Visiting Blackwater River State Forest

Activities in Blackwater River State Forest, northeast of Pensacola.

Bear Lake Trail

Bear Lake

At Blackwater River State Forest, each of the recreation areas offers access to hiking, and popular Bear Lake is no exception. A 4-mile trail loops around this impounded reservoir, which flows into Sweetwater Creek.


FT Crestview

A Florida Trail Gateway Community – where hikers walk right through the historic downtown – Crestview is located on a high ridge and receives a high amount of rainfall each year.

Florida Trail, Blackwater

FT Blackwater

43.1 miles. Branching off the Eglin section east of Milton, the Blackwater section provides an alternate for hikers to immerse in the beauty of Blackwater River State Forest. Portions of three trails – Juniper Creek Trail, Jackson Red Ground Trail, and Wiregrass Trail – make up the Florida Trail, which at this terminus reaches the Alabama border to connect with the larger Eastern Continental Trail.

Florida Trail, Juniper Creek

Florida Trail, Juniper Creek

The Florida Trail along Juniper Creek (also known as the Juniper Creek Trail, Blackwater River State Forest) is a gorgeous place to explore in springtime, when mountain laurel blooms in both pink and white and the dogwoods put on a show. There are seepage slope bogs where pitcher plants look pretty as well. This is […]

Following the Juniper Creek Trail


Day 3 of the Panhandle Trace Hike Yesterday, while being shuttled back to camp, we drove through an area that was still burning. The forest was black and charred, filled with thick smoke. As we drove past, we watched for small flames still brightly burning. Our first thought was why would the forest service do […]

Hiking the Hills of Hutton


With our switcheroo on the previous day – skipping the burned zone of the Jackson Trail to walk the Juniper Creek Trail back to the campground – Day Four of the Panhandle Trace Hike had us headed northbound for the first time on this trek. Peggy had hikers going in all directions and for different […]

In the Land of Tall Pines

Wiregrass Trail rimmed with sand along the Blackwater River

Day Two of the Panhandle Trace Hike started off where we’d left the trail the day before, at Kennedy Bridge. After we dropped off our cars at the end point for the hike, McVay Road, Peggy, Helen, and other members of the Western Gate Chapter shuttled us to the starting point. We asked how long […]

Jackson Red Ground Trail

Jackson Red Ground Trail

Connecting Karick Lake Recreation Area with the Red Rocks area of Blackwater River State Forest, the Jackson Red Ground Trail follows the path taken by General Andrew Jackson and his 1,200 troops in 1818 as they marched towards Pensacola from Apalachicola. Jackson had just received orders to be in charge of the “Indian Removal” from […]



Known as Florida’s Canoe Capital thanks to the rivers and creeks of Blackwater River State Forest, Milton is a major destination for outdoor recreation.


Big Lagoon

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.