Winter is a perfect time for hiking in Florida, and with more than 2,500 miles of hiking trails on public lands, numerous options can be found in every region of the state. That’s why February is recognized as Florida Hiking Trails Month.
Most Florida state parks feature hiking trails and several offer ranger-led interpretive hikes on weekends. These range from the rolling hills and bluffs of Torreya State Park in the Panhandle to the swampy environs of southwest Florida’s Fakahatchee Strand. Check out the events page on the Florida State Parks website for a hike near you.
Florida is also home to one of 11 congressionally-designated National Scenic Trails in the United States. The 1,300-mile Florida National Scenic Trail stretches from the Big Cypress National Preserve to Fort Pickens near Pensacola. The trail showcases many of Florida’s diverse ecosystems and can easily be broken up into shorter day or weekend hikes. Many of these shorter hikes are described as “Grab and Go Hikes” on the Florida Trail Association website, complete with maps and directions. Hiking events are also listed on the same page.
Also on the Florida Trail Association website is a section called “Other Trails,” featuring trails throughout the state that are not along the main corridor of the national scenic trail. Another website that features comprehensive statewide hiking information is Florida Hikes!.
So, what are you waiting for? Limber up those legs, grab a pack and get going!
edition of the Connections Newsletter contained an overview of the Coast to
Coast Connector (C2C or Connector) Summit. The Summit was considered to be a
major success and all
meeting materials have been posted online, including meeting summaries,
maps, presentations and reports. In 2015, the Office of Greenways & Trails
expects to publish an update on the 2013-2014 activities, including some next
steps for moving the project forward with partner stakeholders. Throughout
2015, more meetings will be conducted with stakeholder groups on the Connector.
When completed, the Coast to Coast Connector will be a 250-mile multi-use path spanning Central Florida from St. Petersburg to Titusville.
Connecting natural areas, communities, bike and walkable downtowns, and many
other places. The goal is to have the C2C funded for construction by 2020.
Orlando Sentinel reporter Kevin Spear recently cycled both complete and incomplete segments of the planned Coast to Coast Connector and wrote an entertaining three-part series for the paper. He began his trek at the Atlantic Ocean near Titusville on an unpaved trail right-of-way. "With only a dozen miles behind me and a long way to go, a sandy trail was swallowing the tires on my bike and making its chain sound like a coffee grinder," he began the article.
Soon after the Summit, an article by Mark Howard appeared in Florida Trend magazine. "At some point within five years, knees willing, I look forward to taking a week of vacation and riding from St. Pete to Titusville," he concluded. For
more information on the Coast to Coast Connector, contact OGT's Brian Ruscher (Brian.Ruscher@dep.state.fl.us).