MOST RECENT UPDATE: 4/7/2023
The following trail updates are keyed to the pages of the FOURTH edition of The Florida Trail Guide. If you own an older edition, we encourage you to get a current edition (third edition) since there were many major trail relocations since 2021. Please print this off as an addendum to your guidebook or make corrections in the book. We won’t mind if you write in it.
Our fourth edition was published November 2021 and replaces the third edition. While we do try to keep these notices up to date, you’ll find the most accurate information about the trail route, services, and conditions inside our Florida Trail app for Far Out Guides.
Both prescribed burns and wildfires have impacted the trail experience throughout Big Cypress, with intermittent closures and a subsequent crisping of surrounding habitats. A major wildfire sparked near 10 Mile Camp occurred early in 2023.
Have your “Hold Harmless” permit on file before crossing the reservation. Download the most recent version here.
Camping has become an issue for crossing the reservation. Billie Swamp Safari has not reopened its attractions or chickees, but the Swamp Water Cafe is now open. Tent camping is no longer permitted at Big Cypress RV Resort, but rental cabins may be available. Call ahead. Pastor Payne at Big Cypress New Testament Baptist Church will allow long distance hikers to camp behind the church but you must contact him in advance. Do not stealth camp within the reservation boundary (mile 38.3 to mile 57.6).
North of the reservation, new designated campsites are in place. South Florida Water Management District requires a free permit, available online, for use.
Mile 66.1: STA 5/6 Campsite. Restrooms, covered picnic tables, hammock hanging posts, pitcher pump.
Mile 82.3: L1-E Campsite. Mowed area for tents adjoining levee along sugar cane field.
Great news for 2023: dike reconstruction is almost complete. Two short closures remain along the FNST around Lake Okeechobee, one of which will likely not be remedied anytime soon: at Nubbin Slough, it’s still necessary to leave the dike and walk up US 441 to the Taylor Creek bridge (2.7 miles) due to an outstanding access issue between the land manager and a landowner along the creek.
The Army Corps of Engineers has an online map of closures on their website.
Mile 99.7, South Bay RV Park. Metal tent stakes are not permitted.
Temporary closure in the Lakeport section between Aruba and Harney Pond Canal.
The bridges over Crabgrass Creek towards Jane Green Campsite have been newly replaced.
The trail has been permanently relocated off Maggie Jones Road leading into Camp La No Che thanks to construction of new trail and a bridge over the creek. Follow the blazes.
As a reminder, during general gun season (fall deer hunting) hikers may only camp at designated campsites and recreation area campgrounds, and may random camp during this period within the bounds of Juniper Prairie Wilderness, north of Jupiter Springs and south of Pats Island trailhead.
Newly established broad sidewalks along US 17 west of Kissimmee make for a safer roadwalk route than Old Tampa Hwy, which parallels the railroad tracks. Rejoin Old Tampa Hwy to walk along a remaining segment of original brick highway after crossing Reedy Creek along US 17.
Devil’s Creek in Withlacoochee State Forest remains a dangerous crossing after a rain. We suspect the massive amount of development going on to the north of the forest near Florida’s Turnpike plays a role in this hydrological change. FTA is still assessing how best and where to bridge the creek.
To be updated.
As a reminder, check river levels before hiking this section as well as water quality reports from Suwannee River Water Management District, as sewage spills in Valdosta have frequently fouled the river as a water source south of the Alapaha River confluence during hiking seasons over the past decade.
A minor reroute has occurred along the northbound approach to Shepherd Spring through the Cathedral of Pines to skirt a now perpetually-muddy coastal area.
To be updated.
To be updated.
2023 updates to Eglin Recreational Permit: purchase in advance for $5 daily or $30 annually. Hiking the Florida Trail? Please see their specifics here. Thru-hikers must call ahead before hiking across Eglin.
OCEAN TO LAKE
A new designated campsite has been added near Cypress Creek along a pond suitable for filtering water.
EASTERN CONTINENTAL TRAIL
In November 2021, FarOut Guides released two new apps featuring trail information collected by us to help you navigate both the Overseas Heritage Trail in the Florida Keys and the Florida ECT Connector from Key Largo to Big Cypress National Preserve. Like our Florida Trail app, these new guides work offline on smartphones and online on tablets and in browsers on your computer.