Florida National Scenic Trail
The Florida National Scenic Trail meanders for 1,400 miles through wilderness areas and across the beautiful landscapes of Florida. It passes through 75 different habitats and some of the most unique ecosystems in the Unites States. Wakulla County is fortunate to have the trail run through it for approximately 75 miles with two designated gateway communities: the City of St. Marks and the City of Sopchoppy. The trail follows abandoned railroad beds built at the turn of the century and crosses over old logging bridges at the eastern edge of the county line. It continues through the St. Marks Refuge, one of the oldest in the National Wildlife Refuge System, across a series of dikes constructed to hold freshwater for thousands of wintering waterfowl. There is an abundant variety of wildlife along the trail which passes through a wide diversity of forest types and habitats and runs alongside salt marshes that hug the coastal shore. The Refuge rich in cultural history will transport hikers back in time as they pass by abandoned relics and visual reminders of long ago. Between Wakulla Beach Road and Spring Creek Highway (CR 365), the trail passes through a magnificent area known as the Cathedral of Palms, with a short side trail to idyllic Shepherd Spring.
The trail continues at the Carraway Cuttoff Trailhead to the western edge of the county through the Apalachicola National Forest into one of the longest wilderness sections of the Florida Trail. This moderate beginning section starts off across sandhills through longleaf pine and wiregrass before meeting up with the Sopchoppy River, one of Florida’s blackwater streams. The trail follows the winding river and leads hikers along high bluffs and in and out of ravines under a canopy of magnolia, live oak, American holly and slash pine trees. Visitors to this section will witness magnificent cypress trees with impressive knees growing in the river and may glimpse vegetation unique only to this region including rare terrestrial orchids and the carnivorous pitcher plant. This stretch of trail leads to Bradwell Bay National Wilderness Area and then to the steephead ravines of the Ochlockonee River.
Florida National Scenic Trail is maintained by volunteers in partnership with private and public land managers. Florida Trail Association, (877) 445-3352. Local Apalachee Chapter, (850) 386-1494. apalachee.floridatrail.org
Hours & Details
Open daily, year round
Multiple trailheads. See PDF maps.
Biking & Hiking
- (850) 286-1494