The move of the Florida Trail to the east side of the Kissimmee River is the longest and most significant trail relocation seen in many years. As it changed in December 2013, the new route is not included in The Florida Trail Guide, so please print these details to replace what is in your book for this section between US 98 at Micco Landing and KICCO. The Florida Trail App contains this new route.
Do NOT use the western Kissimmee River route shown in the guidebook, since it is no longer maintained. Blazes have been removed from portions of the western side of the Kissimmee River along US 98 in order to not lead hikers to the former section of the trail.
28.2, US 98. *Start roadwalk to Starvation Slough* Micco Landing trailhead 0.2W and Micco Landing campsite 0.6N (permit required)
28.6, US 98 & Micco Landing Rd (CR 68). Basinger Community Center w spigot. Cracker Trail Store 1.3E
28.7, Walker Rd straight ahead. Turn west
29.5, highway bridge over stream
30.4, entrance to Basinger Farm
30.7, ditch with water
31.7, farm road to E
33.7, flat dry spot W side of road
34.4, ranch gate to E flanked by palm trees
34.7, orange grove to W
35.5, ranch entrance to E
36.3, Oak Creek trailhead campsite 1.0W at river. Permit required.
36.5, Oak Creek. Access near monitor station
36.6, blue blaze W to oak hammock on public land
36.7, ranch gate to E
37.8, Starvation Slough WMA entrance gate
38.2, culverts over deep inaccessible slough
38.3, Turn north at gate with campsite sign. 0.1W Starvation Slough trailhead with large shelter over picnic tables. No water.
38.7, Starvation Slough campsite. permit required. Picnic shelter. Water 0.5N
39.1, cross sand road
39.2, Starvation Slough. Water crossing
39.6, prairie rim
39.8, live oaks
40.2, oak hammock
40.5, levee. Gate to E
41.5, beautiful oak hammock
41.9, water-filled depression under palms
42.1, beautiful oak hammock
42.5, Cathedral of Palms South
42.7, S-65B Tieback Levee. Campsite (proposed) 0.3W; water from river 0.8W
43.1, natural drainage
43.2, willow marsh to E
43.6, natural drainage under palms
43.7, water from river/slough to W
43.9, follow ranch fence
44.2, cross slough
44.5, narrow ledge between slough and fence
45.0, large live oaks
45.3, broad natural drainage from ranch
45.7, River View campsite (proposed). Water from river 0.2W
46.0, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park south boundary fence *park rules apply*
46.0, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park sign
46.6, crossroads of sand roads. Water from river 0.1 NW
49.5, south end 0.9N high water route
50.9, north end 0.9S high water route
51.2, MM junction. Water from Duck Slough 100′ straight where trail turns right
51.3, Hammock Campsite (designated campsite)
51.4, Edge of Duck Slough
51.6, Boardwalk over Duck Slough in cypress dome
51.9, junction N/S firebreak
52.0, LL junction with Duck Slough Prairie Trail to S
52.5, NN junction with Grasshopper Sparrow Trail to E
52.5, EE junction with Long Hammock Trail to W
52.6, FF junction with River Trail to NW
54.3, HH junction. Join Military Trail heading E
54.5, II junction with McGuire Prairie Trail to N. Continue E.
55.8, rain gauge
57.4, junction JJ: Palmetto Loop. Campsites 0.7S. No water.
59.0, west gate
59.2, Kissimmee Prairie equestrian campground
59.4, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve office. Campground 0.2E
59.7, cross Sevenmile Slough
59.9, junction South Pasture Trail to E. Continue N.
61.1, junction with trail to NE. Continue NW.
61.5, ephemeral pond to E
61.8, junction Five Mile Slough Trail. Cross Fivemile Slough
61.9, palm hammock at Five Mile Slough
64.1, junction Gum Slough and Gum Slough Prairie Trails
64.1, cross Gum Slough on tall culvert
64.2, railroad ties with trail map
64.3, junction Pine Island Slough Trail. Pine Island campsite (proposed) to NE
64.5, cross Pine Island Slough. Seasonally deep water: protect your gear
69.2, Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park north boundary gate
70.6, S-65A lock *lock crossing procedure applies*
71.4, KICCO Grade. Camp Hammock campsite 0.4S. Permit required.
72.3, KICCO Town campsite. Permit required. Water from river
Several 2015 updates regarding the route:
Micco Landing: SFWMD has acquired the land necessary to eliminate the 10 mile Micco Landing roadwalk. Watch for an update to signage and blazing this year near US 98 in Basinger as the new section of trail gets developed.
Starvation Slough: Reroute of beginning of Starvation Slough section onto the access road to the campsite makes it necessary to scale a 6′ locked gate. Section leader says this will be replaced with either a pass-thru or reroute later this year.
There is now a designated Starvation Slough campsite in the Cathedral South area, with picnic table and benches. No water. There is a water source past it down a blue-blaze on the Tieback Levee to the Kissimmee River, about a mile round-trip. Like all campsites along the Kissimmee, a free permit is needed from SFWMD for use.
Some specific notes about this route:
Campsites north and south of Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park are governed by South Florida Water Management District. A free permit is required for camping at all of the campsites listed. Obtain online from South Florida Water Management District or call 561-924-5310, ext. 3333 weekdays 9-4 and ask for Kim Willis.
At Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, it is very easy to get lost thanks to the network of forest roads throughout the park and a lack of signage. Signposts do not exist because they attract raptors, and one of the missions of the park is to prevent the endangered grasshopper sparrow from going extinct. So watch for paver blocks with blazes and instructions along the route, use the detailed data list above, and carry a map. Filtering water from the swamps along Military Trail is not recommended due to the very heavy population of very large alligators.
No random camping is permitted within the state park. Use designated sites only. Check in at the park office to pay for camping ($5 per person primitive camping) and entrance fees ($2) as you pass by that point. Use only the designated campsites of Hammock Campsite, Palmetto Loop, Equestrian Campsite, and the campground ($10 for thru-hikers in designated tenting area), which has laundry facilities (bring your own soap) and hot showers.
You must follow these specific procedures to cross the S-65A lock:
1) Contact Kim Willis at SFWMD in advance of your estimated arrival date at 561-924-5310, ext. 3333 or by email at email@example.com, weekdays 9-4. Ask about current lock operating hours, as there is nowhere to camp on the east side of the lock if you arrive at the lock at a time when the lock tender is not on duty.
2) When you arrive at the lock, sound the buzzer to alert the lock tender. There are signs directing what to do once the buzzer is sounded; eg. hiker will wait at the crossing for lock tender to come and unchain the crossing. Lock tender will re-chain once the hiker is through.
The lock can only be crossed during posted operating hours.
For additional information on this route, contact Section Leader Tom Clements, 772-463-1448 or 772-486-2816. Most importantly: under no circumstances should a hiker try to cross the lock during non-operating hours or hike out of the lock access area via the lock access road. This road is on private property and the hiker is subject to arrest for trespassing.