Many people hike a short distance on this interpretive trail and never do the entire loop. Why? The Chain of Lakes Trail leads to one of the more beautiful sandbar beaches on the entire Blackwater River, and it’s a hot spot on weekends.
But a walk on the full loop gives you the big picture of how the Blackwater River evolves over time. After providing a series of scenic overlooks along the river, the trail turns inland to meander along a series of oxbow lakes – now surrounded by floodplain forest – that were once the main channel of the river. It’s a 1.2-mile loop, with a walk through a longleaf pine forest capping off a pleasant ramble.
Length: 1.2 miles
Lat-Long: 30.704400, -86.881167
Type: Three loops
Fees / Permits: state park entrance fee
Bug factor: Moderate
Restroom: Yes, at day use picnic area on the other side of Deaton Bridge
Use insect repellent – mosquitoes do breed in the oxbow lakes. Consider a swim in the river after your hike. The Florida Trail passes this trailhead along the entrance road, connecting the Juniper Creek section with the Hutton Unit section.
From I-10 exit 31, follow SR 87 for 1.3 mi north to US 90, turn right. Continue 5.5 miles east on US 90 to the turnoff at Holt for Deaton Bridge Rd, across from the store. Turn left. Drive 3.2 miles north to the Deaton Bridge parking area. A self-pay fee is required.
The Chain of Lakes Trail is the loop at the lower right. Park at Deaton Bridge or cross Deaton Bridge to reach the trailhead for the trail.