In Tate’s Hell State Forest, the High Bluff Coastal Trail leads over relict dunes covered with scrub plants such as Florida rosemary and scrub mint. The trail is partially shaded by a canopy of sand pines.
Note: We understand that the trail system has changed a bit since our last visit. We’ll update this page once we’ve had an opportunity to revisit Carrabelle Beach.
Length: Up to 8.7 miles
Lat-Long: 29.809317, -84.729067 (East Trailhead) 29.809317, -84.729067 (West Trailhead)
Fees / Permits: none
Bug factor: moderate to high
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 East Loop (3.5 miles) and the West Loop (3.5 miles). For a longer hike, walk the perimeter 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. The coastal scrub habitat has 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.