In operation from the early to mid-1800s, Arcadia Mill utilized Pond Creek, a tributary of the Blackwater River, to generate power for a large sawmill and cotton textile mill.
The landscape was heavily altered for industrial use through the creation of a dam, log flumes, and multiple buildings.
Now it is forested, and the remnants of human use are interpreted along its trails.
The Visitor’s Center and Museum is open two days a week, although many artifact displays are available for viewing on the property, and the trail system is accessible daily.
Disclosure: As authors and affiliates, we receive earnings when you buy these through our links. This helps us provide public information on this website.
Length: 1.4 mile trail network
Trailhead: 30.613299, -87.083733
Address: 5709 Mill Pond Lane, Milton
Fees: Trails are free. Museum $6.
Restrooms: At the visitor center.
Land manager: University of West Florida Historic Trust
Trails available seven days a week, from sunrise to sunset. Visitor center open Friday and Saturday 10-4.
From downtown Milton, follow US 90 west for 3 miles to Anna Simpson Rd, just past Pensacola State College. Turn right. Continue 0.6 mile to Mill Pond R, which leads to the parking area at the historic site.
Beginning at a uniquely decorated entrance, a pair of signs flank the trailhead with detailed historic information about the area.
Following a boardwalk as it curves to the right under a shady canopy, turn left at the first intersection, crossing Pond Creek on a sturdy metal bridge.
Illustrated signs mounted to the boardwalk handrails describe visible remnants of earthworks constructed for the mill complex.
Heading northward, the walkway crosses old log flumes while paralleling remaining sections of the Arcadia Dam.
The boardwalk ends at 0.9 mile, where a sandy trail leads further into the forest. A tangle of exposed roots crosses the pathway where another flume once cut through to the right.
Green blazes lead eastward from this point, weaving along an odd 0.2 mile loop through young cedar trees and various shrubs.
Returning to the main trail, a loop to the left hooks through a section of mixed hardwoods for 0.1 mile before crossing the main trail again onto a longer 0.2 mile loop with similar landscapes.
At the end of the second loop, turn right, following the trail a short distance to the end, where a bench offers a resting spot in dappled sunlight.
Head south on the main trail for 0.4 mile, crossing the Pond Creek bridge before turning left onto a boardwalk leading to the mill site.
The elevated walkway leads through an impressively robust secondary forest growing around the archaeological remains.
A series of signs provide information about the area, from its natural features to the purpose of the structures that stood here over a century ago.
The boardwalk circles the complex, passing an outflow from the mill to the creek. At the end of the loop, retrace steps along the path for a tenth of a mile back to the trailhead.
A virtual walk through Arcadia Mill
See our photos from Arcadia Mill
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.