A historic North Florida city along the St. Johns River, Palatka is located just a few miles east of the Florida Trail and a fifteen minute drive from the Ocala National Forest, providing a great gateway to outdoor adventures.
Trails and Parks near Palatka
- Cross Florida Greenway - Stretching 90 miles from the St. Johns River near Palatka to the Gulf of Mexico, the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway is a mile-wide recreational corridor with hiking, biking, and equestrian trails as well as paddling and boating access.
- Davenport Landing Trail - Deep in the Ocala National Forest, the Davenport Landing Trail leads you on a scenic loop to a historic landing and archaeological site along the Ocklawaha River.
- Dunns Creek State Park - Walking along a sand road crunching oak leaves underfoot like cornflakes, you'd hardly believe Dunns Creek State Park is along a bend in the St. Johns River. But it's easy to miss the state's biggest river when you have 6,200 acres to roam.
- Dunns Creek Yellow Trail - Dunns Creek State Park protects sandhills and scrub along a sharp bend in the St. Johns River and is home to the rare Etonia rosemary (Conradina etonia) along its trail system.
- Florida Trail, Buckman Lock to SR 20 - 7.3 miles. A rough and swampy connector through timber lands, the Florida Trail between Buckman Lock and SR 20 west of Palatka is an often muddy ramble down old forest roads.
- Florida Trail, Etoniah West - On this 3.5-mile segment of the Florida Trail in Etoniah State Forest, you'll encounter the rare Etonia rosemary and a number of sinkholes in the pine forests and scrub
- Florida Trail, Lake Delancy to Rodman - 6.7 miles. Experience a sense of perspective on a piece of the Florida Trail traversing rolling hills topped with a majestic forest of longleaf pines
- Florida Trail, Northeast Florida - 123 miles. Showcasing the best public lands, the Florida Trail walks you into the past between Palatka and Osceola National Forest, through rural farms and timber lands.
- Florida Trail, Ocala - 72.3 miles. The birthplace of the Florida Trail and home of the world’s largest sand pine scrub forest, the Ocala section is Florida’s top backpacking destination
- Florida Trail, Rice Creek - Home of ancient cypress trees and the remains of a 1700s rice plantation, Rice Creek Conservation Area has a fascinating loop trail along the statewide Florida Trail
- Florida Trail, Rodman to Buckman Lock - 6.5 miles. Providing views across the Cross Florida Barge Canal from a high levee, the Florida Trail between Rodman and Buckman Lock mainly follows the Cross Florida Greenway
- John’s Landing Trail - Following a series of forest roads through the heart of Welaka State Forest, the John's Landing Trail has several scenic spots along its 4.3-mile loop, from bluffs along the St. Johns River to shimmering lily-covered flatwoods ponds.
- Mud Spring Trail - At Mud Spring, mud isn't what you'll see in the gently rounded basin that cradles an underwater garden. This glassy natural pool is the payoff halfway around a 1.7-mile hike that is one of the highlights of Welaka State Forest.
- Murphy Creek Conservation Area - With hiking in scrubby flatwoods and sandhills above forested slopes draining to Murphy Creek, as well as on Murphy Island in the St. Johns River, this water management preserve provides two places to explore.
- Ocala National Forest - Established in 1908 as the first National Forest east of the Mississippi, the Ocala National Forest is a mecca for hikers and campers, and the birthplace of the Florida Trail
- Palatka Riverfront Park - Recently re-imagined to showcase the beauty of the St. Johns River, Palatka Riverfront Park offers a quarter-mile riverfront walk with panoramic views.
- Palatka to St. Augustine Trail - Connecting two of North Florida's most historic cities, the Palatka to St. Augustine Trail follows the route of Henry Flagler's East Coast Railway through rural farming communities
- Palatka Water Works - On the grounds of the Water Works Environmental Education Center, explore the historic Palatka Water Works and a short interpretive trail dedicated to William Bartram's travels as Puc Puggy, the Flower Hunter.
- Palatka-Lake Butler Trail - With a corridor spanning nearly 50 miles through North Florida, the Palatka-Lake Butler State Trail provides paved trail for riders and an unpaved corridor used by the Florida Trail
- Ravine Gardens Hiking Trails - A steeply sloped ravine. Tunnels of azaleas. Bubbling springs. Two swaying suspension bridges. That's what makes the loop at Ravine Gardens State Park so much fun.
- Ravine Gardens State Park - Known best for its hillsides of blooming azaleas each February, Ravine Gardens State Park melds historic planted public gardens with the intriguing setting of a deep steephead ravine above the St. Johns River in Palatka.
- St. Johns River Center - A destination for environmental education with a dash of regional history, the St. Johns River Center in downtown Palatka tells the story of Florida's longest and most storied river.
- Tanglewyld Nature Park - Perched on a bluff above the St. Johns River north of Palatka, Tanglewyld Nature Park is a patch of public land along the horseshoe bend that River Road follows through Bostwick.
- Welaka State Forest - Welaka State Forest protects more than four miles of deeply forested waterfront on the St. Johns River
- William Bartram St. Johns River Loop - Discover the beauty of Welaka State Forest on a 5 mile footpath that winds along ecotones and hugs the bluffs of the St. Johns River to showcase the natural wonders that botanist William Bartram documented in 1774.
- National Forests in Florida Implement New Fees Jul 2019 - Effective July 26, 2019, fees go up at many National Forest campgrounds, boat ramps, and recreation areas
- Paddling the Bartram Trail in Welaka Apr 2019 - Learning how botanists William and John Bartram traveled along the St. Johns River in the 1700s, I followed an experienced river guide for a look at part of the Bartram National Recreation Trail from the water on our Bartram Adventure Tour in Palatka.
- Friends in the Forest Apr 2013 - We met Ruth at the Florida Trail Association Conference in March and spent time hiking with her on the Panhandle Trace. At both events, she invited us to come hike in her backyard and visit. With five hikes left for Five Star Trails Gainesville and Ocala, we headed to North Gainesville, staying at the Best …
- Hiking Buckman Lock to Rodman Dam Jan 2009 - Following the Florida Trail between Buckman Lock and the Rodman Recreation Area means walking down a levee along an orphaned section of the Cross Florida Barge Canal for most of the hike.
- OGT Palatka Visitor Center closed Nov 2008 - The Office of Greenways and Trails quietly closed their Visitor Center at Buckman Lock, near the north end of the Cross Florida Greenway in Palatka, for budget savings.