North Florida Trailblazers ChapterServing Baker, Bradford, Clay, Duval, Nassau, St. Johns, and Union counties
Established as the Cornelian Hiking Club in 1981 in honor of Cornelia Burge, one of the Florida Trail’s most memorable volunteers, the North Florida Trailblazers took on their new name in 1987. Our chapter, which maintains the Florida Trail in the northeasternmost part of the state, has a very active core group and our members participate at both the local and state level.
When we are not blazing, we can be found on trails near and far from Jacksonville. We celebrate the end of the year at our annual Christmas Campout with a potluck and presents. Usually held at Osceola National Forest’s group site, The Landing, this is a long weekend of great fun and outdoor activities. Saturday night features fried turkey and all the fixings and no one wants to miss out on the gift exchange! In February, we host the annual IDIDAHIKE – a 12 mile hike with shorter routes, as well. This is our main fundraiser of the year, and has been a great success. During the rest of the year, you’ll find us keeping the trails clear and leading hikes and other activities. Come join us!
The North Florida Trailblazers Chapter maintains the Florida Trail from the Tinsley Road trailhead at Etoniah Creek State Forest to the town of White Springs. The trail passes through Gold Head Branch State Park, Camp Blanding, the Keystone Airpark, portions of the Palatka-Lake Butler rail corridor, the town of Lake Butler, Lake Butler Forest and the Osceola National Forest.
While we think that all of our trails are very special, during the spring when many of Florida’s native plants are in bloom, you’ll find one of the best smelling sections of trail along the Suwannee River between the Little Shoals Trailhead and White Springs. Depending upon weather conditions, blooming can begin as early as the beginning of March. Along this stretch of trail you’ll find native azalea, Florida fringe trees, and button bushes as well as a host of other flora. The azaleas range in color from dark pink to almost white and are clustered close to the trail in many places. Their heady fragrance fairly drips upon your head as you pass by.