There is something magical about the Apalachicola River, from its birth in Lake Seminole at the Georgia/Florida border to its broad flow out to the Gulf of Mexico.
In the deeply folded landscapes along its upper shores, ravines host some of the rarest plants in Florida, including remnant populations of Appalachian cove species that migrated south. The tributaries and swamps that feed this basin are home to fascinating plants, including one of Florida’s highest concentrations of pitcher plants around Sumatra.
Communities along the river (north to south) include Chattahoochee, Sneads, Bristol, Blountstown, Wewahitchka, and Apalachicola. The Apalachicola National Forest protects much of the river’s eastern shore south of Bristol.
Trails and Parks along the Apalachicola River
- Angus Gholson Nature Park- Above the Apalachicola River, the community of Chattahoochee hides a natural treasure in its deep ravines—a park named for its native son, botanist Angus Gholson.
- Apalachicola National Forest- The Apalachicola National Forest is the largest National Forest in Florida, sweeping around the southern edge of Tallahassee. It is noted for its botanical beauty.
- Blountstown Greenway- Connecting neighborhoods, parks, and services within a historic Apalachicola River town, the paved 3.9-mile Blountstown Greenway includes a segment of the Florida Trail
- Chapman Botanical Garden- Chapman Botanical Garden honors the memory of Dr. Alvan Wentworth Chapman, a noted botanist who in 1860 published Flora of the United States. Adjoins the Orman House
- Chattahoochee Nature Trails- Chattahoochee Nature Trails system treats hikers to an exploration of botanically-rich habitats along bluffs and ravines near the Apalachicola River and an archaeological site towering over the river's edge.
- Florida Trail, Bristol Roadwalk- 11 miles. One of the narrowest high-speed highways that the Florida Trail follows, CR 12 into Bristol connects the Apalachicola National Forest with the Apalachicola River.
- Fort Gadsden- At Fort Gadsden, a gentle walk in the Apalachicola National Forest leads you through the well-interpreted historic site and a pine forest where wildflowers thrive.
- Garden of Eden Trail- Try one of Florida's toughest day hikes on for size: local legend has it this was the Garden of Eden, and from the lush forests and rare flora along this trek, they might be on to something
- Orman House Historic State Park- Sitting on a high bluff above the Apalachicola River, the Orman House was built by early Apalachicola settler and shipping magnate Thomas Orman in 1838. It is now preserved as Orman House Historic State Park.
- Paddle to Dead Lakes- One of Florida's most unusual and beautiful places to paddle, the Dead Lakes include 6,700 acres of mazy cypress and tupelo swamps in the Chipola River floodplain.
- Three Rivers Lakeview Trail- The Lakeview and Ridge Trails at Three Rivers State Park form a 2 mile loop through a shady hardwood forest on the shores of Lake Seminole, a reservoir formed at the confluence of the rivers that create the Apalachicola River.
- Three Rivers State Park- Hugging the state line with Georgia at Lake Seminole - the reservoir created by the dam where the Flint and Chattahoochee Rivers form the Apalachicola - Three Rivers State Park is a prime getaway for anglers.
- Torreya Hiking Trail- One of the most rugged hikes in Florida, the Torreya Hiking Trail treats you to an scenic landscape of bluffs and ravines to 300 feet above the Apalachicola River.
- Torreya State Park- Perched on a high bluff above the Apalachicola River, Torreya State Park is one of Florida’s original state parks developed by the Civilian Conservations Corps in the 1930s. It's a destination that fulfills many interests, with botanical wonders, geologic anomolies, and historic sites including earthworks from the Civil War and the Gregory House, a plantation home from 1849.
- Weeping Ridge Trail- One of the lesser-heralded delights of Torreya State Park is the Weeping Ridge Trail, which leads to a 25-foot-tall waterfall splashing off the ridge
- Wright Lake Trail- At Wright Lake Recreation Area near Sumatra, a day hiking loop along the western edge of the Apalachicola National Forest features an unusual bridge and numerous pitcher plant bogs