When the Florida Trail was first envisioned in the late 1960s, it was to make it possible for Florida backpackers to enjoy the natural spaces of their own home state instead of traveling up to the Appalachian Trail to go backpacking.
As a result, some of the oldest segments of the trail – Ocala and Suwannee – are among the go-to destinations for backpackers coming to Florida.
While any portion of the Florida Trail can be backpacked – as proven by the growing number of long distance hikers each year – certain portions of the trail are more enjoyable as backpacking trips than others.
These are our top picks for backpacking destinations on the Florida Trail. Discover more in our newest book, Florida Trail Hikes.
TIP: To find a backpacking trip on the Florida Trail that fits the mileage you have the time to do, visit our Find a FLORIDA TRAIL Hike page and use the slider bar to narrow down the range of mileage you wish to do.
Only those sections and/or hikes that fit that range will appear.
Top Linear Backpacking Trips
These are what we consider the best linear segments of the Florida Trail for backpacking. Loops are listed farther down the page. Use the link below to order these by distance.
Florida Trail, Alaqua
12.8 miles. With significant botanical beauty, rugged climbs, and nice campsites, the Alaqua section of the Florida Trail in Eglin Air Force Base is one of the most scenic parts of the trail statewide.
Florida Trail, Apalachicola
77.9 miles. Florida’s largest national forest, Apalachicola is a very lush place, which means soggy feet and spectacular botanical diversity south of Tallahassee.
Florida Trail, Big Cypress South
30.3 miles. Traversing a vast wilderness in the wet wilds of Big Cypress National Preserve, the southernmost segment of the Florida Trail is the toughest backpacking trip in Florida
Florida Trail, Blackwater
45.5 miles. The Blackwater section of the Florida Trail walks you through Atlantic white cedar and longleaf pine forests, pitcher plant bogs and titi swamps en route to the Alabama border.
Florida Trail, Catface
14.2 miles. Climbing to the highest elevations along the Florida Trail, the challenging Catface section traverses hilly terrain along the northern edge of Eglin Air Force Base.
Florida Trail, Econfina Creek
18.4 miles. Winding along rolling hillsides north of Panama City, the Econfina Creek section of the Florida Trail offers a challenging hike with stunning views of its namesake creek.
Florida Trail, Eglin East
41.8 miles. Simultaneously rugged and scenic: that’s the beauty of a backpacking trip across the Alaqua, Catface, and Titi sections of the Florida Trail in Eglin Air Force Base.
Florida Trail, Nokuse
27.7 miles. Spanning from the Choctawhatchee River west to the boundary of Eglin Air Force Base, Nokuse is a compelling backpacker’s destination in the Florida Panhandle.
Florida Trail, Ocala
72.3 miles. The birthplace of the Florida Trail and home of the world’s largest sand pine scrub forest, the Ocala section is Florida’s top backpacking destination
Florida Trail, Orlando
148.0 miles. Spanning from the Ocala National Forest south through the prairies of Osceola County, the Orlando section of the Florida Trail encompasses the eastern suburbs of the Orlando metro
Florida Trail, Suwannee
74.8 miles. Along the Suwannee River, the Florida Trail clings to bluffs and scrambles through ravines for physical challenges and great scenery
Florida Trail, Three Lakes WMA
At Three Lakes WMA / Prairie Lakes Unit, the Florida Trail traverses one of the largest expanses of open prairie in the Southeast, the Kissimmee Prairie.
The comprehensive guidebook to planning section and thru-hikes of the Florida Trail.
FarOut Guides Comprehensive logistics and offline maps for the Florida National Scenic Trail.
Best Florida Trail Loop Hikes
Most of the backpacking loops on Florida’s public lands were designed and built by trail maintainers from the Florida Trail Association.
These were often built in anticipation of routing the trail in that particular direction. Some of these still include a portion of the orange-blazed Florida Trail along a piece of the loop.
Big Oak Trail
The Big Oak Trail is one of the most scenic hikes in North Florida. Much of the hiking parallels the Suwannee and Withlacoochee Rivers, which meet here at a confluence.
Citrus Hiking Trail
39.1 miles. Savor a rugged hike through rolling hills and rocky terrain on one of Florida’s longest backpacking loops when you take on the Citrus Hiking Trail near Inverness
Collier-Seminole Hiking Trail
A wet and wild 6-mile loop into the watery wilderness of the Big Cypress Swamp, the Collier-Seminole Hiking Trail provides a challenging wade into beauty
Florida Trail, Bull Creek WMA
Following a significant tributary to the St. Johns River, the Florida Trail through Bull Creek WMA showcases history and botanical beauty.
Fort Braden Trails
Showcasing bluff forests and deep ravines above Lake Talquin, the Fort Braden Trails at Lake Talquin State Forest offer enough hiking for a weekend in the woods
Hal Scott Preserve
At Hal Scott Preserve, enjoy vast prairies and seepage bogs, the Econ River, and camping under a live oak canopy—all within minutes of the Orlando International Airport
Jonathan Dickinson State Park
One of South Florida’s best backpacking destinations, Jonathan Dickinson State Park encompasses a vast mosaic of ecosystems along the wild and scenic Loxahatchee River
Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park
Enjoy Florida’s own big sky at the only state park in Florida where starry skies fill the horizon and an extensive network of trails – including the Florida Trail – provides access for exploration
Lake Kissimmee State Park
Discover the beauty of the land between the lakes east of Lake Wales while exploring the vast prairies and fern-laden hammocks of Lake Kissimmee State Park
Little Manatee River Trail
Scenery, rugged landscape, and botanical diversity are all important factors for a great Florida hike. You’ll find that on the 6.5-mile Little Manatee River Hiking Trail, one of our long-time favorites.
Lower Wekiva Loop
Explore the Wekiva River and Black Water Creek floodplains on this lengthy loop hike in Seminole State Forest
Myakka Hiking Trail
For immersion in the vast central prairies of the Florida peninsula, the 39-mile Myakka Hiking Trail is a serious backpacking destination in South Florida near Sarasota