Florida Trail Association

The Florida Trail

What is the Florida Trail (FNST)?

The Florida Trail (FNST) is a congressionally designated National Scenic Trail administered by the USDA Forest Service.

It is approximately 1,300-miles long, and is intended to offer a continuous, permanent non-motorized recreation opportunity for hiking and other compatible activities. Over its length, it showcases the incredible biodiversity, history, and rich culture of Florida.

See the Florida Trail
Threading its way from the sugar sand beaches of Gulf Islands National Seashore in the Florida Panhandle to the cypress domes of Big Cypress National Preserve in the Everglades, the Florida National Scenic Trail (or Florida Trail for short) connects the state’s most outstanding scenic, natural, cultural and historic resources.

The Florida Trail travels 1,300 miles throughout the state, offering recreational opportunities year-round as the nation’s only subtropical National Scenic Trail. Located within a one-hour drive of most major metropolitan areas, the Florida Trail is the perfect destination for new hikers, families and even experienced thrill-seekers. Explore Florida’s wild side and find your adventure on the Florida Trail!

RECREATION
Whether you want to trek through the wilderness in solitude or explore a Gateway Community along an urban rail-trail, your adventure starts nearby on the Florida Trail.

Hiking and Backpacking are favorite activities on the Florida Trail. Trips range from short day hikes by crystal clear springs to longer treks through tracts of old-growth forest. Spend an afternoon or a couple months on the trail; the choice is yours.

Biking* allows you to access the statewide network of multi-use paths and rail-trails. Bike sections of Cross Florida Greenway, the Palatka-Lake Butler Trail and the St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail.

Horseback Riding* in national forests, state forests, water management districts and state parks provide riders backcountry access to outstanding natural landscapes throughout the state. Experience Florida cowboy culture first-hand, or enjoy the view over a pine savannah on your ride.

Water Sports* in rivers, springs and lakes along the Florida Trail are a great way to explore the state. Cool down and paddle the famous Suwannee River, explore the disappearing Aucilla Sinks or swim in cool waters at Juniper Springs.

*Refer to the local land manager to see if these activities are available and/or permitted.

SCENERY AND NATURE
The Florida Trail is the perfect destination to surround yourself in the misty morning sunrises of Lake Okeechobee or to enjoy crisp winter views of jungle-like hardwood hammocks. No matter the time of the year, the Florida Trail provides front-row seats to Florida’s natural wonders.

Ecosystems in Florida are unlike any other in the nation, ranging from sand dunes to cypress swamps. The trail passes through undisturbed old-growth forests and actively managed lands, including the Everglades Headwaters Restoration, one of the world’s largest restoration projects along the Kissimmee River. Florida’s unique geology is easily viewed from the trail, where karst topography swallows rivers and streams into deep sinkholes and underground cave systems.

Flora and Fauna biodiversity reigns supreme in Florida, from pitcher plant savannahs in the Panhandle to bromeliads in Big Cypress National Preserve. Over 900 miles of the Florida Wildlife Corridor follows the Florida Trail, helping the trail to protect and connect habitat for many rare and endangered species, such as the Florida panther, gopher tortoise and even sea turtles. The trail is also renowned for its birding opportunities, home to such unique birds as the crested caracara, Florida scrub jay, Florida grasshopper sparrow and red-cockaded woodpecker.

CULTURE AND HISTORY
A hike along the Florida Trail can be a journey through time, connecting you with cultural and historic sites throughout the state. Develop a deeper understanding of Florida’s shared heritage on the Florida Trail!

Cultural Resources provide perspective on the people who once inhabited and continue to reside in Florida. Learn more about Native American, Florida Cracker cattlemen and early United States culture as you follows the steps of Florida’s rich history on the Florida Trail.

Historic Sites dot the length of the Florida Trail. You can visit one of the nation’s largest Civil War reenactment sites at the Olustee Battlefield, explore historic Fort Pickens in the Gulf Islands National Seashore or trace Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto’s footsteps along the Suwannee River.