Bear bagging is the art of hanging your food properly out of reach of bears. If you’re a Florida backpacker and haven’t learned how, here’s a short course. Securing your food from bears is required in the Ocala, Osceola, and Apalachicola National Forests.
Osceola National Forest
The smallest of Florida's national forests, the Osceola National Forest carries the weight of history hidden in its dense stands of longleaf pine.
Starting at the westbound Sanderson rest area along I-10, the Fanny Bay Trail leads you through pine flatwoods into a cypress swamp with ancient cypresses
There are many opportunities for Boy Scouts to complete hiking and backpacking merit badges and 50-miler awards along the Florida Trail; this list will start you planning your next trip.
In the Osceola National Forest, this short loop adjacent to Olustee Battlefield is one of the easiest places in the state to see red-cockaded woodpeckers
123 miles. The sweep of trail past Palatka towards Lake Butler involves some private timberlands and a string of public lands connected by short roadwalks, including Rice Creek Conservation Area, Etoniah State Forest, Gold Head Branch State Park, and Camp Blanding. The Palatka-Lake Butler Trail provides a connector, and the Osceola National Forest is at the northern end of this section.
The short, easily accessed Mount Carrie Wayside in Osceola National Forest showcases an old growth longleaf pine forest with a population of red-cockaded woodpeckers.
At Olustee Battlefield Historic State Park, more than 10,000 Confederate and Union soldiers met and fought amid the longleaf pines in the largest battle on Florida soil. Like Gettysburg, Olustee has its own ghosts.
The hike through Olustee Battlefield is short, but its historical significance is great. More than 2,000 men died in this forest on February 20, 1864, when Confederate and Union forces met and fought the bloodiest battle on Florida soil.
An interpretive walk with extensive details on timbering history, the Trampled Track Trail leads to a waterfront view on Ocean Pond.