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Florida Hiking Trails

This site is designed to provide quick, organized access to informative Florida hiking websites. Hiking enthusiasts like you have created excellent web pages on Florida hiking trails -- then posted those pages on free web servers -- only to be ignored by search engines. The purpose of this site is to provide a way to find these personal hiking pages, and make your research easier.

  • Boney Marsh Kissimmee River; excellent page with trail descriptions, directions, photos, etc. on the OutInTheBoonies.com website.


  • Central Florida see under "General" below.


  • Cross Seminole Trail 3.7 mile trail in Winter Springs, Seminole Co. Site provides map, description, access points, etc. Good site by Seminole County Public Works.


  • Everglades National Park you can click here for the hiking entry page, or try to find your way through the site. (Suggest you click here). This is the "entry" point for hiking; you have to click on the part of the park you are interested in and go from there. The information you ultimately arrive at is helpful but not too in-depth. We plan to develop a site of Everglades links soon, so please check back sometime. If you have a good Everglades hiking page, tell us!


  • Flagler Trail -- Seminole County 5.5 mi "wilderness" trail; proposed for 20+ miles. Good site with description, entry points, map, etc. Site by Seminole County Public Works.


  • Florida National Scenic Trail Designated as a National Scenic Trail in 1986, the Florida Trail, when completely certified, will meander from the Gulf Island Seashore near Pensacola to the Big Cypress National Preserve near Miami. This is the "official" site maintained by the Florida Trail Association, Gainesville. Everything you need to know about the trail, hiking the trail, and getting involved.


  • General This is the first page of the Florida portion of an Eastern Continental Trail thru-hiker named Spider. This is a great journal to read; easy enough to find the main page from this one.


  • General -- FloridaHikes.com OK, we got it...here's the must have website for Florida, hosted by none other than Sandra Friend, author of all things hiking in Florida, books such as The Hiking Trails of Florida's National Forests, Parks, and Preserves and a bunch of "Explorers Guides" and all that sort of stuff. Well this here is Sandra's website, called FloridaHikes.com, and although it ain't fancy, it's got the goods on hiking in Florida. It's divided into regions -- North, Central, South, Panhandle -- with a dozen or so hikes detailed in each. Site has another section that revolves articles to provide fresh/different content, and a blog. So if you're gonna hike in Florida, this is the must click website by the person who is the recognized authority. We've got some links below to Sandra's books; obviously we recommend those as a "carry along" on the trail, and suggest leaving the computer at home. But it's up to you. Either way, FloridaHikes.com is a must-click.


  • General -- Central Florida This is a handy reference page with quick links to maps for a number of key CF trails, including the Saint Francis Trail, Hal Scott Regional Preserve, Geneva Wilderness Area, Seminole State Forest, Yearling Trail, Spring Hammock Preserve, Lake Monroe Conservation Area, Little Big Econ State Forest, Lake Jessup, Lake Proctor, and others. On the "Byrdscouter" site by Bill Byrd.


  • General -- Central Florida This site, called "OutInTheBoonies.com" is a very simple menu type page with links to virtually all of Central Florida's natural areas. Each is then described on separate, in-depth pages with descriptions, directions, and plenty of excellent photos. Positively a "must-click" if you plan to hike in Central Florida.


  • General State Forest Trailwalker page. Includes a lot of the "how to get involved" stuff you'd expect from a state site. They have a good log program; send in your list...maybe you get a badge? I don't really know. Anyway, lists all the trails in the State Forests and tells you how to find them. Decent site by Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Forestry.


  • General -- Statewide here's an "outdoors" blog hosted by the Orlando Sentinel newspaper. Let me start by saying I am not familiar with this newspaper, but I can tell you that I like this blog by Kumari Kelly. Kumari isn't writing just about hiking, but an all-around outdoorsy thing that is just terrific. Hiking suggestions are listed regularly. All in all, if you're an outdoorsperson and you live in Florida, this is one of those sites you ought to visit often. And you thought newspapers were just good for the comic pages...


  • Goethe Trail 100 mi shared use trail in Goethe State Forest. Much improved page that provides excellent introductory information and a number of links to in-depth information on specific things, including maps, etc. Please note that this link was fixed September 7, 2006


  • Gulf Islands National Seashore -- Naval Live Oaks Nature Loop Here's a typical NPS nature loop, brief description with a couple of photos on the Natural Born Hikers website.


