Best known as the location of Florida Caverns State Park, Marianna is one of the larger communities in Florida’s Central Panhandle region along I-10 near the Alabama border.
This area is slowly healing after the devestation of Hurricane Michael in October 2018. Its parks and forests will never look quite the same. But there are many public lands to explore, and water-lovers will appreciate the beauty of Jackson Blue Spring, open seasonally, and Merritts Mill Pond. The underground wonders of Florida Caverns were not affected by hurricane damage, although the park no longer is home to a lush forest.
Trails and Parks near Marianna
- Angus Gholson Nature Park - Above the Apalachicola River, the community of Chattahoochee hides a natural treasure in its deep ravines—a park named for its native son, botanist Angus Gholson.
- Baltzell Spring - Made up of liquid pools of beauty on the edge of Florida Caverns State Park, Baltzell Spring is a compelling destination for spring hunters along the Chipola River in Marianna.
- Blue Springs Recreation Area - With a developed swimming area surrounding a first-magnitude spring, Blue Springs Recreation Area is a liquid playground in hues of blue, a broad open basin pouring forth a spring run with a dozen more major springs along its length.
- Caverns Trail System - Most people come to see the stalactites and stalagmites at Florida’s only show cave. But the hiking’s even weirder at Florida Caverns State Park, home of Florida's only hiking trail through a cave.
- Econfina Nature Trail - On the Econfina Nature Trail, discover rugged climbs, steep drop-offs, bubbling springs, and deep crevices into the earth as you walk between two major springs where you can swim.
- Falling Waters Sinkhole Trail - Iconic as the home of Florida’s tallest waterfall, Falling Waters State Park is a showcase for Florida geology just south of I-10 in Chipley. Follow the Sinkhole Trail to see the waterfall and some very deep sinkholes.
- Falling Waters State Park - Geology is the focus of Falling Waters State Park, which sits atop a tall ridge. The cascade plunges more than 70 feet into a cylindrical sinkhole lined with ferns and mosses, and the observation platform is about a third of the way down.
- Florida Caverns State Park - A dip into Florida’s only show cave at Florida Caverns State Park brings on an instant sense of cool. Opened in Marianna in the 1930s by the hardworking Civilian Conservation Corps, the tour route wraps through more than a dozen rooms with their own distinct and colorful landscapes.
- Florida Trail, Altha - CLOSED 1.7 miles. Following Bauldree Branch to the bluffs of the Chipola River, the Altha section of the Florida Trail is a fabulous destination for spring wildflowers.
- Florida Trail, Central Panhandle - 99.3 miles. West of the Apalachicola River, the Florida Trail stitches a series of public lands together along the corridor of the Northwest Florida Greenway.
- Florida Trail, Econfina Creek - CLOSED. 17.7 miles. Surprisingly rugged and delightfully diverse, the Florida Trail along Econfina Creek traversed ravines, sidehill, and high bluffs above the spring-fed creek.
- Garden of Eden Trail - Try one of Florida's toughest day hikes on for size: local legend has it this was the Garden of Eden, and from the lush forests and rare flora along this trek, they might be on to something
- Hinson Trail - Circling Hinson Conservation and Recreation in Marianna, the Hinson Trail offers rugged hiking, scenic views, and historic sites along its 4 mile circuit.
- Merritt’s Mill Pond - Fed by first-magnitude Jackson Blue Spring and nearly a dozen smaller springs, Merritt's Mill Pond is a waterway unlike any other in Florida, its unusual hues trapped between rocky slopes and edged with moss-draped cypress trees.
- Spring Creek Park - At Spring Creek Park in Marianna, a gentle boardwalk leads down to views along the crystalline waters of Spring Creek.
- Three Rivers Lakeview Trail - The Lakeview and Ridge Trails at Three Rivers State Park form a 2 mile loop through a shady hardwood forest on the shores of Lake Seminole, a reservoir formed at the confluence of the rivers that create the Apalachicola River.
- Three Rivers State Park - Hugging the state line with Georgia at Lake Seminole - the reservoir created by the dam where the Flint and Chattahoochee Rivers form the Apalachicola - Three Rivers State Park is a prime getaway for anglers.
- Torreya Hiking Trail - One of the most rugged hikes in Florida, the Torreya Hiking Trail treats you to an scenic landscape of bluffs and ravines to 300 feet above the Apalachicola River.
- Torreya State Park - Perched on a high bluff above the Apalachicola River, Torreya State Park is one of Florida’s original state parks developed by the Civilian Conservations Corps in the 1930s. It's a destination that fulfills many interests, with botanical wonders, geologic anomolies, and historic sites including earthworks from the Civil War and the Gregory House, a plantation home from 1849.
- Weeping Ridge Trail - One of the lesser-heralded delights of Torreya State Park is the Weeping Ridge Trail, which leads to a 25-foot-tall waterfall splashing off the ridge
More near Marianna
- Spring hopping around Tallahassee (Sep 2017) - Between Madison and Marianna and across Wakulla County, explore a colorful collection of natural springs for swimming and snorkeling, all within an hour of Tallahassee.
- Boulders and blossoms at Florida Caverns (Mar 2017) - Looking for a compelling wildflower walk? One of Florida's showiest parades of wildflowers clings to the bluffs at Florida Caverns State Park.
- A ramble on the new Hinson Trail (Apr 2013) - A ramble along the newly opened Hinson Trail, a loop trail system on the southern edge of Marianna along the Chipola River Greenway - scenic, rugged, unusual, and historic.
- Calhoun, Chipola, and the Altha Trail (Apr 2013) - About a decade ago, I was in Blountstown for the grand opening of the brand-new Blountstown Greenway, a project that, it seemed, the whole town rallied around. They showed up in droves for the grand opening to celebrate the first-ever public pathway in Calhoun County, one of Florida’s more rural spots about an hour west …
- Little Campsite by the Chipola (Apr 2013) - Rambling northwest along the backroads of rural Florida, following Sandy’s directions, we arrived in Blountstown just before dinner. There was still enough daylight to take a wander down the Blountstown Greenway section of the Florida Trail to check on changes for the new Florida Trail guide. Grabbing salads from the local Subway, we drove to …
- Westy Rambles West (Apr 2013) - We're in the thick of our third road trip with Primrose, our 82 Westy, this time hiking the trails of Florida's Panhandle. It's a good bit different than home: hilly!
- Hinson Trails completed (May 2012) - Four trails, four miles, 900 volunteer hours: the efforts of the Panhandle Chapter of the Florida Trail Association, including coordination of F-Troop trail crews, have led to a new place to hike in Northwest Florida.
- Hinson Preserve a hiker’s hideaway (Jan 2012) - A long entrance road belies the delights of Hinson Conservation & Recreation Area, the newest place for hikers to play in Marianna. Facilitated by the Office of Greenways and Trails, the preserve, just south of downtown along SR 71, encompasses a sweep of former pastureland and pine plantations, pecan groves and upland forest. On the …