99.3 miles (Marianna & Panama City Beach).
Working its way to a sweep of public lands making up the Northwest Florida Greenway, considered one of America’s top biodiversity hot spots, the Florida Trail heads west from the Apalachicola River into the Central Time Zone. West of the paved Blountstown Greenway, it uses connecting roadwalks to tack together sections of footpath in the Chipola River Greenway, Econfina Creek Water Management Area, Pine Log State Forest, and the privately owned Nokuse Plantation. En route, you’ll marvel at the “Look and Tremble” rapids of the Chipola River and the waterfalls that pour into Econfina Creek, and explore steephead ravines and rolling sandhills whenever the trail makes its way onto public lands.
- HURRICANE MICHAEL IMPACTS Hurricane Michael sliced right through the Central Panhandle, leaving a swath of destruction from Mexico Beach through Blountstown and Marianna. The power grid is only now being restored in this region.
- Services in BRISTOL and BLOUNTSTOWN may remain closed for some time.
- The Florida Trail is officially closed between miles 877.6 (start of Blountstown Greenway) through 943.8 (Pine Log State Forest back gate). This includes the Blountstown Greenway, Altha, Econfina WMA, and Pine Log State Forest sections. Extreme wind damage was experienced throughout this region, so it may be some months before the trail damage can be assessed and the viability of bridges, boardwalks, and campsites checked on. Do not expect this region to open in time for the 2018-2019 thru-hiking season. This impacts 66.2 miles of the Florida Trail.
- The NOKUSE section, spanning from the Choctawhatchee River to US 331 north of Freeport, has reopened and according to Northwest Florida Water Management District, backcountry campsites are approved for use. Use caution due to potential downed trees and report any trail damage you encounter to FTA Regional Representative Adam Fryska by email or at 850-888-3502.
FT symbols indicate trailheads and access points. Click on symbols for details and directions.
1.8 miles. After a 2.5 mile roadwalk into town along SR 20 from the bridge across the Apalachicola River, the trail joins this deeply shaded segment of the Blountstown Greenway through town, right past the railroad museum and steam train exhibit.
Blountstown to Altha
8 miles. Following SR 71 north from the Blountstown Greenway, this is a roadwalk connector to the Chipola River, with no services along the route. Follow SR 71 N to CR 275 S to NW Black Bottom Rd to where the trail enters the woods.
1.7 miles. Meandering along the eastern shore of the Chipola River, this footpath provides a well-needed respite for long distance hikers, with two campsites near the river. It’s a fabulous day hike destination as well, as it spotlights the Look & Tremble rapids.
16.9 miles. Heading west as a roadwalk from Willis Bridge Park through Sheltons Corners on CR 274, the trail continues along this rural highway until it reaches Betts Rd and crosses busy US 231. Just 2.5 miles later, it reaches the Scott Rd Trailhead of Econfina Creek WMA.
17.5 miles. A spectacular section of trail for backpacking, the Florida Trail shows off the beauty of this winding, tannic creek and its springs and waterfalls along the route. There are many places to camp along the route, which, when it leaves the creek, heads into a longleaf pine restoration area with gently rolling hills.
Econfina to Pine Log
12.5 miles. Another roadwalk connector between public lands, this segment along SR 20 has only one break in it – a stop at the SR 77 crossroads in Oak Park to duck into a store for a cold drink and some fried chicken.
Florida Trail, Pine Log
7.4 miles. Florida’s oldest state forest offers an immersion in pine forests and rolling sandhills while slipping along the edge of Ditch Branch, Pine Log Creek, and picturesque cypress-lined lakes.
Pine Log to Noukse
2.2 miles. Walking out the back gate of Pine Log onto Subdivision Road, long distance hikers pass through a rural subdivision on the way to SR 20 to access services at Ebro before heading west along the shoulder of SR 20 to cross the Choctawhatchee River on the highway bridge.
8.6 miles. Providing a hike through majestic longleaf pine forests in Nokuse Plantation, the Florida Trail along the Choctawhatchee River also showcases natural features in the river basin between Cypress Creek and Seven Runs.
9.6 miles. Contrasting steephead ravines and sluggish creeks surrounded by titi and gum swamp with stretches of sod farm and pine plantation undergoing restoration to longleaf pine habitat, this section of the Florida Trail offers some brief but unexpected challenges.
9.3 miles. From surprisingly steep dips through wooded ravines to a tricky traverse of the floodplain of Lafayette Creek, this extremely scenic section of the Florida Trail will give you a serious workout.
3.9 miles. A deeply shaded corridor that once defined the rail line for the M&B (Marianna & Blountstown) Railroad, the Blountstown Greenway stretches from Neal Landing on the Apalachicola River to a trailhead along SR 71, with a spur trail to Sam Atkins Park providing access to the Panhandle Pioneer Settlement.
Dutch & Faye Trail
5.5 miles. The Dutch & Faye Trail is a blue-blazed multi-use loop through the pine flatwoods and swamps of Pine Log State Forest. It intersects the Florida Trail just north of the SR 79 crossing and north of Sand Pond.
2 miles. A loop trail at Pine Log State Forest, the Campground Trail intersects the Florida Trail in several places, and traverses a boardwalk through the cypress swamp on the far edge of Sand Pond. It loops around Sand Pond and through the pine forests surrounding the Sand Pond Recreation Area and campground.
- Wear bright orange not just for hunting seasons but also for easy visibility to motorists for the roadwalks in this section. Consider a bright orange pack cover or yellow safety vest as well.
- Take advantage of easy resupply within a short walk of the trail route in Blountstown, at Shelton’s Store (limited supplies), at US 231 (0.3S to Dollar General), and at Ebro.
- In Blountstown, the Airport Motel and the Panhandle Pioneer Settlement are two lodging options that hikers have used with success; the folks at the Settlement sometimes have a cabin available for hiker use.
- If the roadwalk mileage on both sides of Pine Log is longer than you can handle, consider using Sand Pond Campground or the Ebro Motel as a pivot point for day hiking the roadwalks with shuttle assistance. Hikers have been invited in the past to stay in the yard of the Hillcrest Baptist Church on the Chipola roadwalk; ask if you see someone there.