time for Fall 2013 hiking season. We’re sharing details here as well, section by section.
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 need to be members to hike on certain private lands that the trail crosses.
For hiking the Florida Trail, 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 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 following books will help with trip planning for certain segments of the Florida Trail. As explained above, The Florida Trail Guide will be available later this year.
- 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.
|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|
|[ALTERNATE] Ocean-to-Lake||65.0||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||217.9||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||101.6||Apalachicola River||US 331/DeFuniak|
|Eglin||100.5||US 331/DeFuniak||East Bay|
|Seashore||33.2||East Bay||Fort Pickens|
|[ALTERNATE] Blackwater||44.0||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