MOST RECENT UPDATE: 10/4/2022
Hurricane Ian packed a wallop across our state last week, leaving many families homeless and many still without power and/or struggling with the aftermath of record high floodwaters in the St. Johns River basin. If you check the link above on Hurricane Ian status, we’ve consolidated what we know about public land closures there. The hurricane directly passed over the Florida Trail in the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes area. Right now, flooding along the St. Johns River – impacting nearly all of the Orlando section – is the biggest hurricane-related problem and most public lands in this region are closed by necessity.
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.
Cumulative updates to
The Florida Trail Guide, Fourth Edition
Jump to a particular trail section
Everglades City experienced a high storm surge that flooded the grocery store, restaurants, and other in-town services some hikers use when headed to the trail in Big Cypress. Call ahead using phone numbers provided in the guidebook to determine if a particular business is open. The preserve itself opened 10/4/22.
The Seminole Reservation is open to hikers. Be sure to have your permit on file before crossing the reservation. Download the most recent version here.
Call ahead to the Big Cypress RV Campground to see if rental cabins are available. Billie Swamp Safari remains closed.. NO TENT CAMPING is available on the reservation. Do not stealth camp. If a cabin stay is not available you must cross the entire reservation (mile 38.3 to mile 57.6) in one go.
North of the reservation, South Florida Water Management District is establishing designated campsites along the levee system that will require free permits in advance for use.
p.36, L-3. As of 11/18/21, a portion of the L-3 levee route is closed during reconstruction of the dike system. An alternate route along a parallel levee is posted on the ground at both ends and detailed in this FTA Notice to Hikers.
Due to expanded closures, we strongly recommend using the EAST side for a thru-hike.
As of 1/11/22, the dike remains closed for construction from mile 94.5 (John Stretch Park) north to roughly mile 97.6. Bean City campsite is open, as is the dike to South Bay trailhead. Roadwalk against traffic along US 27 from John Stretch Park or use Corkscrew Rd from Lake Harbor as an alternate to get around the John Stretch closure. From that point on, it’s smooth sailing up to Nubbin Slough. At Nubbin Slough, it’s necessary to leave the dike and walk up US 441 to the Taylor Creek bridge (2.7 miles) because the land manager has never resolved an outstanding access issue with a landowner along the creek. Total miles closed: 5.8 of 56.6 (10%).
Mile 99.7, South Bay RV Park. We are awaiting clarification as to the confusion regarding different hikers being treated differently camping there. Sites should cost $29.38 including tax with max of three tents per site permitted ON THE GRASS. You should not be asked to pitch on a paved slab. However, their website warns that metal tent stakes (!) are not acceptable. Again, trying to determine why. Keep Torry Island Campground in mind as the next one up the line with hot showers and laundry. Call ahead for a site.
While the trail is ostensibly open from mile 94.5 (John Stretch Park) to Clewiston, with a closure at the Corps offices access point, there is no way to leave the dike once you get to Clewiston. Consider this segment closed until they do. The trail remains closed from Clewiston all the way into Lakeport, past the Lakeport Campsite and the Hiker’s Graveyard. North of Mile 130, the trail is open all the way to Okee-tantie. Restrooms are locked at all parks in Glades County. Total miles closed/inaccessible: 35.6 of 55.8 (64%)
10/4/22: The S-65A lock is open to allow drainage of floodwaters, so hikers cannot cross it from Kissimmee Prairie northbound. All South Florida Water Management District properties along the Kissimmee section – KICCO, No Name Slough, Starvation Slough, Micco Bluff, Chandler Slough, Yates Marsh – are closed pending damage assessment.
10/3/22: Extreme floodwaters in the region due to Hurricane Ian have public lands closed from Three Lakes north to Paisley. When the water recedes, damage will need to be assessed and dealt with. Expect the potential of washed-out bridges and boardwalks.
No updates. 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.
The city of Kissimmee was flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian so do not assume services listed in our guidebook are open. Call ahead.
Holton Creek WMA. CLOSED WEEKDAYS. Timber harvesting near the hunt check station / main entrance. Look for signage. The trail has been temporarily rerouted away from the logging zone onto forest roads. Details from FTA.
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.
OCEAN TO LAKE
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.