If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure, look no further than the hiking trails in Florida! With its diverse landscape over 1,300 miles recreational trails, and abundance of natural beauty, Florida is a hiker’s paradise. From the towering trees and rushing waterfalls of the Ocala National Forest to the white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters of the Keys, there is something for everyone in Florida. In this blog post, we will list some of our favorite hiking trails in Florida, explain what makes them great, and give stats on each hike.
So, without further ado, here are the best hiking trails and destinations in Florida:
Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park
The park has many easy hiking trails, which make it enjoyable for the whole family. Bison and horses that roam freely will amaze each one who passes through. There is an observation tower to see for birding, and hikers can also meet deer and other animals while trekking along the paths. The park also has great canoeing and kayaking options.
Ocala National Forest
The Ocala has terrain that ranges from highlands to lowlands by the coast, with swamps, lakes, rivers, and springs. White-tailed deer, foxes, raccoons, armadillos, and other animals live in the forest. It is also home to the eastern coral snake, cottonmouth, dusky pygmy rattlesnake, and the eastern diamond rattlesnake.
You can find snakes on almost all hiking trails in Florida. While most of them are non-venomous, it is best to keep your distance. Human presence upsets them and even the non-venomous may strike. You can identify venomous snakes by checking their eyes. Snakes with eyes that have red and black bands separated by a yellow stripe are best left alone.
Shark Valley Tram Trail
This is an easy loop trail you can complete in four and a half hours and is part of the Everglades National Park. It will be an interesting hike because of the different animals you may see as you walk through. Bobcats, wading birds, alligators, and big grasshoppers are just some creatures you can encounter. It is best to go in winter because wildlife on this trail gathers in central water areas.
Ancient Dunes Nature Trail
This trail in Anastasia State Park is a maritime hammock, which means hardwood forest growing on coastal dunes. It is a loop trail through unique ecosystems. You can find sea turtles, crabs, dolphins, and manatees in the tidal marsh. The Anastasia Island beach mouse has the dunes as its home and the beach is for shore birds, crabs, and other marine creatures.
Wekiwa Springs State Park
The park has several trails ranging in length from 0.8 to 13.5 miles for beginner to intermediate hikers. Wildlife that you can encounter as you trek through any of the trails are turkeys, deer, tortoises, and the Florida black bear. There is also a variety of terrain that you will appreciate, such as Flatwoods, sand hills, and hardwood hammocks. You get to enjoy both flora and fauna on any of the park’s trails. Once you finish your hike, you can cool off in the spring. Picnic areas are available for meals or to just sit and soak up nature.
Withlacoochee State Trail
The Withlacoochee State Trail is another great option for hikers in Florida. This paved trail runs for 46 miles through Citrus, Hernando, and Sumter counties. It features beautiful scenery, including forests, wetlands, and prairies. There are also several trailheads with parking and restrooms, making it a convenient option for hikers.
The Florida Trail
The Florida Trail is a premier hiking destination in the state. This massive trail stretches for over 1500 miles, from the Big Cypress National Preserve all the way to the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Along the way, hikers will experience a diverse array of landscapes, including swamps, forests, and beaches. Because this spans such a large portion of Florida, it is accessible and various places across the state.
So there you have it – our list of the best hiking trails and locations in Florida! We hope you get a chance to check out some of these amazing trails for yourself. Happy hiking!
Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued his frequent adventures in the mountains, always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about