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Florida Trail: Eastern Panhandle Hiking Guide

Florida Trail: Eastern Panhandle Hiking Guide

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Official companion app to "The Florida Trail Guide" guidebook by Florida Hikes! In the Apalachicola National Forest, the Florida Trail traverses some of the wettest, wildest swamp forests in Florida, including the legendary Bradwell Bay.  Known for its botanical beauty, particularly for its pitcher plant bogs and terrestrial orchids, the Apalachicola is often soggy underfoot, alternating between pine flatwoods, sandhills, and swamps, with the Sopchoppy River bluffs a dry counterpoint of unusual geology. Until the late 1970s, when the first thru-hikers decided to push it farther, the Florida Trail ended at Camel Lake.

As it heads west into the Central Time Zone, the trail is a patchwork of beauty spots sewn together with rural roadwalk connectors. Among the shorter stretches are the paved Blountstown Greenway, which walks right through railroad history in this river community, and the Altha Trail, leading to the Look & Tremble Rapids of the Chipola River. North of Panama City Beach along one of our favorite overnighters, Econfina Creek, the Florida Trail begins to take on a different tone, with steep climbs, high bluffs, sidehill, and colorful springs. In Pine Log State Forest, it hugs close to creek drainages and cypress-lined lakes along the Choctawhatchee River basin. On the west side of this mighty river, a conservation easement through Nokuse Plantation leads hikers into stands of tall longleaf pine, deeply carved ravines, and haunting gum swamps along a footpath stretching 28 miles.

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