Florida National Scenic Trail
Starting at the southern tip of Florida just outside Miami, the Florida Trail traces 1,000 miles from Big Cypress National Preserve to the panhandle. Hikers cover a variety of habitats and ecosystems on the Florida Trail including cypress swamps and grass wetlands (home to endangered birds, alligators, and the elusive Florida panther) in south Florida; expansive horizon-to-horizon prairies that support the massive cattle ranches in central Florida; hardwood forests that conceal numerous crystal-clear freshwater springs in north Florida; and the white sand beaches at the Florida Trail’s northern terminus in the panhandle.
“This is one North American trail you know you can always hike in the winter,” says Davis. “It doesn’t have mountains but it’s challenging because of cypress swamps — you can be wading through water — and the marsh terrain.”
Time to Complete: 2-3 months
Terrain: With the exception of some hills in the panhandle, this is a flat, but surprisingly tough trail, thanks to the wading required in the swamps.
Best Segment You Can Do In a Day: The Southern Terminus, in Big Cypress National Preserve just outside of Miami is the best place for an out-and-back hike. Start at the Oasis Visitor Center for what’s considered the most remote and wild section of the entire trail.
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