Length: 35.9 (linear) from SR 21 to City of Lake Butler
The trail through Camp Blanding takes you through undulating sandhill terrain, with some spectacular scenic views from the hilltops. If it’s a clear day, the distant rumble is not thunder, but bombing exercises. You’ll walk through the hilly sandhill terrain, with its forests of longleaf pine and turkey oak, densely forested areas with different kinds of hardwood trees and shrubs, and pine plantations in various growth stages. Scattered patches of scrub habitat, with brilliant white sand and plants that can survive extreme heat and dryness, introduce you to Florida’s “desert.” Wildlife includes pocket gophers, gray foxes, and squirrels. In the pine woods along the trail, look for “catfaces” (the scars on pine trees left by the turpentine industry) and for red-clay turpentine pots which look like flower pots. Pause and enjoy a cool breeze at the many lakes along the way including a beautiful circumnavigation of Magnolia Lake. The trail passes through the historic, and now defunct, Magnolia Lake State Park. A troubling reminder of the past, the State Park was one of Florida’s segregated state parks from 1957 until the late 1970s.
After leaving Camp Blanding the trail stays on the Palatka Lake Butler State Trail which is a multi-use rail trail. It is both paved and unpaved and heads towards the city of Keystone, a great place to resupply. The rail trail officially ends in Lake Butler.
For more information contact the North Florida Trailblazers