Florida Hiking, Nature July 25, 2017
7 Trails In Florida With An Undeniably Amazing Final Destination
In life, it’s not the destination, it’s the journey. Still, it feels pretty great to be rewarded on a hike with some jaw-dropping scenery. From waterfalls to ruins, each of these hikes has a huge payoff that will make all your hard work worth while. If you think it’s too hot for you to hike right now, just bookmark these for later.
1. Apalachicola Bluffs and Ravines Preserve, Bristol
The Garden of Eden Trail at this preserve was so named because some believed this was the actual site of the biblical Garden of Eden. The views here will make you understand why, and have you wondering if you're really still in Florida. Though the hike is only a little over three miles, shorter doesn't always mean easier. This is possibly the most challenging hike in the state, due to the steep terrain. It will all be worth it, however, when you reach this scenic vista.
2. Rainbow Springs State Park, Dunnellon
The payoff for hiking in this popular state park is huge. Hikers walk along historic paved pathways, viewing native plants and wildlife, the clearest blue spring waters, and some beautiful man-made waterfalls. It’s especially lovely in the early spring, when thousands of azaleas are in bloom.
3. Fern Hammock Springs, Ocala National Forest
Just a half-mile walk from the historic Juniper Springs Recreation Area will lead you to the picturesque Fern Hammock Springs, which is nicknamed "The Aquarium," for the constantly bubbling boils under the surface of the clear blue water. You can't swim in this area (though you can at Juniper Springs), but this scenic spot will make you feel like you're in a fairy tale.
4. Hillsborough River State Park, Thonotosassa
Hillsborough River State Park, located near Tampa, covers nearly 3,000 acres of wild Florida landscape and features over seven miles of scenic trails. Here you can find historic structures like a pedestrian suspension bridge and a replica of Fort Foster. This park also holds a rare surprise: It's one of the few places in Florida you can find rapids like these.
5. Falling Waters State Park, Chipley
While Florida isn't exactly known for its waterfalls (they're few and far between in the nation's flattest state), there is one real waterfall here that can be pretty impressive at the right time. At Falling Waters State Park, you can view a 73-foot waterfall that cascades down the side of an ancient sinkhole. At the right time, like after recent rainfall, it can look like this. It can also appear as just a trickle, though, so call ahead to check before you visit.
6. Bulow Creek State Park, Ormond Beach
The Bulow Woods Trail begins at the majestic Fairchild Oak, which is over 400 ears old and one of the largest in the region. It runs a 6.8-mile path shaded by oak trees and inhabited by white-tailed deer, barred owls and other native wildlife.
The trail ends at Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park, where what was then the largest sugar mill in the state and its plantation were burned down by Seminole Indians in 1836 during the Second Seminole War.
7. Alexander Springs, Ocala National Forest.
The Timicuan Trail in the Ocala National Forest is a scenic hike that takes visitors through several different habitats before depositing them at a beautiful natural swimming hole at Alexander Springs.
Have you taken any of these hikes? What’s your favorite scenic spot for an outdoor adventure in the Sunshine State?