Florida National Scenic Trail Hiking Review
- HIstorical Value
- Trail Markers
The Florida National Scenic Trail is a long hike through the state of Florida. I hiked it for a total of 14 miles and enjoyed every minute. A reminder that there are wild animals and snakes along this trail and you need to be very aware of your situation every second. Stay safe!
325 John Knox Road, Suite F-100
Tallahassee FL, 32303
There’s a large green area on a map of Central Florida. This area is called Green Swamp and it’s one of my favorite places to hike. There are abandoned towns from the turn of the century, incredible wildlife sightings, cypress swamps, the Florida National Scenic Trail and a number of rivers.
We hiked about 14 miles in the Central area and came upon a Florida Cottonmouth who wasn’t happy to see us. It was a close call and a reminder that before you hike an area you know the dangers and have a plan. We were 7 miles into our hike and the nearest hospital being close to an hour away from our trailhead.
The Florida National Scenic Trail is a 1000+ mile hiking trail that runs through the state of Florida. It’s only 1 out of 11 National Scenic Trails in the United States today. It is broken up into 4 sections which include:
Jim Kern (founder of the Florida Trail Association, Big City Mountaineers, American Hiking Society & The Hiker’s Grand Slam) founded the trail and in October of 1966, the first trail marker was set up in the Ocala National Forest. In 1983, the trail was called the Florida National Scenic Trail and designated a National Scenic Trail.
The trail is always open to hiking and wildlife viewing but in some parts, you’ll find: biking, horseback riding, paddling, camping, hunting, and swimming.
I found the trail to be very clean and open as well as flat. There can be flooding as I’ve seen while out in the Central part of the trail. Due to the flooding, this led our hiking group to walk through flooded parts but we never encountered any water above our knees. I posted a picture of a Florida Cottonmouth as seen above. This snake was in a flooded area right next to the trail. Always walk in the middle of the trail vs left or right side. We never saw him as he jumped and tried to strike us. We were lucky that day.
I found there to be a lot of wildlife along the Florida National Scenic Trail in the Green Swamp area. As seen in my pictures, there were snakes, bobcat, etc. Always prepare for what you might encounter in this area. Here is a partial list of the animals you might find while hiking the trail through Green Swamp:
- Florida Panther (Recently discovered panther tracks – Green Swamp Area)
- Black Bear
- White-Tailed Deer
- Florida Cottonmouth
- Sandhill Cranes
- Florida Pine Snake
- Feral Hogs
- Wild Turkey
- Red Widow Spider
- Gopher Tortoises
I loved hiking this area along the trail but be prepared for anything. I found myself at most times without cell phone reception and around animals that could pose a problem. The trails were clean and flat, and easy to hike on. I think the biggest suggestion I have is to bring a lot of water. It can be very hot in the summer.
Florida National Scenic Trail Hiking Suggestions
- Good hiking shoes or boots (Snake proof if possible)
- A lot of water (I brought & used 1/2 gallon)
- Bug spray
- Trekking pole (For snakes)
- Food (This trail is long and hot in the summer)
- Long pants (I got poison ivy wearing shorts)
Great hike for me. I enjoyed it, even getting stuck in a storm, having to hike directly through a cypress swamp and almost being struck by the water moccasin I posted a picture of above. Be safe as this trail goes through swamps, fields and very thick forest.