A small rural community on the eastern bluffs of the Apalachicola River, Bristol is the northwest gateway to the Apalachicola National Forest.
The county seat of Liberty County, Bristol has a compact, walkable downtown. Immediately to its south is the vast Apalachicola National Forest, which extends an hour’s drive south and southeast. To the north of Bristol, you’ll find conservation lands along the Apalachicola River Bluffs, including Torreya State Park and lands managed by The Nature Conservancy.
The Florida Trail passes right through Bristol as it heads west over the big Trammel Bridge over the Apalachicola River into the Central Time Zone. On the other side of the bridge is Blountstown, another rural river community.
Here’s what it looks like to walk into and through Bristol along the Florida Trail route, a roadwalk up CR 12 to SR 20 and the Apalachicola River.
Trails and Parks near Bristol
- Apalachee Savannas Scenic Byway- In the Apalachicola National Forest, the Apalachee Savannas Scenic Byway is a winding stretch of scenic road through expansive wet flatwoods and open pine savannas
- Apalachicola National Forest- The Apalachicola National Forest is the largest National Forest in Florida, sweeping around the southern edge of Tallahassee. It is noted for its botanical beauty.
- Blountstown Greenway- Connecting neighborhoods, parks, and services within a historic Apalachicola River town, the paved 3.9-mile Blountstown Greenway includes a segment of the Florida Trail
- Camel Lake Loop- Circle a cypress lined pond in the Apalachicola National Forest at Camel Lake Recreation Area on the Camel Lake Loop, enjoying scenic views and a walk through the pine forest
- Florida Trail, Bristol Roadwalk- 11 miles. One of the narrowest high-speed highways that the Florida Trail follows, CR 12 into Bristol connects the Apalachicola National Forest with the Apalachicola River.
- Florida Trail, Camel Lake to Savannah- 5.3 miles. Wet feet are expected on this traverse of the pine savannas along the edges of Johnson Juniper Swamp in the Apalachicola National Forest, where careful inspection along the Florida Trail yields a bounty of carnivorous plants.
- Florida Trail, Jewel to Vilas- 14.3 miles. Delving deep into the swampy heart of the Apalachicola National Forest, this section spans some of the gnarliest titi and gum swamps you'll see outside of Bradwell Bay.
- Florida Trail, Porter Lake to Jewel- 4.6 miles. A deep immersion in pine flatwoods and titi swamps awaits along this segment of the Florida Trail, which uses many old forest roads to cross tributaries draining into the Ochlockonee River.
- Florida Trail, Vilas to Camel Lake- 10.3 miles. Broadening your perspective on Florida's largest national forest, the Florida Trail east of Camel Lake offers an ever-shifting focus from macro to landscape, showcasing one of the most habitat-diverse parts of the Apalachicola National Forest.
- Garden of Eden Trail- Try one of Florida's toughest day hikes on for size: local legend has it this was the Garden of Eden, and from the lush forests and rare flora along this trek, they might be on to something
- Torreya Hiking Trail- One of the most rugged hikes in Florida, the Torreya Hiking Trail treats you to an scenic landscape of bluffs and ravines to 300 feet above the Apalachicola River.
- Torreya State Park- Perched on a high bluff above the Apalachicola River, Torreya State Park is one of Florida’s original state parks developed by the Civilian Conservations Corps in the 1930s. It's a destination that fulfills many interests, with botanical wonders, geologic anomolies, and historic sites including earthworks from the Civil War and the Gregory House, a plantation home from 1849.
- Trail of Lakes- By itself, the Trail of Lakes is a 3.9-mile blue blazed connector between two portions of the Florida Trail around Camel Lake, a soggy, boggy walk in the Apalachicola National Forest. You can use the Florida Trail to create this 9.5 mile loop
- Weeping Ridge Trail- One of the lesser-heralded delights of Torreya State Park is the Weeping Ridge Trail, which leads to a 25-foot-tall waterfall splashing off the ridge