Florida may be known for its sunny beaches and amusement parks, but it also offers some of the most scenic hiking trails in the country. From coastal walks to lush forests, Florida’s diverse landscape provides a range of options for hikers of all levels.
Whether you’re a seasoned trekker or just looking for a leisurely stroll amidst nature, Florida has plenty of good hiking trails to explore.
So, pack your backpack, lace up your boots, and get ready to discover some hidden gems on the sunny side of America.
In this article, we will guide you through some of the best hikes that Florida has to offer.
Get ready to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of 6 good hiking trails Florida has to offer and take in breathtaking views along the way!
1. Florida Trail, Aucilla Sinks
4.4 miles. The Aucilla Sinks are by far the most fascinating section of the Florida Trail, with ripples of dark waters reflecting against pitted limestone walls, dense palm fronds concealing sudden drop-offs into yawning sinkholes, and a footpath that winds you among the geologically weirdest piece of any National Scenic Trail.
The Aucilla River fell into Florida’s karst, a porous region of the state’s limestone bedrock, at some point in Florida’s distant past.
While hiking, you can see the river, although it is fragmented and flowing through sinkholes. Some of them have a sharp drop off into them that resembles huge holes.
Some of them, like Long Sink and Half Mile Sink, resemble sections of a river in motion.
You are not far from a primitive woodland if you feel as though you have arrived there.
Due to the discovery of a double-edged stone knife in one of the sinks, the Aucilla Sinks have been determined to be the earliest known site of human occupancy in the Southeast United States.
A mastodon tusk and skull were also present, and the tusk had been cut off using a knife. This area was populated by prehistoric peoples more than a hundred miles from the shore, or pre-Clovis in archaeological terms.
2. Florida Trail (Milton)
We’ll concentrate on our favorite section of the Florida National Scenic Trail in Blackwater River State Forest, which is one of its more than 1,000 miles of trails around the state.
Near the Alabama border, you can explore forests of longleaf pine and Atlantic white cedar here.
This section of the path in Milton is close to the Alabama State Line and the larger Eastern Continental Trail. Juniper Creek is a short day trip of 7.3 miles!
- From the park’s recreation area, begin your hike. You should follow the river’s floodplain forests.
- You’ll enter a vast longleaf pine forest after navigating some soggy and muddy areas. Keep an eye out for mountain laurels with sparkleberries and magnolia as the trail swings out closer to Juniper Creek.
- Pay attention to the stream’s rapids as they trickle through the difficult terrain.
- After a few kilometers, keep an eye out for a worn path that descends to Red Rock Bluffs. Clay cliffs crumble into Juniper Creek’s basin in Florida, which is the closest you’ll come to the Grand Canyon.
- From here, you have two options: turn around and walk back the way you came, or hike up Red Rock Road for a half mile to the next trailhead!
3. Dune Trail at Blowing Rocks (Jupiter)
One of Florida’s most unique hiking routes may be found on Jupiter Island, one of the nicest islands in the state, close to Hobe Sound. Blowing Rocks provides sea caves and cliffs together with one of the most stunning coastlines.
You’ll discover a rocky shoreline with a stunning limestone terrace where the sand meets the sea at 2.5 kilometers.
To help you choose what to view, we advise checking the tides ahead of time. The bubbling blowholes can be seen during high tide. You’ll have more time to explore the enigmatic sea caves at low tide.
Beware of marine urchins!
You will start out on a sandy trail that leads to the water from the trailhead. A lengthy tunnel is made by sea grapes. Their ivories bloom in the summer and shimmer.
4. Black Rock Trail (Jacksonville)
One of Florida’s best-kept secrets is Big Talbot Island, which is located just off the coast of Jacksonville. With its white sands, rugged shorelines, and saw palmettos, you may mistake it for Hawaii.
One of Florida’s top hiking paths is made possible by its distinctive geological features. Black Rock Trail is manageable for first-time hikers at just over a mile each way. We advise visiting the island during the week or very early on weekends because the entrance is free.
Parking spaces are scarce and could be crowded. From the parking area, use the bike path south to the Black Rock Trail entrance. Here, the trail is thankfully shaded and extremely broad.
- Keep right after the fork. You’ll emerge just above the shoreline.
- Here’s the tricky part. Because the shoreline has eroded, there’s no foolproof way to get down there easily.
- Carefully use the tree roots as footholds as there are no staircases.
5. Jupiter Creek Nature Trail (Ocala)
The Ocala National Forest in picturesque Ocala is home to the largest scrub forest in the world.
The Jupiter Creek Nature Trail, one of the top hiking routes in Florida, leads by a playground of crystal-clear waterways that is tucked away amongst the trees. This trail is only 1.4 miles long and winds between Jupiter Springs and Fern Hammock Springs.
The trail is accessible for wheelchair users and is quite simple for beginning hikers. If you plan to swim in one of Florida’s natural springs, be careful to dress in your swimsuit underneath your clothes.
Locate the trailhead behind an old mill from the parking lot.
You can see tiny spring boils rising up below the “nature trail” sign, giving you a preview of what’s to come.
6. Bok Tower Gardens (Lake Wales)
The ideal day trip from Orlando is to Bok Tower Gardens, which has been called “a site of beauty second to none in the country.” Two of Orlando’s most gorgeous hiking routes may be found in the grounds, which also house the huge Bok Tower.
Bok Tower is located at Mountain Lake Colony, Florida’s steepest hill, near Lake Wales, a suburb of Orlando.
The Carillion Tower, which has bells within that can be played like instruments, is located in the middle of the paths. At 1 and 3 PM, keep an ear out for music. At 1.5 miles, the Preserve Trail is the longer of the two.
You may read more about Florida’s most vulnerable ecology here.
You might find microscopic fossils at your feet on the phosphate mine pebble rock pavement! The 3/4-mile Pineridge Trail, which passes through the longleaf pine forest that is in danger of extinction, is a little bit shorter.
The Visitor Center and parking area are where the trail terminates after starting close to Window by the Pond.
Florida may be known for its beaches and theme parks, but it has some hidden gems in the form of hiking trails.
From the lush forests of Black Rock Trail to the crystal-clear waters of Jupiter Creek Nature Trail, there’s a trail for every level of hiker.
Don’t let the heat and humidity deter you from exploring Florida’s natural beauty. Grab your sunscreen, water bottle, and hiking boots, and hit one of these trails for a memorable adventure.
Who knows? You might just discover a new favorite spot!
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and hike!