With 39 miles in four loops, the Myakka Hiking Trail at Myakka River State Park in Sarasota is one of the state’s finest destinations for a weekend or long weekend holiday hike. I frequently get asked about places backpackers can go during hunting season – deer season starts very soon throughout Central Florida – and not worry about running into hunters. Myakka River State Park fits the bill.
There are four designated primitive campsites along the route, but you must reserve backcountry space in advance by calling the park (941-361-6511) to ensure there’s room to pitch your tent. A per-person, per-night fee applies on top of the usual entrance fee. It’s a small price to pay for immersing in the beauty of the Florida prairie. I shot these images during a backpacking trip in 2003 – a very wet winter – and they’ll give you an idea of the splendor you can expect along this one-of-a-kind hiking trail.
You’ll find details and maps for backpacking Myakka in my book “50 Hikes in South Florida.”