Overview:

The Florida National Scenic Trail is a 1,400-mile footpath that spans from Big Cypress National Preserve in southern Florida to Gulf Islands National Seashore near Pensacola. There are several areas in which a hiker on the Florida Trail can choose between different options that eventually lead to the same place, resulting in a total trail length of 1,400 miles but an average thru-hike length of 1,100 miles. As the Florida Trail heads northward, the FT passes through a variety of Florida’s environments, including cypress swamps and open prairies in the south, palmetto prairies dotted with cypress stands in central Florida, forests of longleaf pine that cover the rolling landscape in the north, and boggy areas that are home to pitcher plants in the panhandle.

At the same time, however, it struggles to escape the ubiquitous human presence in Florida. Aside from the several hundred miles of the FT that remain on roadways, the trail also hikes along man-made dikes, comes within about 17 miles of Orlando’s city center, crosses the Big Cypress Seminole Reservation, and even passes through Eglin Air Force Base, where hikers must call ahead to check the bombing schedule.