Blackwater River State Park features three trail walking opportunities totaling almost 4.5 miles. These trails showcase the amazing natural communities found in the park. The terrain is occasionally wet, especially during the rainy season, so choose your footwear accordingly.
From the South Bridge Parking Area, use the crosswalk to cross Deaton Bridge Road and access the Chain of Lakes Nature Trail. This 1.75-mile loop trail starts off in the Blackwater River Floodplain forest, winding through a chain of oxbow lakes marking the former route of the river. The trail takes a dramatic turn as you walk up into the Sandhill community in the park. Here, giant Longleaf pines tower over wiregrass and turkey oak. Visitors in the summer might be lucky enough to spot an endangered Panhandle Lily. Watch your step on this trail as there are numerous earthen steps and some exposed roots.
From the North Bridge Parking Area, a 1-mile section of the Juniper Creek trail passes through Blackwater River State Park. This trail serves as a gateway into Blackwater River State Forest. Take the sidewalk from the parking area to the restrooms, then follow the blue blazed trail to the right past the picnic pavilions. The trail leads you on an exciting hike through the floodplain swamp over a narrow catwalk bridge, continuing through expansive pine flatwoods. Please be aware this is not a loop trail and the trail continues approximately 7.5-miles through Blackwater River State Forest. The Juniper Creek Trail is maintained by volunteers through a partnership with the Florida Trail Association and is a component of the Florida National Scenic Trail System. More information about the Florida Trail Association can be found here.
The third trail in the park is almost .75-miles and links the Pavilion Area to the Campground. The Juniper Lake Trail is accessed using the Pavilion Boardwalk system. From the Pavilion Parking Lot, take the boardwalk towards Pavilion #23. Just before the pavilion, a set of stairs leads you down to the trail, follow this trail for breathtaking views of Blackwater River and get the opportunity to view some of the fascinating wildlife found in the park. As the trail loops around one of the largest oxbow lakes in the park, Juniper Lake, you will see an abundance of Juniper trees which give the trail and lake its name. Watch your step on this trail as there are numerous earthen steps and some exposed roots.