They hike in Colorado, California, the Appalachians, and Georgia, but it had never occurred to them that a place without mountains might offer more challenges and more to explore.
Florida is unique in that our habitats range from ravines that mimic the foothills of the Appalachians, dense with trillium and columbine and mountain laurel in bloom each spring, to the tangled tropical forests of the Florida Keys with their West Indies flora.
Just an inch of elevation change is all it takes to make a difference in habitat along a Florida trail. There are short trails that show off incredible habitat diversity (Hawks Bluff at Savannas State Park is a prime example) in only a mile. There are also trails where you can spend a day walking through rough palmetto scrub or where you wade hip-deep for seven miles through an eerie swamp forest.
There are 81 distinct biological communities in Florida, and botanists recognize more than 4,200 unique plant species in the state. Florida ranks third in the United States for diversity of flora, and seventh in the United States for biodiversity. We have several world-renowned hot spots for flora, including the Apalachicola River valley, the Lake Wales Ridge, the Big Cypress Swamp, and the Everglades.
Florida’s trails and public lands do a wonderful job of showcasing botanical diversity. And thanks to the variety of length of trails available, you can take the family out on a short stroll or head out on a week-long (or three-month-long, if it suits you) adventure. There’s something for everyone along Florida’s trails!