Mist rising off Sand Pond in morning—a must-see, making the cypress-lined lake ever so ghostly in the middle of Florida’s first state forest, Pine Log. From the Sand Pond trailhead, which starts near the campground, three hiking trails offer different looks at the diversity of this forest.
Length: Up to 11.5 miles
Lat-Long: 30.429083, -85.881850
Type: Loop and linear
Fees / Permits: $2 per person
Difficulty: easy to moderate
Bug factor: low to moderate
Restroom: yes, at Sand Pond trailhead
From the intersection of SR 20 and SR 79 in Ebro, drive south on SR 79 to Environmental Road. Turn right and follow it to the recreation area entrance on the right. Pay the entrance fee and park at the Sand Pond trailhead. Walk down to the kiosk next to the pond to access the trail system.
A disconnected linear segment of the Florida Trail slices through the park, south of SR 20, with two loop trails intersecting it—the 2-mile Campground Loop, which loops Sand Pond and the surrounding sandhills, and the 5-mile Tiemann Loop, open to hiking and bicycling, which fans deeper out into mixed pine plantation, flatwoods, sandhills, and titi swamp to offer a broader range of habitat diversity to explore.
The Campground Loop has red blazes, and the Tiemann Trail is blue blazed. You can access these and the Florida Trail from the Sand Pond Trailhead at Sand Pond. For great spring wildflowers and birding, head west on the Florida Trail to reach the pond beyond Sand Pond. There are benches along both loop trails.
Two other trail systems are accessible off SR 79: the 11.5 mile Old Sawmill Horse Trail, and the Crooked Creek Trails (primarily for off-road biking) – of 4.5 and 9 miles.