Exploring Blackwater River State Forest
Topped with longleaf pine and wiregrass, the undulating landscape 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.
Campers and hikers will want to head for the recreation areas: Bear Lake, Krul, Karick Lake (North and South), and Hurricane Lake (North and South). Campsites must now be reserved through Reserve America.
Backpackers have two or three nights worth of hiking the Florida Trail, equestrians have their own dedicated trail system – the Coldwater Horse Trails – and paddlers can arrange shuttle services with several Milton-area outfitters for trips down Coldwater Creek, Juniper Creek, and the Blackwater River.
Land Manager: Florida Forestry Service
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.
Blackwater River State Forest is a haven for botanical beauty, thanks to its healthy longleaf pine and wiregrass ecosystem. Here’s a peek.
Looking for pitcher plants? Stop in at the visitor center in Milton and ask for a map of the pitcher plant bogs. 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.
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. 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.
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 …
Florida Trail, Blackwater
Explore the wilds of Blackwater River State Forest by backpacking 45 miles on an official Florida Trail segment spanning from south of Harold to the Alabama State Line.