Why build a boardwalk in the middle of one of the most impassible swamps in Florida?
Along the Gulf Coast near Carrabelle, Tate’s Hell is well-known for being a wild place. Its name is derived from the legend of a lost farmer who vanished in the wilderness.
When he found his way out, he exclaimed, “My name is Cebe Tate, and I just came from Hell!”
This boardwalk is there to document one of the stranger natural wonders of North Florida, a stand of dwarf bald cypress centuries old and less than 15 feet tall.
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Length: 0.3 mile round-trip
Trailhead: 29.835818, -84.793065
Land manager: Tate’s Hell State Forest
Open dawn to dusk. Leashed pets welcome.
While it is usually fine when dry, the road to this botanical site may be impassable after a heavy rain.
If the road is wet, use good judgment in choosing to drive here without four-wheel drive. A low clearance vehicle may have trouble if the sand turns to mud.
From SR 65 just north of US 98 between Eastpoint and Carrabelle Beach, follow the signs into Tate’s Hell State Forest High Bluff Tract.
Take North Road past Cash Creek Recreation Area to its intersection with Dry Bridge Rd, turn right. The parking area is along Dry Bridge Rd past 42nd Road, 4.5 miles from SR 65, down a turnoff to your right.
Perhaps the northernmost place you can see “hatrack” cypress in Florida, the haunting beauty of this spot is reminiscent of Rock Ridge in the Everglades and many parts of Big Cypress National Preserve.
A unique bowl of ancient cypress in the middle of bayhead swamps and pine flatwoods, it’s worth the trouble to get there, and an observation tower gives you an eagle’s-eye view of the cypress swamp.
While a short walk up to the top of the observation tower, the view lets you look over a massive sweep of forest beyond the bowl of wizened cypress.
It’s obvious that the timber companies sowed their slash pines right through these amazing hatrack swamps, especially noticeable in winter when the cypress is bleached white against the intruding pines’ green.
See our photos of the Kendrick Boardwalk
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
Discover the beauty of the Forgotten Coast by hiking one or both loops through coastal scrub protected atop high dunes inside Tate’s Hell State Forest
A UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve blankets nearly a quarter million miles of marine basin on Florida’s Forgotten Coast