Youve probably heard of the Appalachian Trail and maybe even the Pacific Crest Trail. But, did you know Florida is home to one of the eleven national scenic trails? The Florida National Scenic Trail is approximately 1,000 miles long and traverses the Big Cypress Preserve in the southern portion of the state, up through the central portion of Florida, then westward to the Gulf Islands National Seashore.
Why not hike a portion of it? IDidAHike on March 2, is an annual fundraising event of the Florida Trail Association, This years event will traverse a beautiful section of the Florida Trail along the Suwannee River. Participants will register and pay the $20 fee (proceeds go to maintaining and preserving the trail) at the main gate of Spirit of the Suwannee Campground and Music Park, Live Oak, FL. Registration is from 8 to 11am. From the registration area, participants will be shuttled via bus to the Jerry Branch access point.
The 11 mile hike passes high above Jerry Branch; then, passes Disappearing Creek, a beautiful clear creek that cuts a narrow canyon then cascades down a 25 foot wall of rock and disappears. Continuing on, hikers will cross Crooked Branch, then climb on to the highest bluff on the Suwannee River. Hiking down river, the trail passes numerous rock outcrops 20 and 30 feet above the river; along with beautiful white sandbars which offer great places to take a break. Near the end of the hike participants will cross the Suwannee on the old 129 truss bridge and have the option to visit the ruins of the historic Suwannee Mineral Spring before they finish. There will be first aid stations and take out points along the way. Its early spring, so dogwoods, wild Azaleas, and fringe flowers are expected to be in full bloom.
Make a long weekend out of the event! In addition to Saturdays IDidAHike, the North Florida Trailblazers Chapter of the Florida Trail Association will lead free short day hikes on Friday and Sunday. A big group campfire is planned on Friday night at the Spirit of the Suwannee campground. Carol Walker can be contacted for discount for camping/accommodations (800 224 5656).