Managed by the Florida Forest Service, a division of the state Department of Agriculture, the Florida State Forests system encompasses some of Florida’s largest public lands. It all started in the northwest corner of Florida with Pine Log State Forest, established 1936, and Blackwater River State Forest, a sweeping landscape of well-managed longleaf pine and wiregrass habitat.
Some state forests are broken into many tracts, like Withlacoochee State Forest. Many have multiple entrances. Some have entrance fees, for which an annual pass is available. Others charge a fee in developed recreation areas, leaving you to explore the wilderness areas for free.
Florida State Forests
We currently have information on our website for trails and recreation areas in 20 of the 37 state forests in Florida, all of which we have hiked, biked, and/or camped in. These are our overview pages for specific state forests.
More State Forests
Bronson State Forest
Cary State Forest
Etoniah Creek State Forest
Goethe State Forest
Indian Lake State Forest
Jennings State Forest
Lake George State Forest
Lake Talquin State Forest
Picayune Strand State Forest
Favorite State Forest Trails
These trails in Florida State Forests are our favorites. Most of them have unique natural features or fabulous views. Use these as your own starting point for exploration.
The Florida State Forest Trailwalker Program enables hikers to collect rewards for walking in the woods on designated Trailwalker Trails. Many of these include portions of the statewide Florida Trail.
Florida State Forests Articles
Articles about Florida State Forests, including background information on forest history, trip reports about visits to state forests, and wildlife and wildflowers seen in our forests. Scroll through to see all.
Hiking in Florida
New to Florida? Florida is different. If you don’t know much about our outdoors, start here to learn what’s unique about hiking, backpacking, and camping in Florida.
Hiking Safely With Your Dog
While hiking with your dog can be very satisfying, Florida hiking has its own special perils for your best buddy. Here’s a heads-up on what to look for and where it’s best to take a hike.
How To Prepare For A Backpacking Trip
What does a hiker need to spend a week, or a month, or three months on the trail? Here are trail-tested suggestions for backpacking in Florida for trips of a week or more
Bear season in Florida
As Florida black bears become active in late winter and spring, the chances of a bear encounter go up significantly if you leave food unsecured outdoors – whether in your campsite or at home.
Safety During Deer Hunting Season
During hiking seasons in Florida, you are often sharing the trails with hunters. General gun season – deer hunting – is the main hunting season for hikers to be concerned about.
Do Not Feed the Bears
Bear bagging is the art of hanging your food properly out of reach of bears. If you’re a Florida backpacker and haven’t learned how, here’s a short course. Securing your food from bears is required in the Ocala, Osceola, and Apalachicola National Forests.
A Peaceful Donation
A donation of the 4,171 acre Peaceful Horse Ranch on the Peace River was turned down by DEP two years ago. It was just accepted as a future Florida State Forest
Do not feed the bears
“A fed bear is a dead bear,” says Florida Fish & Wildlife. It’s time to make homeowners responsible for keeping trash and food out of reach when they live in bear territory.
Five Star Trails Gainesville & Ocala has launched
While we were roaming the trails of South Florida, a box of books arrived at our home: our author copies of Five Star Trails Gainesville & Ocala! We started working on this guide to the best trails in the Gainesville and Ocala vicinity last fall, nibbling away at hikes at the south end of the …
Two sides of the Yellow River
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.
Hiking the Hills of Hutton
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 …
Through Smoke and Fire on the Jackson Red Ground Trail
Day 3 of the Panhandle Trace Hike, McVay Road to Red Rock Road Trail Head Guest post by Gordy Hawkins, Suncoast Chapter FTA. Photos by Gail Baldwin. Enter into a world of black and white and the continuum of grays in-between. That is what it was like for me the day we walked a recently …