A few years ago, I had the honor of walking a section of the Florida Trail at Clearwater Lake with the trail’s founder, Jim Kern, to celebrate the beginning of the Florida Trail at this spot in 1966. As we walked, Jim said “we blazed the trail on the other side of the lake.”
We had our ceremony along the current FT route, but his comment got me thinking about what became of that original scouting and blazing trip. Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to explore around Clearwater Lake for myself and discovered a pretty 1.3 mile loop that may, or may not, be the original route of the Florida Trail. Either way, it’s a nice getaway for a picnic, easy hike, and swim at this recreation area on the southern edge of the Ocala National Forest.