There’s free coffee in the morning and cold beer in the afternoon. You will need these maps, especially in the Florida Panhandle region and on the Western route around Orlando. The second crossing is in the northwestern section at Bradwell Bay, a hardwood swamp in the Apalachicola National Forest. But if you’ve never hiked before, start with short hikes. Always call the USDA Forest Service ahead of time to find out the water level (850-926-3521). In 1983, the path received its National Scenic Trail designation. Always treat all water unless it’s labeled potable. Hiking the Florida Trail should not be frightening or strenuous, though, and new hikers have much to look forward to. 4.9 miles linear. 95% of thruhikers starting Jan 1 follow this pattern, mainly because it’s cooler in South Florida in winter, and you move north with seasonal changes, and the hunting seasons (where certain campsites are closed) also move south to north over the same time frame. Alternate Routes It is therefore necessary for you to provide your own tent for your hike. It currently runs 1,000 miles, with 300 miles planned, from Big Cypress National Preserve to Fort Pickens at Gulf Islands National Seashore, Pensacola Beach. It's near impossible to find clear, concise logistical trail data online, and that what makes The Florida Trail Guide so valuable to those going hiking in Florida. A: South to North. Individual trail user experience may vary slightly. Hiking Season The full mileage of the Florida Trail, including its side options, is more than 1,400 miles. The 8 mile round-trip hike to Alaqua Creek is an intriguing hike as it leads you through a … Occasionally the FT crosses private property and some of these land owners have stipulated that only members of the Florida Trail Association may hike on their property. Most people take two to three days to hike this section, which features wading through water that’s anywhere from ankle-deep to thigh-deep. So depending upon which route you take, your mileage will vary. This tiny store, seemingly in the middle of the woods but officially in Salt Springs, is a favorite spot with hikers. A: In order to qualify for the Florida Trail Association End-to-End certificate and patch you must walk the entire trail as it exists at the time of your hike. A: Depends on your hiking speed and number of zero days. *Edit 12/2015: This is one of my most popular posts and it was written in 2011. Sign up for a free backcountry permit at Oasis Visitor Center before heading on the trail. Map and GuideFlorida Trail Companion Guide for Long Distance Hikers ($12, floridatrail.org); Thru-Hiker’s Maps and Data Book ($100, floridatrail.org) Contact Florida Trail Association membership ($30) is required to hike on occasional private property: (352) 378-8823, floridatrail.org. Most hikers camp along the canals in the southern section. If you’re a paper map geek like me, be aware that the maps aren’t as up-to-date as the app. The Florida Trail Association has a list of trail angels. The northern terminus is at Fort Pickens in Pensacola Beach, about 75 minutes from Pensacola International Airport. Please check the most recent guidebook released from Florida Hikes and be sure to contact the Florida Trail Association in regards to reroutes and current closures. When you reach St. Marks Wilderness in the panhandle, the trail ends at the St. Marks River and picks up on the other side. St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge, St. Marks, FL. Because of unpredictable weather and hunting seasons in the fall, we recommend thru-hikes start in the south in early January and end in the north by April. Q: How do I decide which alternate route to take? There is also an Ocean-to-Lake trail spur that connects Lake Okeechobee with the Atlantic Ocean, and a path from Big Cypress National Preserve to Key West, part of the Eastern Continental Trail that links Key West with Cape Gaspé in Canada. If you plan to thru-hike the Florida Trail, keep in mind this is not a social trail like the Appalachian Trail. Following in the footsteps of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and ALDHA (Appalachian Trail Long Distance Hikers Association), we acknowledge completions as “Thousand Milers.” The FT circles Lake Okeechobee from Clewiston on the south to Okeetantee in the north. On some public lands you can camp wherever you’d like; on others, during hunting seasons, you can only use designated campsites. A hike on the FT will take you through swampland, along white-sugar beaches, past sugar cane fields and through forested woodlands. This is technically still a thru-hike, since I completed it within one year. However, you will also have to follow 3.8 miles of the Appalachian Trail to get to Williamstown or North Adams. Q: What is my daily mileage likely to be? While we do talk about the thru-hike experience, we don't get too personal about what it feels like to wade through Big Cypress or listen to packs of coyotes hunt newborn calves from your tent at night. Here is some info to get you started planning your Florida adventure. I completed the entire trail