Florida Trail Association

Media Fact Sheet

Vermilion Flycatcher in St. Marks NWR (Karen Wiles, 2017)

What is the Florida Trail?

The Florida Trail extends from the Panhandle to the Everglades, connecting the state’s unique natural, cultural, and historic resources and offering year-round recreational opportunities for residents and visitors.  View map brochure of the Florida Trail here.

The Florida Trail was officially recognized as a National Scenic Trail in 1983, joining a select group of congressionally designated long-distance trails. Today you can follow the orange blazes of the Florida Trail (FT) for more than 1,500 miles, crossing more than 100 land management units within the state. Over its length, the FT showcases the incredible biodiversity, history, and rich culture of Florida. The northern terminus of the trail is in Gulf Islands National Seashore near Pensacola, FL and the southern terminus is located in Big Cypress National Preserve in the Everglades. 

Approximately 360,000 people set foot on the FT every year. Conveniently, most Floridians reside within a one-hour drive from the FT. 

The FT provides a unique opportunity for visitors to experience Florida’s environment by connecting Florida’s public lands. The FT spans across a variety of public lands, including 3 National Forests, 8 State Forests, 8 State Parks, 1 National Wildlife Refuge, 2 National Park Service Properties. The FT also has permission to cross a number of private properties.

Current Florida Trail Mileage Breakdown:

The total trail mileage is fluid as the USFS and the FTA are continuously working to optimally route and designate new trail. Trail mileage is calculated using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Individual trail user experience may vary slightly.

An Eastern Corridor thru-hike (eastern Lake O, eastern central FL, including roadwalks and excluding Blackwater side-trail) yields 1,287.9 miles. 903 miles Road connector (road walks): 365.71 miles. The Eastern Corridor by itself is 248.52 miles long.

A Western Corridor thru-hike with the same qualifiers above yields 1,286.63 miles, Trail: 904 miles Road connector: 367.3 miles. The Western Corridor by itself is 247.35 miles long.

The official Blackwater Side Trail is 48.6 miles, this trail is designated as part of the Florida National Scenic Trail in the 1986 Comprehensive Plan and thus why other connecting or spur trails are not included.

  • Total Florida Trail length (including the Eastern or Western Corridors and road connector/trail gaps): ~ 1,500 miles
  • Total designated “true” trail length (excluding road walks/trail gaps): ~ 1,000 miles

 

For more information about the Florida Trail check out these documents:

 

Who manages the Florida Trail?

The FT is a product of the successful collaboration between the USDA Forest Service, land-managing partners and dedicated volunteers and staff from the Florida Trail Association (FTA), who recognize the need for long-distance hiking opportunities in Florida and come together to create, improve, and steward the trail.

The USDA Forest Service is the administrator of the FT, charged with planning routes, overseeing development and establishing partnerships to complete the trail. The National Forests in Florida and FT Coalition, an advisory group of public and private partners, work collaboratively to close the last remaining gaps and establish permanent protection along the entirety of the Florida Trail.

 

FTA Overview

The Florida Trail Association (FTA) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, volunteer organization headquartered in Gainesville, FL. The Florida Trail Association builds, maintains, protects, and promotes the unique Florida National Scenic Trail (Florida Trail/FT), along with a network of hiking trails throughout the state of Florida. Together with our partners, the Association provides opportunities for the public to contribute to meaningful volunteer work, engage in outdoor recreation, and participate in environmental education. For more information on how to volunteer with the FTA, check out our Volunteer Opportunities page.

  • Since 1966, we’ve been working statewide to develop and maintain hiking trails for public use, most notably the 1,500-mile Florida National Scenic Trail, designated in 1983.
  • Roughly 75-100 people thru-hike the Florida Trail every year
  • On average, the FT takes 2.5 months for individuals to thru-hike 
  • The FTA Trail Program team consists of 5 full-time staff members: the Trail Program Director, the Community Outreach Manager and three Regional Trail Program Managers. 
  • The heart of the Florida Trail Association exists within our 19 statewide chapters. Each chapter hosts maintenance projects, outdoor activities, and monthly chapter meetings. Each county in Florida has an associated FTA volunteer chapter.
  • In 2019, over 500 volunteers logged 23,379 hours helping the Florida Trail. The value of these hours amounts to approximately $589,848.85. 
  • The Florida Trail Association functions because of the generosity and dedication of 4,500+ members and donors.