CLOSED DANGEROUS flooding from Hurricane Ian as of Oct 1.
Encompassing nearly 31,000 acres along the western shore of the St. Johns River, Tosohatchee WMA offers expansive landscapes for hiking.
An 11 mile segment of the statewide Florida Trail runs north-south through the preserve. Using the White Trail, this route makes a loop through the scenic heart of Tosohatchee.
Located closer to the floodplain, the orange-blazed Florida Trail tends to be wetter underfoot.
To its west, the White Trail follows an old railroad embankment and spends more of its time in pine flatwoods.
There are several starting points possible for this hike, and one primitive campsite, Tiger Branch, along the loop.
Spring and fall are the best times to tackle this trail, thanks to the bountiful and colorful wildflowers along the route.
Resources for exploring the area
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Length: 10.8 mile loop
Trailhead: 28.477534, -80.958799 (Parking Area 31)
Fees: $4 per person
Restroom: Vault toilets at reserve entrance and at Youth Camp
Land manager: Florida Fish & Wildlife
Leashed dogs welcome. Campsites available, call ahead to reserve.
Mosquitoes and wading highly likely. Do not attempt this hike when the St. Johns River is in flood stage.
From Interstate 95 in Titusville, follow SR 50 for 10 miles west into Christmas. Turn south on Taylor Creek Rd. The entrance is 2.9 miles south on the left. Follow Ranch Rd; the White Trail crosses it before you are forced to turn left but there is no trailhead. Turn right on Powerline Rd and go 1.8 miles east to Fish Hole Rd. Turn right. Continue 2.1 miles to Parking Area 31 on the left. While it is deep within the preserve, this parking area provides the closest access to the southernmost junction of the Florida Trail and the White Trail.
By starting the hike at Parking Area 31 and proceeding north along the White Trail, you’ll traverse the driest habitats along the loop first.
Cross Fish Hole Rd and go over the bridge over the ditch on the opposite side of the road. The trail turns north.
The mostly straight-line route follows an old rail line from when these forests were logged a century ago.
Some pieces of railroad rail are visible before the trail circles a stand of ancient saw palmetto.
The straightaway resumes with wet prairie views. Enter a stand of younger pines before emerging on a forest road at a junction with the Yellow Trail at 1.7 miles.
Continue straight north. Another straightaway in the pines leads to Ranch Rd. Cross this entrance road you drove in on.
The white blazes continue north through the pines.
Reach the orange blazed Florida Trail at the north junction of the White Trail with this loop at 3.4 miles.
Turn right to follow the orange blazes southbound, first on a straightaway and then veering into a series of showy palm hammocks.
Pass a side trail to Parking Area 8 at 5.5 miles. Continue due east through sometimes-wet palm hammocks to pass another side trail, this one to Powerline Rd trailhead.
By 7.1 miles, cross Powerline Rd itself, followed by a sturdy pedestrian bridge over a deep ditch. Enter a series of palm hammocks along the edge of the Jim Creek basin.
In a shady hammock, meet a four-way intersection at 7.6 miles. The Yellow Trail comes in from the right.
The dead-end Swamp Spur leads left. The quarter-mile spur trail showcases virgin cypress in the ancient swamp.
For the next mile, the trail continues through a series of hammocks with tall trees, some of them of incredible size.
A transition to pine flatwoods occurs after a dip through a sometimes-wet basin.
At 9.1 miles, reach the junction with the other end of the Yellow Trail, which makes a shorter loop within this loop.
Pass it by and the trail turns southwest. Continue through a mix of flatwoods and bayheads, the corridor sometimes lush and soggy.
By 10.5 miles, reach the side trail to Tiger Branch Camp, the one primitive campsite along this loop.
It features a picnic table, fire ring, tent platforms, and water pump.
Cross a ranch road just south of the camp. Soon after it is the southern junction with the White Trail.
Turn right, the only direction the “Thru Trail” sign doesn’t point.
Follow the white blazes north a quarter mile through pine flatwoods to complete the 10.8-mile loop at Parking Area 31.
Learn more about Tosohatchee Reserve
These trails interconnect with and overlay part of the White Loop
See our photos of the White Loop at Tosohatchee
More worth exploring while you’re in this area.
At Seminole Ranch Conservation Area in Christmas, the Florida Trail follows a linear 4.9 mile route through a string of hydric hammocks in the St. Johns River floodplain
For a hike filled with the flutter and squawk of birds about their daily routines, Orlando Wetlands Park is one of the best birding spots in the state. This 5-mile loop showcases our favorite route
Hike up to 5 miles on levees through the marshes of the St. Johns River at Canaveral Marshes Conservation Area between Orlando and Titusville.