  • John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park -- Key Largo Here's a terrific page on the HikingWithChuck.com website, with complete directions and detailed descriptions of the trail, ecosystem, birds, plants, animals...a good guide to bookmark, as it will help you identify the different things you'll see in the area.


  • Orlando Area Heather Martin is a young lady from Calais, VT who has hiked more of the Eastern Seaboard than any other teenager, or something like that. This lengthy page describes her journeys in the Orlando area, which includes places you'll want to visit, places you'll never find, and Disneyworld of course. It's quite a hiking narrative, and her enthusiasm is infectious. Quite an interesting narrative, with lots of photos. I bet she can out-hike all of us.


  • Panhandle Vacation Homes Sorry folks, this is not a link to a hiking trail. One day I thought, hmmm...you know, if people are planning to hike in Florida, maybe they're vacationing in Florida, and perhaps they'll need a place to stay. Then I thought: Well sure, but they're probably staying with family. So I thought about it some more, and it occurred to me...not everybody wants to stay with Great Aunt Sally and her house full of cats. So I put this link in. If you're headed to Florida and you don't want to bunk with Aunt Sally and her funky smelling cats, this link will help.


  • Sebastian River Buffer Preserve Brevard County. Although not much in the way of trails, it does have an awesome nature loop and some great canoeing. Good page with directions, description, photos, on the OutInTheBoonies.com site.


  • Yearling Trail Marion County. 5+ mile trail in the Juniper Springs Wilderness Area found in Ocala National Forest. in Marion County. If you've ever read The Yearling, you know something about this trail.


Going down to Florida, and get some sand in my shoes...

Hey, we're just getting started on this page.

One of the least expected things about Florida is that -- if you know where to look -- you can find some outstanding hiking opportunities right under the nose of the puppets (uh, sorry, that's magitronics) and the traffic and the waterparks and the alligator zoos and the rest of the insanity. I guess the most popular destination is Central Florida, which coincidentally has the majority of the aforementioned craziness. Your guide to getting away from the noise is 50 Hikes in Central Florida: Hikes, Walks, and Backpacks in the Heart of the Peninsula by Sandra Friend. If you wish to enjoy a day without the puppets and long lines, this is the book to have. Take it, along with that "How to See the Magic Kingdom in 27 minutes" battle plan book that is so popular. After zigzagging around the park like a pinball, you'll be ready for a change of pace. Two aspirin and Friend's book is cure.

Keep this in mind: Any discount theme park tickets that are not delivered to you on the spot, or otherwise require sitting through a timeshare presentation, are to be avoided at all costs. I realize that has nothing to do with hiking, but what the heck. Some people just don't know.

Not everything revolves around the World, of course, and for those of you able to escape the orbit, The Hiking Trails of Florida's National Forests, Parks, and Preserves by Johnny Molloy and Sandra Friend is recognized as the "go-to" guide. Did you know that Florida has the most park/forest/preserve/wilderness land in the southeast? Did you know that it's almost impossible to find your way to the best of it with a highway map? Trust me on that one. Anyway, enjoy your visit; it's a great, big beautiful tomorrow!

One of Florida's oldest cities -- and arguably most beautiful -- is St. Augustine. It's also home to Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, and the site of a rather interesting story. The Fort was built by the Spanish. It has a rather large moat around it. The Spanish kept the moat dry and during sieges, used it as a pen for domestic animals. However when the Fort was under land attack the floodgates were opened allowing the moat to fill with seawater. The gates were at the seawall and easily opened, but rarely used. In the 1950s the Park Service received a lot of public pressure (keep in mind this area received a lot more traffic in pre-interstate highway days) after an Errol Flynn movie featured a fort that looked just like Castillo de San Marcos. The public outcry over the "dry moat" was overwhelming. So the NPS allegedly caved to public demands and filled the moat with water, even though it was usually kept dry! The Hollywood-inspired water resulted in serious structural damage to the fort's inner walls. The moat was drained in the early 1990s.

Okay...if you knew that "get some sand in my shoes" is a line from "The Orange Blossom Special," give yourself 6 slackpacker trivia points. Add two more if Johnny Cash came to mind.

-- Rick Bolger

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