The Apalachicola National Forest is comprised of 564,961 acres on gently rolling flat terrain, and is the largest National Forest in Florida. Located located southwest of Tallahassee, it was established in 1936 on land that was in poor condition due to bad timber and turpentine producing practices. The Apalachicola is now a healthy, diverse, productive forest with the largest red-cockaded woodpecker population in the world.
The Apalachicola National Forest contains two rivers, the Ochlockonee and the Sopchoppy, that are part of the State's Recreational Trails System. More than 35 boat launches and landings provide access to the waters of Florida's national forests. Many of them can be used at no charge.
The main trails in the Apalachicola National Forest are the Wright Lake Trail which is 4.5 miles long, the Trail of Lakes which is 6 miles long, and the Leon Sinks Geological Area Trail which is 5.4 miles long. There are numerous smaller trails at campgrounds and picnic areas throughout the Forest.
A drive through the Apalachicola National Forest provides a view of an ecosystem that includes longleaf pines, wiregrass, savannahs, and wetlands. Leon Sinks Geological Area, located south of Tallahassee on U.S. Route 319, is an example of a karst plain. The area contains several wet and dry sinkholes, numerous depression, a natural bridge, and a disappearing stream accessed by three trails. Also located in the eastern side of the forest is the Munson Hills Off-Road Bicycle Trail. A scenic and challenging ride through rolling terrain, the trail is accessed from the St. Marks Trail (rails-to-trails project).
The Apalachicola National Forest is an interesting blend of recreational opportunities and history, longleaf pine forests, savannahs, and cypress ponds. There are numerous campgrounds throughout the Apalachicola National Forest offering everything from cleared areas for pitching a tent to areas to park your RV. Beautiful hiking trails, scenic areas and plenty of great fishing will ensure you enjoy your time in the Apalachicola National Forest.
The Apalachicola National Forest contains two of the seven designated wildernesses in Florida's national forests. These Wilderness Areas offer special opportunities for enjoying solitude or a primitive, unconfined recreational experience. No developed recreation facilities are found within these wildernesses. There are few, if any, signs to guide you. Motorized equipment or any means of mechanized transport, including off-road bicycles and motorized vehicles, are not permitted. However, any type of wheelchair or other device designed solely for use by a mobility-impaired person for locomotion, that is suitable for use in an indoor pedestrian area, is allowed for wilderness access. These areas are Bradwell Bay, which consists of 24,602 acres and Mud Swamp/New River, consisting of 8,018 acres. In these pristine areas remember to please practice the no-trace ethic -- tread lightly and remember if you pack it in, pack it out.