in 2017, hiking it during four separate trips. Both its trail segments and connecting road routes are marked. You can hike around the lake via an eastern or western path. ©2018 Melanie McManus – All Rights Reserved, Designed by Elegant Themes | Powered by WordPress, Vía de la Plata (Camino de Santiago) 2014. After that, it didn’t scare her to try 10, 12, 15, and even 20 miles in a day. A: The hiking season in Florida runs basically from late October through April. Acting as the gateway to the Florida Birding Trail in … Contact the lockkeeper at Buckman Lock ahead of your arrival to coordinate your passage through, as the gate is locked. Florida does however offer its own set of challenges that can affect daily mileage. Hiking down the river, the trail passes numerous rock outcrops 20 and 30 feet above the river along with beautiful white sandbars, offering great places to take a break. Florida has a lot of water. In low water years, water sources may be few and far between making for high mileage days between campsites. Many complete the journey in 60 days; however, if this is your first long-distance trek, you may want extra time. Volunteers offer shuttles, food and other assistance. Most hikers take 60 to 90 days to complete the trail. The Florida Trail is one of eleven National Scenic Trails in the United States. Re-supply Options You can try hailing a passing boat for a (free) ride across, or arrange transportation with Shell Island Fish Camp. A: There is an 83-mile stretch in the Apalachicola National Forest with no resupply options. (The others are the Arizona Trail and the Ice Age Trail.). This will exempt you from camping fees and the otherwise-required recreational use permit. Again, the thru-hiker may elect one or the other of these routes; they are not required to hike both. From the trailhead, hike east along the FT (follow the orange blazes) for 6.3 miles past estuaries, tidal creeks, and lowlands. In some areas, all you’ve got are canals and ditches. In the book, you'll find all the information you need to hike the Florida National Scenic Trail from end to end. With significant botanical beauty, rugged climbs, and nice campsites, the Alaqua section of the Florida Trail in Eglin Air Force Base is one of the most scenic parts of the trail statewide. As a result, membership in the FTA is a legal requirement to hike the entire trail. The trail does offer some campsites, but not on a regularly spaced basis. Q: If one is doing a thru hike, what is the longest distance between resupply (towns)? The Florida Trail, or FT, is one of our 11 National Scenic Trails. 12.8 miles. If you want to start at the southern terminus, it’s conveniently located at the Oasis Visitor Center in Big Cypress National Preserve. Florida Trail hikers … Due to the heat, humidity and bugs, hiking season is late October through April. Certain sections of the trail also require permits or permissions, obtained in advance through the Florida Trail Association office (1-877-HIKE-FLA). The two biggest decisions are around Lake Okeechobee and the Orlando area. A second split comes near Orlando. Check this. Florida National Scenic Trail. Either way, you’re walking about 1,100 miles for a thru hike, so plan on two to three months. If you’re thru-hiking the trail, membership in the FTA is required. There are two major swamp crossings on the Florida Trail. The Florida Trail is managed, protected and maintained by the Florida Trail Alliance (FTA) and a wealth of volunteers. The trail has had some reroutes during this time. When traversing Big Cypress Swamp, you’ll need to get your water from cypress domes or stands. He had already completed a half-dozen major hikes, including the Appalachian Trail … You'll find 28 miles of hiking trails to explore at this state park, but this short, one-mile-long hike takes you to the Suwannee River, where you'll see the Big Shoal Rapids. But once they hike the whole thing, they typically change their minds. Use the following checklist to determine what you should do in advance of hiking the length of the Florida Trail. There are a couple other long stretches (such as White Springs to Aucilla), where resupply is possible only if you can catch a ride to a town 8-12 miles from the trail. They are not required to completely circle the lake. Since Florida is a humid place and rain is frequent, some campers prefer using hammocks rather than tents. The only thing we love more than trails is volunteers! A: Currently there are several routing options available the thru-hiker. The Florida Trail meanders between Crestview and DeFuniak Springs through dense forests where old-growth oaks and TripAdvisor Reis S. In total, the length of the Florida Trail along Ecofina Creek runs just shy of 18 miles, however, there are other options to stop and turn around, making for a much shorter hike. The Florida Trail is unique in that you need a wealth of permits for a thru-hike. A typical linear thru-hike is slightly more than 1,100 miles. It is one of three National Scenic Trails that are entirely in one state. 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