6 Florida Trails You Need to Hike

There’s more to the Sun­shine State than just beach­es and Dis­ney World. Some of the most diverse land­scapes and wildlife can be found here, with hik­ing trails that will lead you on an unfor­get­table adven­ture through swamps, rivers, along the beach and more.

Flori­da Nation­al Scenic Trail
Big Shoals State Park (link)
Fol­low the beau­ti­ful Suwan­nee Riv­er, as this trail winds along the riv­er bluffs through steep ravines, flat veg­e­ta­tion, and past a wood­en deck over­look­ing rag­ing class III rapids (the only major rapids found in the Sun­shine State). Big Shoals is a spe­cial and unique Flori­da trea­sure that will leave you cap­ti­vat­ed as it guides hik­ers through mul­ti­ple vary­ing land­scapes and terrain.

Flori­da Nation­al Scenic Trail
Black­wa­ter Riv­er State For­est (link)
This is the north­ern­most sec­tion of the Flori­da Nation­al Scenic Trail, locat­ed in North­west, FL. If you’re look­ing for scenery that will take your breath away, be pre­pared to expe­ri­ence one of the best views in the Flori­da pan­han­dle. This part of the trail opens up to views of the spec­tac­u­lar Black­wa­ter Riv­er, pass­ing giant red clay bluffs and cross­ing small­er trib­u­taries such as Juniper Creek to keep the scenery always chang­ing and always delightful.

Lit­tle Tal­bot Island State Park
This park not only offers beach access, but also boasts a hand­ful of hik­ing trails that are known for great wildlife view­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties. The four-mile trail will take trekkers through five dif­fer­ent ecosys­tems that include mar­itime forests, desert-like dunes and marsh­es abun­dant with vary­ing plant and ani­mal life. Take in the sea breeze and comb the beach for ocean trea­sures after your hike!

Cit­rus Hik­ing Loop
With­la­coochee State For­est (link)
It’s trail-a-palooza in this neck of the woods, that is, With­la­coochee State For­est in cen­tral Flori­da to be exact. This is a great place for those train­ing for long-dis­tance back­pack­ing, with over 40 miles of trails to tra­verse. But, light trail tread­ers don’t despair—there are plen­ty of small­er loops per­fect for day hik­ing. These trails also fit the bill if you are look­ing for more of a chal­lenge, with rolling hills and chang­ing ter­rain that’ll keep your legs working.

Flori­da Nation­al Scenic Trail
Big Cypress Nation­al Pre­serve (link)
Trav­el to south Flori­da and expe­ri­ence one of the most unique trails in the U.S. Expect to slosh your way through knee-deep water, sur­round­ed by gor­geous dwarf cypress­es, bromeli­ads and orchids. Besides the mix of swamp and trop­i­cal fau­na be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the endan­gered Flori­da pan­ther, because this trail winds through one of the big cat’s last remain­ing habitats.

Bulow Plan­ta­tion Loop
Bulow Creek State Park/Bulow Plan­ta­tion Ruins State Park (link)
If you’re a his­to­ry buff, then check out Bulow Plan­ta­tion on the east coast, where 12 miles of trails careen through plan­ta­tion ruins that were burned in 1836 dur­ing the sec­ond Semi­nole Indi­an War. It’s almost as if time is frozen here, and besides tak­ing in the plan­ta­tion, you can mar­vel at some of the old­est live oaks in Flori­da, includ­ing the 400-year-old mas­sive Fairchild Oak.