Pensacola

The terminus of the Florida Trail is at Pensacola Beach, affording a lengthy beach walk, but the wonders of this region extend far inland to the vast Blackwater River State Forest, a playground for backpackers, day hikers, and paddlers alike. Bayou hikes are particularly interesting here, especially in spring when vast fields of pitcher plants are in bloom in the low marshes. Bike trails connect various communities, and boardwalk trails offer easy access for roaming the woods.

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  • View across the Big Lagoon to Perdido Key Exploring Trout Point in Pensacola (10/31/2013) - A visit to Trout Point Nature Trail at Pensacola NAS provides scenic panoramas of the Big Lagoon and Perdido Key from a boardwalk atop a coastal scrub ridge.
  • YRR-PT Two sides of the Yellow River (4/23/2013) - Going inside the Harold Store for breakfast, we realized we should have warned then we were coming. This was our rendezvous point for Day Five of the Panhandle Trace Hike, and after yesterday, everyone was hungry.  The Harold Store is the only store around for miles, so when a group of hungry hikers swarms your […]
  • FT Wiregrass On the 2013 Panhandle Trace Hike (4/4/2013) - It was a delight this year – Peggy Grantham’s last as hike leader – to join the Panhandle Trace and get to know the far northern reaches of the Florida Trail. It’s been 11 years since I hiked through Blackwater River State Forest and while some things remain the same, others certainly have changed. I […]
  • Suwannee River in flood stage How to keep alert to flood dangers on the Florida Trail (3/2/2013) - When the North Florida and the Florida Panhandle experience severe flooding along major rivers and their tributaries, add in icy temperatures and it’s a recipe for hypothermia for hiking on trails that parallel or cross river and stream basins. These issues affect the Florida Trail along the entire length of the Suwannee River, as well […]
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  • Pensacola Dunes a beauty spot (7/23/2009) - Sugary-white sand and emerald water are counterpoints on a hike that leads you through nearly 4 miles of pristine dunes – up and over and down, a true roller-coaster of a hike – at the UWF Dunes Preserve in Pensacola Beach. This linear segment of the Florida Trail is one of the prettier places to […]
  • Bay Bluffs Park The Pensacola Bluffs (4/13/2009) - After a lunch with my friend Jeff, I headed to the Pensacola Bluffs to see what the fuss was all about. Jeff had strongly recommended the bluffs as a potential site to include in my hiking guides, and after a few moments scramble, I found out why. The trail is only a mile or so […]
  • Towering over Big Lagoon (4/7/2009) - During a long morning of hiking on the breezy, open trails of Big Lagoon State Park with my friend Jeff,  we made it out to the famed observation tower at Big Lagoon.  This prominent structure offers a sweeping view of the park, the lagoon, the Gulf of Mexico, parts of Gulf Islands National Seashore, Perdido […]
  • Pitcher plants at Tarkiln Bayou (4/7/2009) - Years ago, when I first started looking for great places to hike in Northwest Florida, I discovered Tarkiln Bayou State Park. It’s a fabulous place to see pitcher plants in bloom, and right now is prime time: thousands of them in the bogs along the bayou in wet pine flatwoods. While the main trail is […]