In Tate’s Hell State Forest, the High Bluff Coastal Hiking Trail parallels the Gulf of Mexico through relict dunes topped with scrub plants like Florida rosemary and scrub mint.
A chain of two loops between two trailheads along US 98 between Eastpoint and Carrabelle Beach, it provides some of the easiest-to-access hiking on the Forgotten Coast.
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Length: 8.7 miles in two loops
Trailhead: 29.809317, -84.729067
Address: 2381 West US 98, Carrabelle FL
Fees: $2 per person day use fee
Land manager: Tate’s Hell State Forest
Open dawn to dusk. Leashed dogs permitted.
Picnic table at trailhead. Be cautious of bears as they are known to roam here.
Follow US 98 for 2.7 miles west of Carrabelle, the trailhead is on the right. The second trailhead “West Trailhead” is along US 98 closer to SR 65.
Two loops comprise the trail system: the 3.5-mile East Loop and the 5.5-mile West Loop.
For a longer hike, walk the perimeter, designated as the Orange Loop, for the full 8.7 miles. Since this is a scrub habitat, expect some sand in your shoes.
The trail features a variety of habitats and showcases the rare and unique coastal pine forests of the Gulf of Mexico.
Coastal scrub habitats such as this one have severely declined due to growing population along this once-wild shoreline.
If you take the East Loop, look for a blue-blazed side trail — a 0.1-mile walk to a cat-faced pine with a metal cup used to collect sap for turpentine.
Despite the high ridge, some parts of your hike might be mucky as you draw within sight of bayheads and cypress domes.
You’ll find several benches and a picnic table along the trail, allowing you to sit in the shade of tall sand pines and listen for woodpeckers.
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Leading to a stand of dwarf bald cypress centuries old and less than 15 feet tall, the Kendrick Boardwalk at Tate’s Hell State Forest is one of the weirder botanical spots in the Florida Panhandle
At Fort Gadsden, a gentle walk in the Apalachicola National Forest leads you through the well-interpreted historic site and a pine forest where wildflowers thrive.
14.3 miles. Delving deep into the swampy heart of the Apalachicola National Forest, this section spans some of the gnarliest titi and gum swamps you’ll see outside of Bradwell Bay.