gifts for hikers

Hiking In Florida – Our Top 6 Trails (With Pro Tips)

  • Updated: March 11, 2019
Aucilla-River-on-the-Florida-Trail

With the famous Florida Trail, Florida Everglades and many other beautiful, lesser known trails, Florida is a great place to explore the great outdoors of the vast country that is America.

It’s landscape is ecologically diverse, which makes adventuring through its different parts ever more exciting as they are completely different to one another.

Whether you want to trudge through swampy wetlands, stroll along boardwalks or wander along the beautiful beach trails, Florida has it all. So here are some of the top, scenic hiking spots in the state that you should consider exploring.

Our List Of 6 Best Hiking Trails in Florida, USA

Have a look at our favorite trails in Florida, and let us know if there are any we’ve missed in the comments!

1. Prairie Lakes Loop

Prairie-Lakes-Loop-Florida

The Prairie Lakes Loop along the Florida trail is one of the oldest and most scenic hiking trails in Florida. It takes you through mossy forests to vast, open prairies – for which the state is well known for.

This beautiful hiking and birding destination lies between two big lakes, Lake Marian and Lake Jackson, and consists of a North Loop and South Loop.

The North Loop is 5.4 miles long and explore the views of the open prairie, while the South Loop takes you through the shady oak and palm trees by the lakes and is 6 miles long.

There is also an observation deck at Lake Marian where you can view the beautiful panorama of blue skies, the lake and its lush, green shores.

2. Juniper Creek on the Florida Trail

Juniper Creek on the Florida Trail

Photo by Fisherbray

The Juniper Creek Trail is a 7.3 mile long segment of the Florida Trail, and is a stunning trail to explore, especially in the spring as pink and white wildflowers blossom throughout the land.

The trail leads through the Blackwater River State Park as well as the Blackwater River State Forest as it follows the trickling creek.

The start of the trail does involve wading through some titi swamps so be prepared to get your feet a little wet.

The Juniper Creek Trail is one of the most beautiful and scenic trails in the area and is the perfect spit for a day hike.

3. Fort Pickens

Fort-Pickens-Florida

Fort Pickens is an historical site located at the Northernmost reaches of the Florida Trail in Northwest Florida.

The trail to Fort Pickens is a tough 6.9 mile hike through open land with no protection from the sun or wind. Fort Pickens is an important part of history as it was built to defend the coast.

It was also where Geronimo, a prominent Apache leader, was held as a prisoner of war and “tourist attraction” in 1886. The Fort Pickens Trail is a straightforward hike that takes you along the open, sandy beaches of the Gulf of Mexico right up to the front gate of the Fort.

Looking forward along the trail, there are no buildings or signs of development which gives the trail a sense of isolation and seclusion.

Eglin Alaqua Section

4. Alaqua East

Alaqua-Creek

Photo by r.Poore

The 8 mile round-trip hike to Alaqua Creek is an intriguing hike as it leads you through a fascinating magnolia and beech tree forest that thrives between floodplains.

It’s interesting because beech trees are usually found in cooler climates while magnolias thrive in warmer climates, so to see them flourishing together is quite unique.

There are a number of small creeks that intercept the trail and you’ll have to walk along the plank bridges to pass over them. The forested hike to Alaqua Creek is cool and shady with many beautiful, serene spot to rest and take stunning photos.

5. Alaqua West

The Alaqua West Trail is slightly shorter than the eastern trail at 6.6 miles long and explores the hilly land with its multiple flowing tributaries which stream into the Alaqua Creek.

This hike takes you along boardwalks, swampy creeks and gentle trails through pine forests. There are a couple sights to look out for along this trail, including the Whitetop Hill, Step Across Creeka and the Little Alaqua Creek crossing.

The Alaqua West Trail leads to the Alaqua Campsite where you can spend a night, enjoy the surroundings a bit longer and have a rest if you’re a beginner hiker or hiking with your family.

6. Aucilla River On The Florida Trail

Aucilla-River-on-the-Florida-Trail

Photo by HouseBoatStudio

The Aucilla River segment of the Florida Trail is a 9.3 mile hike along the river and is a perfect spot to see a lot of the natural features that Florida is known for.

From rocky outcrops, tumbling river rapids and limestone boulders to the “Rainbow Swamp”, interesting old trees and sinkholes, the trail along Aucilla River is a diverse and exciting place for a hiking adventure.

As you make your way through the shaded forest you will find sections of cypress swamps where numerous cypress knees sprout up from the ground among taller trees and create a peculiar, yet beautiful, scene.

During the winter, you may be able to see the “Rainbow Swamp”, a natural phenomenon that occurs when the sunlight hits the spot at just the right angle to reflect the oils that seep from the trees in to the swamp water, creating pastel, rainbow reflections.

The “Rainbow Swamp” is a magical sight to see so if you’re travelling through Florida during the Winter months, it’s definitely worth your while to hike along the Aucilla River.


Category: North America, USA

About the Author Mila Whitman

Mila has been to 5 continents, visited over 40 countries and hiked across some of the most famous mountain ranges including the Andes and the Atlas Mountains. As an AMS sufferer she learned a few techniques to reduce the symptoms and the effects on her hiking adventures.

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