The Florida Trail is a subset of a series of trails used to create the Eastern Continental Trail, a hiking route spanning the entire East Coast. First hiked by John Brinda, then popularized by Sunny “Nimblewill Nomad” Eberhardt in his book Ten Million Steps, it is a journey on foot of more than 4,000 miles, and it begins right here in Florida.
The route includes:
*The Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail
*The South Dade Greenway
*Roadwalk and levee along the Tamiami Trail
*Roadwalk along Loop Road in Big Cypress National Preserve
*Roberts Lake Trail (formerly the Florida Trail, Loop Road to Oasis)
*Florida Trail to the Alabama border via the Blackwater section
*Alabama Trail, Conecuh National Forest
*Alabama ECT Roadwalk
*Benton MacKaye Trail
*International Appalachian Trail, Maine
*International Appalachian Trail, Canada
Florida’s Eastern Continental Trail
All ECT hikers start their hike at the Southernmost Point in the United States, a marker found in Key West at the southernmost spot with public access.
From Key West, the route follows the The Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail, a paved bike path and bike route through the Florida Keys. A roadwalk along US 1 from Key Largo to the Southern Glades Trail gets you to the mainland.
It is 206.3 miles between the Southernmost Point in Key West to the Southern Terminus of the Florida Trail at Oasis Visitor Center.
The components of the ECT in Florida are:
* 109.2 miles on the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail (bike path and roadwalks)
* 9.9 miles along US 1 (roadwalk)
* 35 miles on the South Dade Greenway (levees, unpaved)
* 10.4 miles along SW 136th St, Krome Ave, and US 41 to Everglades WMA (roadwalk)
* 10.3 miles in Everglades & Francis Taylor WMA (levees, unpaved)
* 23.3 miles along US 41 and Loop Rd to the Florida Trail (roadwalk)
* 8.2 miles along the Roberts Lake Trail (former Florida Trail) to the Oasis Visitor Center (footpath)
* 1,048.3 miles along the Florida Trail (footpath with ~150 miles of roadwalks)
* 45.4 miles along the Blackwater section of the Florida Trail (footpath)
Camping and Hostels
Selected camping and hostels south of the Florida Trail.
MM 0 Seashell Motel and Key West Hostel, 305-296-5719, 718 South St
MM 4 Leo’s Campground, 305-296-5260, 5236 Suncrest Rd
MM 5 Boyd’s Campground, 305-294-1465, 6401 Maloney Ave
MM 34 Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge & Campground, 305-872-2351, 33000 Overseas Hwy
MM 38 Bahia Honda State Park, 305-872-2353, 36850 Overseas Highway
MM 61 Jolly Roger RV Park, 305-289-0404, 59275 Overseas Hwy
MM 102 Key Largo Campground, 305-451-1431, 101551 Overseas Hwy
MM 103 Pennekamp State Park, 305-451-6300, 102601 Overseas Hwy
MM 104 Kings Kamp RV Park, 305-451-0010, 103620 Overseas Hwy
MM 132 Hoosville Hostel, 305-363-4644, Florida City (7.8E of trail)
It’s smart to reserve hostels / campsites / hotels in this area in advance, since winter is the busy season in the Florida Keys. The first two weeks of December have the cheapest rates for hotels in the Keys. AirBnB is a good option as well.
Stealth camping isn’t recommended as what few forested areas you encounter are dense with poisonwood, a toxic tree with sap far more irritating than poison ivy.
The Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail is a 109-mile trail the length of the Florida Keys, a island-hopping slice of tropical paradise: part bike path, part road ride.