Follow CR 12 south from SR 20 in Bristol to discover the Apalachee Savannas Scenic Byway, a winding stretch of road in a very rural and wild landscape.
It weaves through expansive wet flatwoods and open pine savannas between the northern edge of the Apalachicola National Forest near Camel Lake down to SR 65 in Sumatra.
Resources for exploring the area
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Location: Bristol to Sumatra
Distance: 32 miles
Land manager: National Forests in Florida, Apalachicola Ranger District
Open 24 hours. Leashed pets welcome. No restrictions as to where you can stop or walk unless posted.
You may pull off anywhere you like along the byway, but pay heed to whether the ground is swampy. Cell service is minimal to non-existent along the route.
From SR 20 in Bristol, follow CR 12 south past the Savannah trailhead and turnoff to Camel Lake to the right-hand turn onto the byway.
About the Byway
From your car, you’ll see the expanses of grassy pine savannas and their colorful wildflowers.
In April, the pitcher plants put on quite a show with their rubbery red and yellow blooms, but the summer wildflowers are spectacular here as well.
If you want to explore the surrounding habitats on foot – which is the best way to see its wildflower bounty – there are no marked pulloffs or trails.
It’s up to you to spot a pretty place and take the time to wander into it.
Carnivorous plants dominate the bogs, with butterwort, bladderwort, sundews, and pitcher plants sharing the bounty of insects.
The highway is all within the Apalachicola National Forest, so you are welcome to pull off on the shoulder of the road or drive down any of the forest roads and find a place to park.
Keep in mind that there are many boggy habitats here, so make sure you park on firm ground.
Learn more about the Apalachicola National Forest
See our photos of the Apalachee Savannas
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
5.3 miles. Wet feet are expected on this traverse of the pine savannas along the edges of Johnson Juniper Swamp in the Apalachicola National Forest, where careful inspection along the Florida Trail yields a bounty of carnivorous plants.
10.3 miles. Broadening your perspective on Florida’s largest national forest, the Florida Trail east of Camel Lake offers an ever-shifting focus from macro to landscape, showcasing one of the most habitat-diverse parts of the Apalachicola National Forest.
By itself, the Trail of Lakes is a 3.9-mile blue blazed connector between two portions of the Florida Trail around Camel Lake, a soggy, boggy walk in the Apalachicola National Forest. You can use the Florida Trail to create this 9.5 mile loop