Where can South Florida backpackers head during deer hunting season? Myakka River State Park offers three or four days in more than 58 square miles of prairie and oak hammocks with no worries about wearing orange.
There are six designated primitive campsites along the route, two added at the far end of the chain of loops since I backpacked here myself.
That speaks to the popularity of getting out into the backcountry east of Sarasota. Most of South Florida’s backpacking is along the Florida Trail, where deer hunting affects your plans.
To backpack at Myakka River State Park, you must reserve your campsites in advance. Call 941-361-6511 once you’ve decided on when to go. It costs $5 per night to camp.
It’s a small price to pay for immersing in the beauty of the Florida prairie. I shot these images on slide film during a backpacking trip in 2003. We had a very wet winter that year.
Although they’re old, they’ll give you an idea of the wide open spaces you can expect along this one-of-a-kind hiking trail. You can download a map through the link for the trail, below.
You’ll find details and maps for backpacking Myakka in my book 50 Hikes in South Florida. (Amazon affiliate link)
With tall waving grasses, saw palmetto, and the sound of birds, Myakka River State Park is Florida’s Big Sky country, blanketing more than 28,000 acres east of Sarasota