Working its way to a sweep of public lands making up the Northwest Florida Greenway, considered one of America’s top biodiversity hot spots, the Florida Trail heads west from the Apalachicola River into the Central Time Zone. West of the paved Blountstown Greenway, it uses connecting roadwalks to tack together sections of footpath in the Chipola River Greenway, Econfina Creek Water Management Area, Pine Log State Forest, and the privately owned Nokuse Plantation.
En route, you’ll marvel at the “Look and Tremble” rapids of the Chipola River and the waterfalls that pour into Econfina Creek, and explore steephead ravines and rolling sandhills whenever the trail makes its way onto public lands.
<< Apalachicola >> Eglin
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HURRICANE MICHAEL IMPACTS In October 2018, Hurricane Michael sliced right through the Central Panhandle, leaving a swath of destruction from Mexico Beach through Blountstown and Marianna. The Florida Trail is officially closed at Altha and Econfina WMA. Extreme wind damage was experienced throughout this region. In portions of the trail that are not closed, use caution due to downed trees and hurricane debris.
FLOODING is frequently a problem in this region, as the trail enters several major floodplains. If you run into flowing water in Pine Log State Forest, turn around. Check flood gauges for the following waterways before tackling the following pieces of trail:
* Chipola River WMA (Altha)
* Econfina Creek WMA
* Choctawhatchee River Section / Nokuse Plantation
In Econfina Creek WMA, many of the designated campsites require a free permit in advance. To obtain one, you must register on the Northwest Florida Water Management District website and select your campsite and date.
Wear a bright orange shirt or vest during hunting seasons in along this section of the trail. Check the FWC website for hunting dates in the following pieces of trail:
* Chipola River WMA (Altha)
*Econfina Creek WMA
*Pine Log State Forest
*Choctawhatchee River WMA (Nokuse)
*Lafayette Creek WMA (Nokuse)
During hunting dates at Pine Log State Forest, hikers may only camp at the Sand Pond Campground (fee).
Hillcrest Baptist Church welcomes hikers to stay with them. They are centrally located along the Chipola Roadwalk. A campsite sign and FNST sign are along the road outside the church. The Panhandle Pioneer Settlement in Blountstown also permits long distance hikers to camp on their property. Stop in at their office for directions as to where to camp.
Wearing a bright shirt or safety vest is a smart idea while tackling the many roadwalks along this section of trail. So is carrying pepper spray to ward off problem dogs.
Connecting neighborhoods, parks, and services within a historic Apalachicola River town, the paved 3.9-mile Blountstown Greenway includes a segment of the Florida Trail
1.7 miles. Following Bauldree Branch to the bluffs of the Chipola River, the Altha section of the Florida Trail is a fabulous destination for spring wildflowers.
8.7 miles. Crossing majestic longleaf pine forests in Nokuse Plantation, the Florida Trail along the Choctawhatchee River also showcases natural features in the river basin between Cypress Creek and Seven Runs.
17.7 miles. Surprisingly rugged and delightfully diverse, the Florida Trail along Econfina Creek traversed ravines, sidehill, and high bluffs above the spring-fed creek.
9.7 miles. Contrasting steephead ravines and sluggish creeks in gum swamps with restoration areas on former sod farms and pine plantations, the Forgotten Creek portion of the Florida Trail in Nokuse surprises with its challenges.
9.3 miles. From a tricky traverse of the floodplain of Lafayette Creek to a roller-coaster of steep dips through wooded ravines, this scenic and surprisingly hilly section of the Florida Trail will give you a serious workout.