Topped with longleaf pine and wiregrass, the undulating landscape at Blackwater River State Forest seems to stretch on forever.
With six campgrounds, seven recreation areas, and more than a dozen trails to choose from, you won’t run out of things to do.
Resources for exploring the area
Disclosure: As authors and affiliates, we receive earnings when you buy these through our links. This helps us provide public information on this website.
Land Manager: Florida State Forests
Address: 11650 Munson Highway, Milton 32570
The ranger station is in Munson on CR 191 just a little south of SR 4. Camping fees are charged at the recreation areas. Some recreation areas charge a day use fee, but access to the forest is otherwise free.
About the Forest
With a half dozen recreation areas and multiple campgrounds, Blackwater River State Forest is a major destination for outdoor recreation.
Careful conservation of habitat means Blackwater River State Forest is a haven for botanical beauty, thanks to its healthy longleaf pine and wiregrass ecosystem.
A patchwork of hundreds of small bogs on seepage slopes and along the edges of creeks makes it possible to find pitcher plants throughout the forest. These carnivorous beauties bloom in April.
Looking for pitcher plants? Stop in at the visitor center in Milton and ask for a map of the pitcher plant bogs.
In early spring, you’ll be surrounded by mountain laurel blooms in white and pink. Atlantic white cedars, distinctive with their whorled bark, rise to incredible heights, and there are longleaf pines too broad to wrap your arms around.
Recreation areas include Bear Lake, Krul, Karick Lake (North and South), and Hurricane Lake (North and South). Each of these has campgrounds and access to hiking trails.
Backpackers have two or three nights worth of hiking the Florida Trail, and equestrians have their own dedicated trail system, the Coldwater Horse Trails.
Paddlers can arrange shuttle services with several Milton-area outfitters for trips down Coldwater Creek, Juniper Creek, and the Blackwater River.
More than 40 miles of the Florida Trail traverse the forest, spanning between the Yellow River basin and the Alabama state line.
For a full immersion into the forest’s botanical wonders, hike the Juniper Creek Trail, a 7.5-mile segment of the Florida Trail paralleling this sand-bottomed creek from Red Rocks to Deaton Bridge.
Established recreation areas provide campgrounds suitable for both tent camping and smaller trailers or RVs. All campsites must be reserved in advance through Reserve America.
Hiking through the Yellow River Ravines section on the Panhandle Trace Hike was a new experience for us all, as it’s a newly opened segment of trail near Milton.
With our switcheroo on the previous day – skipping the burned zone of the Jackson Trail to walk the Juniper Creek Trail back to the campground – Day Four of the Panhandle Trace Hike had us headed northbound for the first time on this trek. Peggy had hikers going in all directions and for different …
Day 3 of the Panhandle Trace Hike, McVay Road to Red Rock Road Trail Head Guest post by Gordy Hawkins, Suncoast Chapter FTA. Photos by Gail Baldwin. Enter into a world of black and white and the continuum of grays in-between. That is what it was like for me the day we walked a recently …
Botanical beauty at Blackwater River State Forest